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):
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.
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.
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?
Do you remember the movie Gone in 60 Seconds? Even if you remember it as a bad movie, it’s a good reminder about how quickly we can lose our audience. The first 30-60 seconds of our presentations, speeches or reports are always the hardest part. Physiologically, it’s when our hearts … Continue reading →
I’ve heard over 100 presentations on philanthropy and giving. I spend a lot of time recording people speaking on video. Luckily, many of us are motivated to give back, and we want to urge others to do the same. This is not a complaint – instead, there is a great … Continue reading →
As we fulfill our mission to transform business communications, we have the opportunity to work with many great businesses and leaders throughout the world. Eliminating corporate jargon and reviewing video feedback are all part of the transformation process that develops into sticky messages, undeniable pitches, SHARPs and audience engagement. On occasion, however, we have the … Continue reading →
Think of that ultimate dinner party – conversation (and libation) is flowing, ideas are stimulating, and everyone’s having a grand time. That’s the experience to create during your next panel (minus the drinking). Panel discussions are the perfect way to bring people of different backgrounds together to share their influence … Continue reading →
“I’m here today to talk to you about standardization.” That’s the way a Silicon Valley engineer in our training program COULD have started his presentation about the need to standardize. Instead, he took a different route. “As I was doing some research for this presentation, I read that the city … Continue reading →
Enormous hotel. Matching notepads and pens galore. Hundreds of people riding the fence between vacation and business attire. Yup, I’m talking about a global sales kickoff meeting. Every VP Sales knows the importance of a successful kickoff, but how do you ensure engagement, education, and excitement about new products and the … Continue reading →
He can get away with jumping on a soap box, and that’s for one main reason: he’s a great communicator. Yup, we’re talking about Matt Damon. Sure he’s popular, a talented writer and performer, etc., but so are many actors. This guy knows how to use specific communication tools to rally … Continue reading →
Meg Whitman just debated Steve Poizner for the Republican Gubernatorial nomination. It was interesting, but not as interesting as looking at where Meg Whitman might go – if she can communicate. First the debate: Meg did well, but Steve probably did better if this was an equal contest. But it … Continue reading →
Dave Paradi had an interesting post this week titled, “Does Great Content Trump Poor Visuals.” (Another in my weekly Best of Alltop on Speaking.) As he told the story of an academic presentation with powerful content but terrible slides, he noted that flashy visuals can’t make the case with little … Continue reading →