Visualize Greatness

It’s All in the Eyes

We are visual creatures. Plain and simple. Think of the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” That saying is even more true and needed today than in the past. Our ancestors began drawing pictures on cave walls to tell a story. In today’s business world, we think we are beyond that, however, the truth is, that we are not. Look back to your recent grocery shopping outing. Among the various celebrity magazines at the checkout counter, there is a very good chance you saw an adult coloring book. They are the huge craze right now. At one point, Amazon’s top 20 books included 7 adult coloring books1. We have forgotten our roots! When we were young we love to doodle and color, but now we think that is for children.

Amazon Top 20 Graphic

Adults Still Love to Color

I have people come to my workshops that are great artists. They have job titles such as Administrative Assistant, or IT Manager, or even CEO. As they sit and learn, they doodle or color. It is like a mental fidget spinner! One participant in a recent four-day class drew the leadership topics we were discussing all on one 8.5”x14” piece of paper. It was beautiful! I asked her if I could have it to make a copy.

Now I put a copy at every participant’s chair on day one with colored pencils in the bucket in the center of the table. As I cover the materials for the week, I point out these sheets and let everyone know these are the topics we will be covering over the next four days. I invite them to color or doodle on it during the week. I am always surprised by 1) the sheer number of people that enjoy it, and 2) how great some of them turn out. Adults still love to color because we are still visual people.

Moving It on Screen

So why do we insist on putting black words on a white screen for every PowerPoint slide we create? The fact is, WE SHOULDN’T! So, let’s move the coloring book on screen and make amazing slides. The first step is to know the idea of the slide. Let’s look at the daily quote from today.

It is not length of life, but depth of life
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here is the typical business slide that would display this quote.

Bad slide of Emerson quote

You have seen this type of slide before, correct? There are few things that we can do better. First, we don’t need the title of the slide. The largest font will always draw the eye to it first. “A Quote to Remember” is not what we want the focus to be on this slide. It is the quote. Drop it.

Next, the quote is bulleted because someone quickly cut and pasted the quote into the slide with little thought and PowerPoint does what it was programmed to do and added bullets. They are not needed and look funny. Drop it. The cheap looking clipart of the apple is another issue. It really does not have anything to do with the quote and clipart looks cartoony and amateur. There is a big difference in adults still love to color and a professional looking presentation. When money is on the line in a business pitch or meeting, we want to look polished and professional.

The next issue is the branding on every slide. No one forgets what company they work for so there is no need to have “ABC Consulting” on every slide. Even if you are creating a pitch for another company and want them to remember you, it is far better to do so with an amazing presentation instead of a branded boring one. Drop it and while you are at it, drop the date too. It really is not needed.  The most horrid error on this slide is the slide count in the bottom right. The only thing your participants are going to be doing is counting to 65 to get out of your meeting. That is not the message you want out there. Drop it as well.

Moving It on Screen Part II

A professional and impactful slide can be created that will convey the message and emotion of the quote much better than the average one above.

Good Slide of Emerson quote

In this slide, I have set the background as the image, one of my favorite images. Then placed the quote on top. I select a nice font, in this case Book Antiqua, which is clean and conveys the message I wanted to present. I offset the sections of the quote to make it easier on the eye and to be livelier which is also in the frame of the quote. Last, I added a shadow to the quote to make it stand off the image a bit more and complete the design.

Which is more powerful to you, the first or the second slide? It is easy to see when they are place side by side. The second slide draws us in. The gentleman proclaiming this to be a great day, in my mind, along with the quote bring it to true power.

Bad slide of Emerson quote Good Slide of Emerson quote

Let’s look at a second example. This presentation is designed to inspire people to begin recycling to help our environment. Which of these two slides does that better?

The regular business slide is just not impactful. However, the other slide with a pile of disgusting trash and a shocking statistic emotionally effects people and they want to get involved.

Use this to get the most out of your presentations and get your message across!


1 Draw to Win by Dan Roam ©2016 Digital Roam, Inc.

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