A picture is worth a thousand words…
A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say, but the updated version of that phrase sounds more like… put together the pictures with the words and you’ll experience unprecedented engagement and communications. Undeniably we still live in a text based society, but visuals have elevated the game. Both Twitter and Instagram are storytelling techniques helping businesses succeed in content distribution, sales, and branding.
In a sea of social media apps, Instagram is trending (how ironic) and here’s why… Twitter started with 140 characters of text and evolved into allowing users to add pictures and/or follow links out to the web, white papers, videos, and more. Many times, the final landing spot is far removed from the original post, creating space and time in the “connection”. Industry analysts have called this part of the twitter-net “noisy,” with many external moving parts.
Instagram, on the other hand, has played it cool. The app aims to keep you within their community and asks you to observe one post at a time. The evolution here is that Instagram now strikes a perfect and equal balance between words and pictures with prolific captions, commenting abilities, and an array of picture editing possibilities. They cornered the market for influential storytelling including text, pictures and now interactive responses. Data shows that users agree. Instagram has 400 million users monthly as compared to Twitter’s 316 million. And when engagement is measured, Instagram wins hands-down boasting billions of “shares” within their app world.
We already know why storytelling works, and pictures elevate this tool. In the past, the more bullet points and information stuffed into your PowerPoint was thought to heighten the effectiveness and professionalism. Not true. It turns out, “Cognitive scientists say it’s impossible for us to multitask as well as we think we can. The brain cannot do two things at once and do them equally well. When it comes to presentation design, we can’t read text on the screen and listen to the speaker while retaining all of the information.” (Gallo)
So how do we combat that, and make ourselves the most impactful presenters?
“University of Washington biologist John Medina has done extensive research into how the brain processes information. According to his book, Brain Rules, “We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10 percent of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65 percent.”” (Gallo) Not only will the audience remember it, but the transfer of information happens much faster too. In their research on the subject, the company 3M reveals that visual aids “have been found to improve learning by up to 400 percent….and we can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.” Powerful data like that motivates changes in what and how we consume and present information.
Like Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and his new minimalist presentations, let’s begin to consider revamping your typical designs. Who are you more like when presenting? Twitter or Instagram? Comb through and identify which bullet points can be replaced with pictures that tell a story or create an emotional connection. Don’t assume the audience will know exactly what you mean when choosing a picture so do include a concise, relevant explanation. Engagement and understanding will soar. Visuals emerge through language too, so think of how you can set the stage or scenario of a situation in the stories you tell as well. It starts with “Imagine this…”
Nudge: Think in pictures. Look for ways to incorporate more visuals whether it’s verbally or by adding graphics and photography in your presentation.
The world of digital disruption, ubiquitous communication, and generational shifts in the workforce is changing everything. People are moving faster; they are always “on” and bombarded by inputs from social/digital media. Our customers tell us that the negative effects of these great communication technologies are constant feelings of pressure and stress with shifting priorities. They often do not have enough time in the day to accomplish high priority items. The result: work longer hours to catch up or leave feeling crushed by the pressures of work. They have too much to do and feel frustrated. If you are not among this group, congratulations.