Visual Storytelling – What It Is and Why It Is Essential For Business Presentations

Visual Storytelling – What It Is and Why It Is Essential For Business Presentations

Visual Storytelling as an Aid in Business Presentations

If you find that your presentations are not quite hitting home, perhaps they are failing to completely engage the audience, then visual storytelling is an effective way to make them more engaging and as a result, more persuasive. By utilising visual storytelling, you will be able to draw the audience in and make a far bigger impression on them.

Many studies have shown that a well-crafted story is more memorable and persuasive so it should come as no surprise that visual storytelling can be a powerful tool when delivering business presentations. It will help the audience engage on a deeper level and leave a far greater impression on the listeners.

What Is Visual Storytelling?

Visual storytelling is a relatively new concept in the world of business presentations and is not widely understood. For many years, simple slideshows have been used to accompany presentations, but these often lack true visual engagement. They will often contain large chunks of text, possibly accompanied by a few graphics and simple animations to help liven things up.

When putting together a presentation, you no doubt have a narrative running through it and this is the story. The story will help to capture the audience’s attention, and help them connect to your key points and the message that you are trying to convey. However, it is essential that the story be told in a way that the audience can relate to.

All visual storytelling is, is taking this narrative to the next level by including visuals to support the story and give the audience something extra to relate to. It could be as simple adding some notes to an image. It is also important not to overload one picture with colour, activity, or multiple types of content. Your audience will only have so long to review the slide and you want them to get a full picture of what you’re discussing quickly. Stories develop as they are told, and the visuals used in your presentation should do so as well. This will help you relax complicated concepts in easy to understand pieces.

The Research Behind Visual Storytelling

While the idea may sound a bit daunting to some, especially as most people in businesses are not graphic designers, the benefits are huge. Research has found that people recall information better when it is accompanied by visuals, furthermore, studies have found that people will remember around 80% of what they see and do, 20% of what they read, and just 10% of what they hear. This means that an audience is likely to leave an old-style presentation, delivered by a speaker and accompanied by text on slides, not having truly engaged in the experience and remembering very little of what was said. Just keep in mind that it’s a slippery slope when using content to present your ideas. Be sure not to over load your slides with images or text. Simple is almost always better. You need to convey the relevant information as succinctly as possible to get your message across quickly and in a way that sticks.

There are some good ways to do this if your overall message is a bit technical. You can get your message across more effectively by abstracting the story and emphasizing the messages, choosing the right layout and composition for your subject, or combining simple and relevant pictures, if necessary. Icons and infographics work wonders when presenting technical information, too. However, keep in mind if your slide is getting too cluttered with information and graphics you can ahead and break it up into a few more slides for the sake of your audience. It’s better to run a minute or too over time than have your most critical information get lost in the pacing of your presentation or in a jumble of content.

As a result, the extra work required to incorporate visual storytelling will certainly not be wasted effort. You will have a far better chance of your audience fully engaging with the topic, enjoying themselves, and leaving having retained all the important information.

In fact, a deeper look at the research show that using visuals is absolutely vital to engagement and information retention. It is thought that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and that 50% of the brain is active in visual processing. Furthermore, visual information is processed around 60,000 times faster by the brain that plain text. In other words, a picture really is worth at least a thousand words.