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#395: Use Pictures to Make Your Point

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, September 17, 2010
Updated: Monday, September 20, 2010
My presentations to clients are complex and data rich. With so much to communicate, how can I assure that my message is getting across clearly and the audience remembers it?

With so much information bombarding each of us, we are hard pressed to remember details of each event, document, presentation or even conversation. We use several tricks to clarify and highlight key points but even these are sometimes not enough.

For example, PowerPoint is well known as a way to reduce the data resolution of a presentation (sometimes too much). Applying the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) rule will keep us focused on a vital few elements of a presentation, letting us relegate detail to appendices. Chunking and pre-briefing can be used to provide data in digestible bites. However, none of these techniques reduces the volume of data we are dispensing, just the way we are sending it.

To really increase the amout of knowledge received and understanding gained for the amount of data sent, we need to use an old tactic. That tactic is to use images ("a picture is worth a thousand words"). Using images creatively gets messages across better regardless of language, culture, or familiarity with most of the technical subject matter.

Tip: Dan Roam describes a few rules about improving communication using simple images. Dan is author of The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, a Top One Hundred book in the category Decision Making and Problem Solving at Amazon).

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consulting tools  data visualization  innovation  product development 

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