Presentation :: Why Visuals are So Powerful in Persuasive Presentations

Why Visuals in Presentations are So PowerfulWords actually don't exist ... to our brains, at any rate. We don't see words as a series of letters. We see them as pictures.When we read a word, we actually see it as a whole bunch of little tiny pictures. We look for features like horizontal or vertical lines, rounded corners, etc. and then we think back to our library of letter images and match it up to what we've stored from the past.Over time, we get pretty darn good at this process and it takes us - - milliseconds to do all the calculations and read a sentence. But reading text is highly taxing on our brains. As a result, presentations that consist of screens and screens of text with your narration are simply not very effective for transferring information.Knowing that should change the way we look at supporting visuals for presentations.Try this simple little test. Imagine yourself in a bleak, hot desert. It's just about noon. You've been out in the hot sun all day long. Now, a chocolate ice cream cone would go great right now, wouldn't it?When you read "chocolate ice cream cone," you didn't think about the words. Subconsciously, your brain recognized the shapes of the words and you imagined an ice cream cone. In fact, you imagined the entire desert scene. We think in pictures. Words just tell us what picture to imagine. Wouldn't it be far more powerful (and take far less time) if I put up a picture of an ice cream cone?Maybe not. An ice cream cone is pretty universal and just saying those words conjures up the image. But, in cases where an object is difficult to describe, or people are involved or relationships of elements (diagrams) are complicated, nothing beats a picture. Words don't even come in a distant - sites to search at - second.Listen to this fact: If information is presented orally, we - search engines - remember about 10% three days later. However, if a picture is added in, that figure goes up to 65%. We don't remember words. What was the last series of word screens you remember from a presentation?Exactly.Powerpoint and Keynote are text-based. That's a problem. Don't fall into the trap of using screens and screens of text. You'll simply be transmitting thousands and thousands of tiny little pictures ... and we'll remember very few of them. But our brains will work much harder. And for what? Not much.Tests have shown that people can remember more than 2500 images with at least 90 percent accuracy for days after initial exposure. Now, that's impact!Want to be memorable? Carefully select the visuals that will spark your audience's imagination; that will draw them in; that will start a dialogue. You won't be forgotten soon.Words don't exist. Why use them if there's a far more powerful alternative?