Communication through images is not a new idea; we’ve been doing it since the dawn of man and it is a given that everyone knows a picture tells a thousand words, but the art of getting those thousands words right is where it gets tricky.
The reason why imagery works so well in conveying messages is that the brain works in images; it’s the most natural way for the brain to process information. Because of this images are quickly processed, easily remembered and easily recalled.
Communication has two factors, the rational and the emotional. The rational are the cold hard facts of the message, there is no disputing them and sometimes they are central to the message but how do we make the audience remember and feel a personal connection to them. This is where the emotional factor comes into play by using the right imagery.
Without an emotional connection, words are dull and common. The importance of evoking emotion is vital. Emotions give persuasive results; they have the potential to change behaviours, and remain with a person long after your speech.
So how do you go about selecting the right imagery for your presentation to achieve these kinds of results?
The first thing to do is to go through each slide and identify the important messages in your presentation. For example your key messages could be
1) Working harder
2) Wanting a better future
3) More teamwork as a company
These key messages are great but are not particularly evoking many emotions. The next step is to find more image based words that fit with your messages. For example let’s take each message and source some better image provoking words.
Working harder – Toil, Sweat, Strain
Wanting a better future – Imagine, Dream, Vision
More Teamwork – Harmony, Alliance, Unity
The key to sourcing good words are to think what emotions do you want your audience to feel? The importance of sourcing image based words will allow you to find images that will naturally have an emotional connection to them. These will encourage you to think differently about your key messages because you have attached more conception and symbolism to them. So if we take our new words we can use them to think of image examples:
Toil, Sweat, Strain – Mathematics, Mountaineering, Marathon
Imagine, Dream, Vision – Children playing, Telescope & Stars, Building a new home
Harmony, Alliance, Unity – Orchestra, Synchronised swimming, Mechanics of a clock
Another way to do this and one that that comes very naturally to many of us is to use metaphors, metaphors work well because they attach an image to an action which conjures up imagination and makes the audience think very differently about what they are hearing. But be careful to stay away from clichés as these will weaken your messages and are very obvious.
So we’ve got the theory, now for sourcing the actual images. There are a lot of sites that you can use to find a wide selection of high quality images at a reasonable cost. Using professional stock image sites will ensure you have access to a vast range high quality unique imagery that will add excellence and professionalism to your presentation. Poor quality imagery will lessen your presentation and therefore your messages.
To make your images unique and give credibility to your presentation you need to think a bit differently when sourcing images. Keep in mind the emotional connection that you want for your images, but also look outside the box. Look for something that you haven’t seen before, maybe it has an unusual point of focus, composition or angle.
To show you I have sourced a few images based on everything I have mentioned. We have on the left an example of a very nice but slightly obvious choice and then we have a more unique image on the right with a twist on the message that will provoke thought and emotion.
Wanting a better future
So work out your key messages, figure out what emotions these messages reflect. With this basis, you should be able to find inspiring imagery to weave into your presentation.
When you get your imagery right the emotional response created can be used to persuade your audience into the action required. Using the right imagery and relevant PowerPoint presentation template effectively, will increase the potential of your presentation and the results it achieves.