A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

Blog_Bathtub_Picture_Image

There’s nothing like 77 bathtubs to give you a quick idea of what “7.7 cubic meters of water” looks like. A friend recently sent me a link to this post on the current drought situation in California. Regardless of your political standpoint on Gov. Jerry Brown’s response to the drought, there’s no denying the author hits her message home by using clear pictures.

This made me think about the power of the “P” in SHARPs: Pictures and Visuals.

Using a visual in your presentation is one of the simplest ways to make your message clear and sticky. (Bonus sticky points if the picture is also human scale – like these bathtubs.)

Keep in mind these three things when you’re using a visual (we like to call them the Three Bs):

  1. Make them big. If you’re using a picture or video clip, you want to make sure it’s big enough for even the people in the back row to see it. Or, you can give out hand-held visuals or props to each listener. We went to a church service once where the pastor gave each person a small, plastic, bright green shovel as a way to remember a point in his sermon about digging. Whether you make your visual big or you make it individualized, just make sure that everyone can see it.
  1. Make them bold. The bolder the visual, the quicker your audience will grasp your message. That’s why the bathtub picture is so effective – it’s hard not to immediately recognize what 7.7 cubic meters of water looks like when you’re staring at a picture of 77 bathtubs. This is why memes have become so popular in the culture of social media – they’re bold and they make a point within seconds.
  1. Make them basic. After all, you don’t want to distract your listener from your overall presentation. A presenter at Google’s annual developer conference once planted red and green glow sticks underneath the seats of each audience member. Then, at a designated point in his presentation, he had audience members vote by holding up the green or red glow stick. Basic, yet effective.

How have you seen pictures or visuals used effectively in a presentation?

 

book_banner_blog

 

 

Finish Your Presentation with a Strong Close

How many times have you been so relieved to finish your presentation that you rush through the end, muttering something along the lines of, “And that’s all folks – feel free to email me questions” – before collecting your things and jetting off? We have to be deliberate not to … Continue reading

Falling on Deaf Ears

We’ve all been there. Eyes glaze over, attention is diverted to the closest device…it’s that moment when you realize everyone in your meeting has tuned out. Your message is falling on deaf ears. We’re thankful that Chip and Dan Heath wrote the foreword for our new book, and in it, … Continue reading

What Does Your Face Say about Your Leadership?

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” We’ve all heard that. But what about the face you present to your colleagues or a potential group of investors? It matters, too. Leadership is not just how we communicate ourselves verbally, but visually. As a leader, your facial expressions can set, or … Continue reading

The Top Ten Best (and Worst) Communicators of 2014

There is no such thing as private speaking, and Decker Communications’ 19th Annual Top Ten Best and Worst Communicators list proves it. These famous examples from business, politics, sports and pop culture have left indelible impressions this year – both for better and for worse. Top 10 Best Communicators Breaking … Continue reading

They Are Just Like Us (Nervous)

To kick off the #FearNoShame campaign this week in recognition of World Aids Day, Prince Harry shared a secret fear. He shared that his fear is public speaking. No matter how big the crowd or the audience. I sometimes buy US Weekly from the newsstand at the airport when I … Continue reading

How to Avoid Brain Freeze When Speaking

It’s happened to all of us at least once. You’re prepared, and you’re nervous. And all of a sudden, your mind goes blank. Brain Freeze. We recently got a question from a participant that we wanted to answer to a wider forum. Q:  I’m wondering if Decker has any official … Continue reading

The Audience Only Gets What You Give Them

The mask used by Michael Myers in the original “Halloween” was actually a Captain Kirk mask, painted white, due to low budget. Did you know that? I sure didn’t – I was so darn focused on how frightening he was. (Although after reading this fact on an airplane, I couldn’t … Continue reading

Authenticity Trumps All

I haven’t done any empirical research on this, but I’d venture a guess that Chief Information Officers might be the most sold people around. From the dollars going into data centers to security to big data, itself, and don’t forget about the cloud, they – for the most part – … Continue reading

Avoid Conference Call Hell

Kudos to Tripp and Tyler and the folks at Leadercast for humanizing the Conference Call in Real Life. Even if you have already seen this video, it’s worth watching again because it will make you laugh: With just a few adjustments, you can make your next conference call more efficient. … Continue reading