What’s the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word diagram? The majority of you would immediately think of an organizational chart such as the one below. That isn’t such a bad representation since it basically answers the “how’s” and “who’s” of a basic structure.
However, for the purposes of presenting, this is one path you wouldn’t want to take. The issue with most diagrams used in presentations is that structural charts are often used as pictures. How is this bad? Well, as Alexei Kapterev (designed Death by Powerpoint, slideshare.net) puts it, “they are not pictures that are worth a thousand words, they are pictures that require a thousand words to comprehend.”
Recall that slides are glance media. Even if you set your diagram to appear gradually, layer by layer, your audience will still need more time to process your message. You’ll eventually risk having them become lost in translation or even find them dozing off.
These diagrams have become static data that lack drama. What you need to do is to add action and a little bit of contrast to provide conflict. This is easily achieved through careful planning of your core message.
By coming up with a good visual representation, you’ll be able to ensure that your audience can easily grasp your message by having a visual anchor to hold onto. This is more commonly transformed to an organigraph, which replaces static texts of your boring organization chart with action charts.
Now let’s say you want to compare one object with another. How would you do it? One way in which presenters bury their diagrams to a grave is by presenting facts without anything tangible to gauge them. Our minds are in constant search of objects and ideas that can be related to one another. We can appreciate something even more if we actually had some form of measure to compare it with. There are actually no absolute rules on doing this as it solely relies on your delivery style. However, if there’s one rule you must follow, learn from the great, late Steve Jobs.
What was great about Steve was that he knew how to connect with his audience and said everything in a very simple, straightforward manner that everyone could understand. This personal connection was one of the main reasons Apple took the world by storm with their innovations.
So, how did he compare his products? Did he stack them side by side with their competition and list down every hardware specification or benchmark test made? No! Most of the audience don’t speak gigahertz, ppi, and so on. What he did was absolutely brilliant. He compared them with ordinary household products that everybody can relate to. From a deck of cards (iPod, 2001), a pack of chewing gum and four quarters (iPod Shuffle, 2005), to even an envelope (MacBook Air, 2008). Not only did he just say this, he actually made slides showing these images.
If you didn’t notice, this post has been repeating the secret of bringing your diagrams to life all along. Take advantage of knowing that most people are visual and would naturally link tangible ideas with one other. By providing enough stimuli, you’ll be engaging with them on a more personal level. This will not only increase your chances of them being able to understand your core message, but they’ll have a better chance of remembering it in the long run.
If you find it hard to find the right graphics to do this or if you would like to have a customized presentation, send us an email and we’ll provide you with the solutions to bring all of your diagrams to life.