We’ve all had the experience of seeing stunning pictures that stay with us. Look at the photo to the right, an abstract of a human face.
Which has a more significant impact on you? Seeing the picture of an abstract human face or reading the line, abstract human face?
Pictures have the power to say more than words and to stay with us longer than words.
Picture Superiority Effect
Researchers call it the picture superiority effect, the ability for people to remember what they see in a picture in greater detail and for longer than what they read.
Words matter. They certainly have their place. But like the research shows, in many situations pictures are superior.
One of those situations is presentations.
The Picture Effect in Presentations
When we pack our presentations–and our PowerPoint with more words than pictures, audiences tend to disengage. The word overload competes with the presenter and creates confusion and discomfort in the audience.
Pictures, on the other hand, give the audience a visual support to what the presenter is talking about.
The marriage of a presenter’s words with pictures as support creates multi sensory learning. The audience sees and hears different versions of the same message instead of seeing and hearing two different messages.
The Other Advantage of Picture in Presentations
Pictures also give a presenter more latitude. Put a bunch of words on a screen and those limit not only what a presenter can talk about but also what he or she can say.
Put a picture on a slide and the presenter has the tremendous latitude of what to talk about.
Put the Theory to the Test
Try it for yourself. Watch the video below and see for yourself the difference you feel as an audience member when I show you pictures and graphics versus when I show you screens filled with words.
Understanding how much faster audiences connect with pictures and graphics than words will help you build far more effective presentations, PowerPoints, and support materials.