This post was written by Amy Fenollosa, Director of Learning at The Latimer Group.
In the last week, I’ve been to two charity events that left me thinking about the importance of the images that we choose to go along with our presentations.
The first event was a museum luncheon, set in a garden. The keynote speaker was an art historian who described the symbolism and significance of several works of art. Some were familiar, and some unknown to the group of 250 museum supporters. She had a tall order — to describe masterpieces and reference the detail in the brushstrokes, or the impact of the color choice, without the benefit of slides to show the artwork. Not surprisingly, as I glanced around at the audience, people were lost.
The second event I attended with my colleagues was the United Way of Hartford’s Power of the Purse lunch to promote financial security for women and families in our community. At this event a simple and powerful image stuck with me. It was a thermometer and a growing dollar figure beneath it. Through the magic of technology, when a call for donations was made, each of the more than 1000 people in the room were asked to use their smartphones to contribute. As the donations came in, the grand total was tallied in real time on the screens in the front of the room. As the mercury level on the thermometer rose, we could instantly see the combined impact of each of our individual donations. The energy in the room was palpable as we watched the group meet the fundraising goal. People were inspired to give to the cause.
Whether you’re leading a nonprofit event or hosting a business meeting, the right images can make your message resonate with your audience. As you develop your next presentation, think of creative ways to visually depict the significance of your words. In some instances, a single image will leave an impression. In other cases, you may choose a slide that uses a combination of words and an image. You could integrate icons, word clouds, or infographics that will speak to your audience differently than dense blocks of text or endless bullet points will.
Think of the audience engagement and the message you want to leave. Try to refresh your standard slide deck with visuals and watch the response. You may be surprised at the power of images on the audience. With the right visuals, your message will come to life and you can inspire action.