Using Story-Based Visuals to Enhance Your Presentations

We know that it’s important to tell stories during our presentations because, well, humans love stories. And we know that it’s important to use visuals because about half of our neural tissue is related to vision. Great presenters understand that we live in a world that is both highly narrative and highly visual. Let's learn why and how to show the stories we are trying to tell.

Why We Need Story-Based Visuals

You’ve probably seen the recent trend toward infographics, even if you weren’t sure what they were called. Forbes contributor TJ McCue calls infographics, “a collection of data presented in visual form . . . [it’s] Microsoft PowerPoint on steroids.” There’s even an online website dedicated to collecting this new media type. Check out Infographic Journal, where you can peruse infographics by category and find examples like this one on millennials’ spending habits.

This trend toward story-based visuals isn’t surprising. After all, we know that humans tend to gravitate towards stories and remember stories longer and with more detail than mere facts. Author Daniel Pink puts it this way, “Stories are easier to remember because stories are how we remember. When facts become so widely available and instantly accessible, each one becomes less valuable. What begins to matter more is the ability to place these facts in context and to deliver them with emotional impact.” 

How to Use Story-Based Visuals

A statistic on the screen might help us because we will see the numbers while also hearing them from the presenter, but what if we take it a step further? What if the way that we present the statistic tells a story beyond just numbers and words? What if it uses pictures to create more emotion and excitement?

Brightcarbon puts out some great tutorial videos on how to use and design presentation media. One of my favorites is this 3-minute video on how to use a simple picture to tell a story while presenting a statistic. Watch it here.

After hearing and seeing the statistic in the example above, we will be able to remember and recall the information much more efficiently. CEO of Story Theater International, Doug Stevenson says, “The lesson of the story sticks because it’s embedded in an image.”

What does this mean? It means that simply presenting orally won’t work any longer, but neither will just putting a graph or statistic on the screen. Today’s best presenters are using story-based visuals to show the stories they are telling and the statistics they are sharing.

At Ethos3, we have a team of award-winning designers ready to help you put your story on the screen. Ready to enhance your presentation with story-based visuals?

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