A Picture…Worth a 1,000 (less) Words

How many times have you sat through a presentation and at the end of that presentation thought to yourself, "Well I wish they would've just sent me a memo. I could've read that myself and it would’ve taken much less time."?

One of the toxic PowerPoint habits we've fallen into is using too many text-heavy, bullet-point slides. Instead of all that text, we should be providing our audience visuals that help them understand our message (not literally text that is our message.) Then the audience can focus on listening and understanding their presenter, not on reading the paragraphs of text we’re projecting in front of them.

Why, you ask? Well, usually when we’re in front of a group and delivering a presentation, it's because we have something important to communicate. (Right?) So it makes sense that we would want to deliver this information in the most effective way possible.

So what's most effective? There have been a number of studies showing that people comprehend and retain information much better if they're able to hear it and see it in a visual format (sorry, that doesn't mean text.)

Here are some pictures that help explain that point. I think this first one is really interesting! Especially if we want people to remember our message.

People remember visuals longer than data

And here's one from Bob Pike, who wrote a book called "Train the Trainer." He is basically saying the same thing our first image said.

People remember 60% of what they hear and see

Finally, according to psychologist Albert Mehrabian, people rely far more on our pictures and our voice to take in information while we are presenting than on the text we project.

How people take in information during a presentation

Now, I appreciate how easy PowerPoint has made it for us to "default" to creating slides that are full of bullet-point text. It's the simplest kind of slide to create. But not the most effective. That's why in our next issue, we're going to share with you some "before and after" slides that will help jump-start your creativity. Then you can start moving away from using that toxic PowerPoint and start feeding your audience something good for them!

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