Pictures in Presentations

Topic: A picture speaks 1000 words. Why is a picture way more powerful in a presentation than slides with a lot of information?

One message can be delivered much faster and easier with the use of a well-chosen illustration. If an average person can say 150 words per minute, then he will need 6 to 7 minutes just to say around 1,000 words. Meanwhile, one picture can express a thousand words in just a few seconds.

Using pictures in public speaking is not new. Teachers from the olden times have already known the power of using illustrations and images to expand and emphasize a point. Public speakers can greatly benefit from using carefully selected pictures because it helps to bring across the message faster and more effectively. When words fail to explain a point, a picture can do the job quite efficiently. In addition, pictures give the human brain visual stimulation.

When speaking in front of many, public speakers should learn to use images, especially in a presentation where the use of slides is required. A lot of presenters make the mistake of putting a lot of text in their slides when the purpose of slides is to provide an image for people to look at and not read. The purpose of the images in slides is to help the speaker explain points that would take longer to explain in words. A single picture can convey a point that would otherwise take a much longer time to explain. Therefore, presenters need to know why, when, and how images can help them in their speeches and presentations. Sadly, many presenters fill their slides with text, bullet points, and paragraphs about their topic. Speakers need to remember that slides are not for reading. A word, phrase, or a single sentence is OK but to put a paragraph or to fill your slides with text that your audience will have to read is a big NO-NO in presentations. Here are reasons why the use of well-chosen images is much better than putting text in your slides.

Visual Stimuli

People generally don’t want to sit and listen to very long presentations. Your audience will easily get bored with continuous talk and their minds can drift off. Moreover, your audience will not appreciate having to read through slides filled with text. They will not want to read it and will feel annoyed if you make them read it. On the other hand, pictures are a great way to catch the attention of your audience and keep them glued to your presentation. This is especially true if the images you choose are appropriate and effective. You should however be careful when choosing pictures because unsuitable images are useless and will not help your presentation. It may even confuse your audience and hurt your overall presentation.

Provide Context, Clarify Data, Add Meaning

If you want to explain a point further or offer examples, filling your slides with words is not the best way. Using relevant pictures can help a speaker clarify data, provide strong examples, and add meaning. A picture is very powerful because the person can see the image right away. They don’t need to use their imagination in order to visualize an example that the speaker is saying.

Perhaps one of the reasons why many presenters still place a lot of information in their slides is because they are using it as cue cards for themselves and they may have a false notion that the audience will want to read the words that the speaker is uttering. This, however, is not true. The audience wants to listen and understand the speaker and it is the speaker’s duty to send his message across as effectively as possible. He can do this by knowing his topic by heart and explaining it well to his audience. Images are tools that every public speaker should learn to use in order to become a more effective communicator.