84.3% of presentations are visual

QUESTION – how do I present to win?

THOUGHT – engage with your audience visually

With all due respect to those in our community who are visually impaired, the fact is human beings are highly visual animals. Some studies how shown that for sited people up to 80% of the information we take in is extracted visually. For most human-beings site is the dominant sense.

For this reason, it is essential in any presentation, verbal or written to place a high priority on the visual aspects of the presentation.

It is therefore perhaps not surprising that a recent survey found that some 84.3% of presentations are highly visual.
The visual aspects of a verbal presentation (the slide show) need to:

  • Be visually interesting and engaging
  • Communicate information simply and efficiently
  • More graphics and images than words

Visually engaging imagery helps hold attention and interest throughout the presentation. Graphs and diagrams, including infographics, can help communicate complex information simply. It is undesirable for the audience to be reading when they should be listening to the speaker.

Increasingly we are seeing great speakers avoiding slides all together in favour of boards they can draw on or nothing at all. While these approaches lose all visual impact, they are often better than ‘death by Power Point’ and do focus all the attention on the speaker’s performance.

The visual impact of a written presentation (submission) need to:

  • Be visually interesting and engaging
  • Communicate information simply and efficiently
  • More graphics and images than words

At a time when the audience might be reading a number of submissions, it is important that yours is visually engaging and that it leaves a visual impression. Infographics can also help written submissions – communicating complex information simply and making a point with clarity. The biggest problem I see with written submissions is that they involve too many words, at a time when people are reading less words. Images can be helpful in reducing the reading required.

Research suggests that in contemporary slide presentations 55% of presenters use less than 25% text. It would be a sight of superior presenters if this 55% increased to 100%.

In 2019, 80% of all content placed online involves video. Research suggests that video can influence purchase behaviour more than words in 85% of cases. It can therefore be very useful to include video in both verbal and written presentations. That said, many videos used in presentations and indeed, online are less effective than they should be because they are too long. Recent research suggests that 30 seconds is a good length for a video used in this environment. Certainly, it should not be longer than 60 seconds, if at all possible.


Place the highest possible priority on the quality of the graphics and the visual aspects of your written (submissions) and verbal (slide shows) presentations. Pictures speak louder than words.

Make it as easy as possible for your audience to consume and remember the critical points in the presentation, leveraging fully the superior visual memory of most human beings.


Super Office, Venngage, Info Graphic, Custom Show, Mar Tech Series, The Career Café, Ethos 3, UT Blog, Tableau, American Express, Rule the Room, Financial Post, Linked IN, Presentation Panda, Present Better and Adobe

MORE THOUGHTS – www.djohncarlsonesq.com 

No tags 0