Presentations has always been, and will always be all about conveying messages via passionate verbal delivery augmented with intriguing visuals. After all, we humans are all visual beings.
Short History In Presentation Visuals
In the past, the visual part has been all about white or black boards, flip-charts, and maybe even demonstration with live-objects. The more “high-tech” presenters would probably come prepared with a folder full of colourful A4 sized transparencies prepared in advanced, and projected via an Over-Head Projector (OHP). Those who are more photography inclined would probably even prepare a whole set of mounted 35mm transparency films as their presentation slides. It’s more “cool” to be advancing the slides by pressing on the advance button on the wired-remote control than to be swapping individual transparencies by hand on the OHP.
But by the dawn of the 1990’s, with the introduction of Microsoft’s PowerPoint, and the availability of the video projector, the true digital age of visual presentation has come of age. Now all your slides are a series of ones and zeros stored in a digital file. No more carrying around the physical slides anymore.
The advantages are clear – you can design a whole slideshow is mere minutes, and can make as many changes as you want. There is no wastage of material. Unfortunately, this great tool was almost never used to its maximum advantage. Majority of the presenters project their slides as whole sentences; to be read out to the audience one word at a time. These sentences belong in flash-cards, to be hidden away in the palm of the hand of the presenter, visible only to him or her, not to the audience. Instead of using complex words, the audience is much better off being fed with simple graphical visuals that doesn’t need any interpreting or deciphering into messages that they can understand.
But why visual?…
Well, for one thing, we humans are visual creatures. The big brain of ours make us the only living beings capable of reading complex words and translating it into a message that we can understand. But that doesn’t mean that the brain will “want” to work all that hard if it can find an easier way to get the message across. To put it bluntly, the brain is a lazy piece of meat!…
Hence, if you want to tell your audience how beautiful a flower is, don’t write a sentence describing how beautiful it is. Instead, just show an image of the beautiful flower itself. Understanding the flower is beautiful is much easier by looking at it directly than reading a sentence describing its beauty.