Visual Presentation Don’t Visualize the Wrong Idea

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Many times, when we advocate use of visuals in presentations, the immediate response is “I have been using pictures in my presentations. But I don’t seem to get the results I want”.

In every such case the mistake presenters make is ‘using visuals the wrong way’.

Remember, it’s not the visuals but the right visuals that get you results.

Many presenters are of the opinion that using pictures in their presentations is their passport to success. What they don’t realize is – it’s not the visuals, but what they choose to visualize that determines the results.

Let us see some examples of wrong focus and the way to correct them.

 Example 1: Presenting data:

A business presenter wanted to update her senior management about her team’s monthly performance. She presented a beautiful slide that must have made a Zen master proud.  She mentioned the key facts and figures in her talk. But the audience was unimpressed.

Wrong Visual Presentations of Data


Though the slide is impressive, she chose the wrong subject to visualize. Her audience wanted to know the specifics of her achievement. They didn’t need a visual to tell them what achieving target meant.


We decided to makeover the slide by focusing on what her audience expected to see. We included some specifics that supported her claim. See our suggested visual presentation below:

Right Visual Presentation of Data

The result:

This slide may not be as colorful as the earlier one. But, this is exactly the information that was required by her audience. The visual representation of over-achievement, backed by specific numbers is easy to understand and remember.

Related: Unusual Chart Templates in PowerPoint

Example 2: Explaining a Process:

In a recent workshop, a trainer expressed his disappointment with using visuals to explain his concepts.  He said his participants were not ‘getting’ his explanation, no matter what pictures he used.

He shared his slides with us. He had taken the advice of a presentation guru and made his slides look like ‘Banner Advertisements on the Highway’.

Here is an example of one of the slides he used to explain the concept of ‘Deferred Annuity’.

Wrong Visual Presentations of Process


The problem with the slide was wrong focus. His audience wanted help in visualizing the concept of Deferred Annuity. He made his slide to help them visualize the feeling of owning the product.


We made over his slide to help the audience visualize the concept…

Right Visual Presentation of Process

 (Note: It is a type of annuity contract that delays payments of income, installments or a lump sum until the investor elects to receive them.)

This made over slide captures the relationship between the various elements involved in the concept. When we showed the slide by animating the relevant portions, the eyes of the trainer lit up with clarity.

By shifting the focus of visualization to where it needs to be, we made the concept clear for the audience.

Related:Creative PowerPoint Process Ideas 

Example 3: Selling an idea

One of our clients is a distributor for a network marketing company. He complained that his ‘professional slides’ were not getting the response he wanted from his team.

Here is an example of one of his slides:

Wrong Visual Presentation of Idea

We asked him to explain the slide to us, and this is what he said, “Adding more people to a team reduces burden on individual members in the team. It is like using pulleys to spread the weight.”


The problem was the wrong focus of his images. Instead of using his slides to support his explanation, he used them to make a stylish impression.


We found the analogy of pulleys to be brilliant, and we suggested this alternative slide to support his explanation:

Right Visual Presentation of Idea with Analogy

This slide brought his message to life and made a significant impact on his audience.

Once again, this shows how you can enhance the impact of your presentation by shifting the focus of your visualization.

Remember the key message about making visual presentations…

It is not the visuals, but the right visuals that get you results. Before you start making visual slides, take a moment to check if you are visualizing the right subject. If you are keen to sharpen your visualization skills…

Visual Presentations eBook

Visual Presentations eBook:

If you are a business presenter, this eBook can help you add powerful well-thought out visuals to your presentations.

In this practical eBook, Visual Presentations, we show you how to connect with even the toughest audience with clear and effective diagrams. This is not a ‘tips and tricks’ book but a book that teaches you a system to convey your ideas powerfully using visuals – the right way. See details and get it here >>

Related: Common Mistakes in Using Smartart Graphics

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