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How To Visually Save Your Audience From Boredom

How To Visually Save Your Audience From Boredom

“Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple” (Charles Mingus)

You don’t want me to do that, and I wouldn’t, if not out of necessity, believe me.

Once upon a time not long ago, you were requested to do something you wouldn’t do on purpose or even remotely willingly: “John, we need you at the next board meeting on Friday.” Your boss shouts at you, “Please prepare to present our status on the product-strategy, projects, risks and chances, suppliers, clients and so on, you know…”

Immediately, you feel that chill creeping down your spine. The one, unmistakably approaching at times, when something you fear for a reason is going to happen soon.

In front of your eye the following scene unfolds:

Board meetings are one of a kind. They’re lengthy, aiming at — what exactly? Everyone wants to be in the loop about what has happened recently, right? Many, I mean many PowerPoint slides are needed. Up to two hours presenting many numbers, complex correlations of business-processes, projects, suppliers and so on.

After a short while in any of that meetings, the audience, especially on Friday afternoons, tend to do the following:

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  • Being unable to follow up
  • Getting bored
  • Fall asleep

You wish more than anything at that point there would be a way out. Any easier approach, something doable at least would do just well.

Rest assured, there is a surprisingly helpful approach to the rescue.

  • You will calm your fears of presenting many slides on a Friday
  • Get back the control over your audience
  • Stop the audience from getting bored in the first place
  • Even better, make them remember your presentation and engage with you

Clear Storyline

    What’s happening?

    As Antonio Zamora, entrepreneur and founder of Wimz.ch puts it:

    “Take a pen, and the audience switches to the same level as you. Even accepting, you are being the teacher in the room now.”

    In 3 steps, I’m now going to tell you, how you can approach the audience visually and tackle a complex scenario. Creating an image to tell a story will help a lot to attract and engage the audience.

    1. Learn about your “story”

    Message, Content and Visuals are the three essential parts of any successful presentation. Make sure you invest all your knowledge and of course, your creativity to form a substantial body of your play.

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    Do as much as you can, to become an expert about what you will present.

    Studies from Eyeful Presentations show that most presenters have either 1 to 2 hours or a day and more time to prepare for a presentation.

    One way or the other, the most crucial part will be the message. Invest slightly more to what is the central story you want to tell your audience. The other two go as equal parts to the content and visuals.

    2. Visualize your play

    In our example from the beginning, we have many topics to cover. Let’s do it:

    • Product-Strategy
    • Projects
    • Risks and chances
    • Suppliers
    • Clients

    Assuming, those being the main topics, you need to create an image with them as integral parts.

    Wow, I hear you say, how on earth should I do that.

    Well, the bad news is: there will be no golden rule for how doing it.
    On the positive side, you can always challenge yourself. In this example, I show you, there is no rocket science part in it either.

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    Product-strategy can mean many things, mostly it’s something not razor sharp. Hopefully for most of you guys, it’s there, but could equally well exist in a cloud. So why not using that to visualize it?

    Who better than you know, that projects always are like a long road. They will have milestones in it and a beginning and an end.
    Well, scribble a path or road. Why not place any trees on its sides? How’s that, not too hard, right?

    Risks are always something, business professionals fear. For that reason it can be something like an animal that occasionally crosses your path, and you won’t be happy to spot it. A wolf? Yes, why not.

    Chances are what makes your day, they’re shiny and bright, like the sun sometimes.

    A supplier provides products or parts for your company, and the cute Little Red Riding Hood would be just great to visualize just that.

    The clients are nice people all your business is about. They mark the end, or as well the beginning of the road and may live in lovely little homes.

    3. Draw

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    See what we did? We created pieces of scenery that even preschoolers could paint. My point is, in no case be too hard with yourself if you now paint that story.

    Take a piece of paper and combine those little parts in one image. Even better, grab your whiteboard for a spin and just do it.
    After a couple of times trying, you will feel it. The story and with it a remarkable start of your upcoming meeting will visualize in front of you.

    Of course you guessed it: In the end this would make a beautiful scene of the well known fairy-tail The Red Riding Hood.

    Example Visualization

    The following graphics show you even better that you don’t need to be an artist to visualize a great deal of information. Likewise, it’s doable even without being a creativity wizard to start using the drawing for business use-cases.

    Balance
      Symbols-Library
        Meeting

          Background

          Why does it all work that way? The scientific reasoning has a lot to do with how we perceive ourselves and the environment. How do we process and digest that information, learn and communicate with each other?

          Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP is that discipline of the cognitive and behavioral science, that deals with us being subjective humans.

          According to the Business Directory, it even provides the pattern, how words and symbols are used to create mental pictures that our senses use to process the according experience later stored in the brain.

          Please find out more here and here.

          More by this author

          Jochen Burkhard

          Owner Burkhard Consulting

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          Last Updated on October 14, 2019

          12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

          12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

          The most valuable thing an experienced person has is their experience. People make mistakes, learn from them, and adapt their life around them to become better people. Those people would then tell tales to others to help teach those lessons so that others would not have to make the same mistakes.

