A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – How Successful Speakers use Images in their Presentations
Over the past six months, I have worked with several speakers who have asked to be able to communicate a complex idea or concept to their audiences. My response is – DRAW IT. Instead of trying to craft the right words to articulate the concepts or processes they were trying to convey, I thought that creating a visual representation would be helpful. And it proved to work well for my clients.
We think visually. When I teach speakers how to use visuals in presentations, I have my audience tell me the first thing that pops in their heads when I say the word “tree”. Audience members typically respond with “leaves, an oak tree, a tree trunk”, or some visual representation of a tree. I have not had anyone respond that the letters “T-R E-E” ever appeared in their head. If you think about it, our ancestors drew on cave walls long before language development began. Furthermore, neurologists suggest that drawing out your ideas leads to a deeper understanding of the problem you are trying to solve; drawing activates the entire brain to resolve it.
Another advantage to drawing before writing is clarity. One of the first steps in crafting your speech is to develop your core message. If your core message is not clear and concise, you may lose your audience because you will ramble. By drawing your core message, it reduces the number of unnecessary words used, which clarifies your idea. The idea is to strive for vividness in your message.
So how did drawing help my clients? One was able to better articulate a process for a learning organization, and another simplified a 20-step process for his clients into a much easier 5-step process. All of this was done through the power of pictures versus words.
I challenge you to try to capture your message through pictures in order to more effectively connect with your audience.
For more resources:
“Blah, blah, blah” by Dan Roam (2011)
“The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently” by Sunni Brown (2015)