m62 visualcommunications

m62 visualcommunications

October 07, 2009 08:23 ET

m62 Highlights Difference Between Visual Aids and Useless Photos

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Oct. 7, 2009) - m62, the global leader in presentation effectiveness, has today urged presenters to pay close attention to the visual aids they use, and incorporate ones that support their messages, rather than using photos selected merely because they are attractive.

Many presenters accept that bullet points do not work, as the audience simply read slides and ignore the presenter. Presenters now often adapt their presentations to include images that they hope will engage the audience. Yet the addition of pictures is not enough for a corporate presentation to get a point across. A photo or cartoon may temporarily attract attention, but unless it directly aids the message of the presentation, it is more likely to do harm than good.

A true visual aid should help the audience understand and engage with the message being delivered. Examples of this are a table of numbers being transformed into a chart, or a complex description of a manufacturing process being depicted as a diagram. Including these types of visual aids on PowerPoint slides encourages dual encoding: when the audience receives information from both visual and audio sources simultaneously. Research shows that dual encoding can more than double audience recall of information. Because the spoken word and written word are processed in the same part of the brain, text-heavy slides do not lead to dual encoding.

Using photos of people in an attempt to build an emotional connection with the audience can actually ruin the effectiveness of a presentation. The human brain uses such a large portion of its mental capacity interpreting facial expressions that it is noticeably difficult to think about something else whilst doing so. If an audience is absorbing detail from a photo of a person, they are unlikely to be listening to the presenter, and in fact will probably be drifting off into their own thoughts.

Nicholas Oulton, Founder of m62, commented: "Many presenters make the mistake of adding photos to their PowerPoint templates, and using these as a background in their presentations, to break up the monotony of bullet points. While it is a step in the right direction to recognise that bullet points are boring and can disengage the audience, simply adding photos to an otherwise dull presentation will not aid your message."

m62 has produced over 6,500 presentations worldwide since its inception, and has worked for blue chip companies such as Siemens, Microsoft, and the BBC. m62 offers a variety of packages and solutions, for everything from business presentations to PowerPoint training.

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