The majority of people are visual learners. This means they need to see it before they understand your message and believe it.
In my experience most people need to see some part of your message to make it stick. The question is “How do they see it?”
Three important clarifications
- Visual means the images that we process in the visual cortex of the brain.
- The eye is only one source of visual input.
- Not everything seen by the eye is processed in the visual cortex.
Here are four ways to convey visual messages to your audience.
Display images on the screen
Use PowerPoint or other software to display photos, drawings, diagrams, charts, sketches, cartoons or video. These are images.
The most common mistake is putting text on a slide and believing that is visual. Text on a slide is not a visual. It’s simply text which is processed in a different part of the brain (Wernicke’s Area).
Some speakers don’t really care if it’s visual. They blatantly use text slides as their notes – not to help the audience.
Tell Colorful Stories
I believe that this is the most effective way to convey visuals. Tell your stories effectively and you plant strong visuals into the minds of your audience. Test the effectiveness of your stories by asking people what they saw. Tell colorful stories and people will always see your message.
Your Body Language
The most important visual in the room could be you. Your dress, posture, movement and gestures transmit powerful messages about your passion, credibility and confidence. Those feelings are the foundations of persuading your audience to act. Your audience will often remember an image of you that either supports your message or destroys it.
Steve Jobs pulled the MacBook Air out of an envelope for the visual imagery. Magicians use props to misdirect attention. You might use a model to illustrate your project. I admired a presenter as he bounced a basketball to transition to his talk about computer animation. An abstract concept can often be clarified with the help of a simple prop.
When preparing your presentation, plan how you will visually convey the most important message.
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