How to use visual aids in your presentation
“1000 songs in my pocket” Steve Jobs’s legendary 2001 reveal of the iPod.
“Zombie in a Box” that moment in s7, ep.7 of Game of Thrones, when Jon Snow shows Cersei Lannister the very real threat posed by the army of the dead.
Both are moments on stage with exceptionally good visual aids; a device to improve communication.
Pitching an idea to someone is an insanely expensive use of time.
⤵️ Planning the meeting
⤵️ Setting the agenda
⤵️ Inviting the stakeholders
⤵️ Make sure they turn up
🎯 Keeping their focus
All this effort to pitch a message, establish alignment and get a green light.
Wow – so many things can wobble, and all that energy can evaporate to nothing.
When meeting with decision-makers, having a super tangible element, visual aid in your pitch is essential.
This could be a product demo that helps you establish your point, show the unique features, and highlight the risk and benefits.
It could be a new APP, a new product, a new upgrade, or a zombie in a box.
They all help your audience get you and your message.
Let’s break down the Game of Thrones scene as a case study.
You can watch the scene here
Case study context
01 – Who?
The King in the North and the Mother of Dragons are trying to establish a truce with Queen Cersis.
02 – Why?
So they can form an alliance, stop fighting amongst themselves and join forces to defeat the Night King and prevent death from consuming Westeros.
03 – How?
To do this, they have called a meeting with all the key stakeholders from both sides and after the opening remarks and a little Q&A, they use a visual aid.
04 – What?
They use a visual aid, a Wight (zombie), to highlight the risks of not establishing a truce.
05 – How?
The Hound opens a big wooden box and lets a zombie run at Queen Cersis, only to stop it inches from her.
06 – Assessment
Is this an effective use of a visual aid?
Yes – because very quickly, both sides are on the same page. They see without question the gravitates of the situation. If they cannot find common ground, then it’s a massive lose-lose.
Do their negotiations ultimately prove successful?
Alas, no, as the main characters are either too honest or too conniving, but that’s a different story.
The point is that they achieved an initial agreement by demoing their potential fates with a memorable visual aid.
They made it, so it was impossible not to see what they had to accomplish together.
How did they do it?
- They revealed the Wight to the major decision-maker in a memorable way.
- They showed the Wights features – a relentless killing machine.
- They showed how to stop them – the USP* and the benefits of fire and Dragon glass.
*Unique Selling Point
The initial result of this visual aid was successful; the two opposing sides saw a need for common ground, and the further negotiations fell apart, but not because anyone denied the seriousness of the threat.
They couldn’t agree on terms.
How does this example help you?
The next time you pitch and want to illustrate your point, show your product, service, or benefits tangibly and let people see or touch the current version so they know the pros and cons for themselves.
- Establish a memorable reveal
- Highlight the features
- And the stand out USP & benefits
Then the time spent preparing and scheduling the pitch meeting will be as good as you can make it.
Job done, a successful pitch.
All you then have to do is hope you’re not pitching to a mad psychopath.
Or if you are pitching the next generation of world-defining tech, just put it in your pocket.
If you are not doing either of these, try the following:
01 – A sketch on a flip chart
02 – A 3d printed prototype
03 – A handout
04 – A slide deck with max 10 words per slide and nice big pictures
Visual aids are simple, tangible, and revealed in a memorable way.
If you are working on your pitch and want to discuss how you can make a great impression without a zombie in a box, let’s talk.
I offer a free pitch assessment – then, if you want to talk more, you can book a 60-minute consulting session here.
Have any questions about visual aids for your presentations??
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