1: “If you get your visual on the whiteboard, it dominates the meeting,” comments Northwestern Professor Steve Franconeri in Esther Choi’s Let the Story Do the Work.

When we learn how to anchor our presentations with solid visuals, we dramatically increase our effectiveness as communicators.

As human beings, we all have five senses, but “more than 50 percent of the cortex, the surface of the brain, is devoted to processing visual information,” points out University of Rochester professor David Williams.

We “may hear a dog’s bark, but seeing the dog itself will provide much more to [our] brain, helping [us] to decide what to do—for example does the dog look friendly, or worth running from?” Esther observes.

2: Our goal is not to illustrate every detail of our presentation but rather to help translate complex concepts into simple pictures our audience can follow.

Esther calls these drawings and visuals “StoryPictures.”

Another significant benefit of using graphics and drawings? Audience participation. “A core power of using a StoryPicture to communicate lies in the opportunity to have [our] audiences use the framework to share their own stories,” Esther writes.

3: She outlines six types of StoryPictures:

TYPE A: The Virtuous Cycle – A circle denotes a system. We “can use the Virtuous Cycle StoryPicture to illustrate how any given system works, by showing the configuration and interaction of key components.”

TYPE B: Venn Diagram – Overlapping or nested circles showing the commonalities and differences between things or groups of things.

TYPE C: The Graph – Shows a pattern, relationship, process, change, or some combination of the above.

TYPE D: The Pie Chart – A circle is divided into sectors that represent a proportion of the whole.

TYPE E: The Formula – A way of illustrating a governing principle or rule that applies to a relationship among several elements.

TYPE F: FEE (Freestyling for Everything Else) – “This category covers any other StoryPicture that can be effective but doesn’t fall neatly into the previous five categories,” Esther writes.

More tomorrow!


Reflection: How often do I use drawings or graphics as part of my presentations?

Action: Experiment with one of Esther’s six StoryPictures in an upcoming meeting.

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