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The effect of visuals

There once was a CEO of a billion dollar company. He kicked off his shareholders meeting with a beautiful photo, picturing a woman smelling a daffodil. It had been a bad year, but the daffodil lightened the moods of the shareholders. They all lived happily ever after.

This is not a true story of course. Shareholders do not want to see daffodils. They want to see growth and power symbols. And you should give it to them. So always make sure you know your audience and use visuals that tickle them. Not the ones that tickle you.

Only be creative when it’s asked

Do not try to be the creative guy when you have to give a presentation to scientists, businessmen or to people from a service oriented industry. It won’t catch their attention. If you’re expecting a creative crowd, it’s time to be creative. How?

  • Don’t show things for what they are. Your audience wants to wonder and not be presented with truths.
  • Make your audience look at things differently. Turning things around interests them.
  • Question your audience. They love it.

There’s no power like show power

Our CEO from above killed his presentation with his first image. His audience is there not to be entertained but to be told that their investment is safe and will earn them money. Keep that in mind, when you’re looking businessmen in their eyes. So if daffodils don’t work, what will?

  • Buildings always do the trick, especially big impressive buildings. Creative buildings are ok, if they look expensive enough.
  • Men in suits identify with men in suits. Easy enough.
  • Need more input? How about flags, corporate identities, cities, success, gadgets and cars

Ebony and Ivory

Who wants to see harmony? Political parties, activists, people in the service industry. You know what we mean. Only when you find yourself in a harmony-craving crowd, you can put some love in your presentation. You can even make use of the normally unforgiving handwritten font. Do you still need to know what kind of images you should use in your presentation? Here’s a harmony abc to set you off in the right direction.

  • Altogether now: a bodybuilder supporting an old lady on a zebra
  • Bright sunny day: people enjoying the weather, nature and life
  • Comical: People laughing. (It doesn’t matter why they’re laughing)

Complicate it

Let’s say you’re invited to give a presentation to the technical geniuses of tomorrow. A photo of two ladies laughing and sunbathing or a man in a suit will not get their attention. Technical men want to see technical stuff; not random technical shutterstock photos but the technical stuff that’s essential in your story.

  • Parts and pieces. Your every day audience will want to see an end product. Not these guys. They love to see parts and pieces.
  • Tools, tools, tools. A tool does what it does and may do what it does not do yet. That will definitely interest them.
  • Ingredients: Don’t think of eatables. Think of metals and quarrying and show them what your (product is) made of.

Every audience has its visual preferences and you have to make sure you know what they are. Use that knowledge to your advantage and maximize the effect of your visuals.

Respectfully yours,

Mr. Prezident