Sep 1, 2012

Brain Rules for Presenters - #10 Vision

This is the second post about the book Brain Rules by John Medina. In the last post I talked about what John Medina has to say about 'Attention' and what it means for presenters. In this post I will cover his tenth rule; 'Vision'.

Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses

What the book says:

1. Vision dominates all other senses.

2. Vision is the best tool to learn anything. John Medina says, "The more visual the input becomes, the more likely it is to be recognized - and recalled." This phenomenon is called the pictoral superiority effect (PSE).

3. We pay a lot of attention to moving objects.

4. We see with our brains. We see what our brain thinks is out there. The reality can be slightly different.

What this means for presenters:

Make our presentations more visual: John Medina clearly says that vision dominates all other senses. There are three ways our audience takes in information during our presentation; they listen, they read and they see. Brain researchers have found that learning by seeing is far better than learning by reading or learning by hearing. Today our presentations are heavy on text. We need to start using more of visuals. We can use photographs, charts and infographics.

Medina further says, "If information is presented orally, people remember about 10%, tested 72 hours after exposure. That figure goes up to 65% if you add a picture."

The challenge for us is to start using more of visuals. The challenge is to start converting our slides full of text into visuals. The next time we have a slide which has only text, we can ask ourselves "How do I convert this into a visual?"

Use animations: We pay special attention when any object is in motion. This implies we should use some animations in our presentations. Do not overdo it but start using it. If there is a process chart, showing the elements one by one (using animation) is better than showing the entire chart at one go. We must use videos in our presentations. Videos are highly visual and will capture the attention of our audiences. Three years back I had attended Dr. Stephen Covey's workshop in Hyderabad. He had used a lot of videos. For every topic he spoke about, he had a video to back it up. Sure, he knew the value of videos.

Just look at slides 41 and 42 of the following presentation to see how a table can be made into a nice diagram.