          People still tell these stories today but in a slightly different format — they use speeches to express their experiences. Here are some valuable life lessons you can learn from some of the greatest inspirational speeches:

          1. JK Rowling teaches us to not fear failure no matter how bad things become

          It is a well-known fact that JK Rowling’s now-famous Harry Potter series was turned down by several publishers before it was finally picked up. Those publishers are likely kicking themselves in the pants right now. However, before that, JK Rowling was in a fairly dire situation and was on the brink of failure. Despite being turned down time and time again, she kept trying. Her efforts paid off. Harry Potter is now a ubiquitous character in today’s world culture. Despite failing over and over again, Rowling kept trying and fulfilled her dreams. You can watch her deliver some valuable life lessons in her Harvard commencement speech video above.

          2. Steve Jobs teaches us to never settle

          Steve Jobs had a fairly tumultuous life. He co-founded Apple, was kicked out of the company, came back, and then re-defined the mobile phone space with the iPhone. Even if iPhones aren’t the rage they once were, its iconic value is forever written in stone. One thing Jobs never did was settle. He lived life on his own terms and was rewarded for it by being dubbed one of the most revolutionary voices in technology of our time. In the Stanford commencement speech above, Jobs explains how you should never settle for what someone else wants out of your life. It’s your life and you should do what you want with it.

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          3. Admiral William H McRaven teaches us to make our beds every day

          Anyone who has gone through the basic training of a military service will tell you it’s pretty difficult. However, every seemingly obnoxious step is actually a life lesson in disguise. This even applies to flawlessly making one’s bed every single morning. As Admiral William H McRaven teaches us, recruits are taught to make their beds every morning to remind them that even the little things in life matter. After all, how can you be expected to handle the biggest obstacles in your life if you can’t even handle the small and the mundane like making your bed every day? You can watch the entire speech in the video above.

          4. Author David Foster Wallace teaches us that we’re a part of a greater existence

          David Foster Wallace found fame in 1987 with his book The Broom of the System. Nearly 20 years later in 2005 he game a commencement speech at Kenyon College that is worth listening to at least once. In his speech, he reminds us that was are but a part of a huge, dynamic, ever changing interaction of life forms. In order to truly experience life, we need to leave our personal bubbles and interact with others even if it’s in an unpleasant way. Wallace states, “It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.” You can watch the whole speech above.

          5. Stephen Colbert teaches us that life isn’t something you can plan

          If there is anyone who knows about improvisation, it’s comedian Stephen Colbert. In his commencement speech at Northwestern University in 2011, Colbert reminded students that you cannot plan life. Life throws too many curve balls. There are too many unpredictable things that can happen. The most successful and happy people are not those who have a plan, but those who can roll with the punches and overcome the obstacles. He goes on to site his time as an improv comic and how all of the actors working together to create a scene out of literally nothing are all working for one another. He states that like improv comedy, you don’t know what happens next in life. You just make it up as you go along. You can watch the whole speech above.

          6. Kurt Vonnegut teaches us to not sweat the small stuff

          Some of our younger readers may not know Kurt Vonnegut. He is a famous author that found of of his success during the middle of last century. In 1999, Kurt Vonnegut was at Agnes Scott College giving a commencement speech. During the speech, he mentioned that in order to live a more complete life, people needed to let stuff go. He argued that you cannot reasonably expect others to forgive you for your mistakes if you cannot forgive others and that you cannot live life fostering a personal vendetta against others.

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          7. Neil Gaiman teaches us that success can be distracting.

          Neil Gaiman is most known for his work in a number of literary mediums including journalism, comic books, and novels. In 2012, Gaiman gave a speech at the University of the Arts where he talked about success. He stated that when you become successful, you may be unintentionally swayed from performing the actions that made you successful. Gaiman recalled his early success and how he felt pressured to answer emails all day long and it actually prevented him from writing as much as he wanted. So he reminds us to keep doing what makes us successful and to not let others get in the way.

          8. Barack Obama’s life lessons teaches us that you really can beat the odds

          We know that not everyone likes Barack Obama but that doesn’t mean the man can’t deliver an amazing speech. In this 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convenction, Obama reminds that it is possible to beat the odds and become something great. He cites his own upbringing as an example and how he was never expected to make it as far as he did. It shows that when you’re passionate about something and when you try hard enough, you can accomplish almost anything. It’s important to note that Obama talks about this in 2004 and would become the President of the United States just four years later.

          9. Robin Roberts reminds us that we each have the courage to overcome challenges

          Robin Roberts knows a thing or two about courage. She is a breast cancer survivor and has done battle with a rare blood disease called myelodysplastic syndrome. Her sister once had to donate bone marrow just so Robin could remain alive. She was also ESPN’s first African American broadcaster in the early 1990’s. She’s a woman who works in an industry predominately populated by men. So when Robin Roberts takes the stage at the ESPYs and delivers a short lecture on having courage, we would do well to listen!

          10. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that some things are more important than success

          We all know the story of Martin Luther King Jr. So much so that we have a day of the year to celebrate him as a national holiday here in the United States. Most of us have listening to segments of his famous speech where he told the world about a dream he had. The main message of his famous speech is that racial inequalities needed to end and he was absolutely right. However, he also reminds us that there are things that are more important than success such as equal rights and treating each other with respect and kindness. If you somehow made it through school without watching the famous speech, we’ve got it linked above.

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          11. Jim Carrey reminds us that even if you keep it safe, you can still fail so you might as well go big

          Jim Carrey delivered a commencement speech at Maharishi University recently that went absolutely viral. You may know it as the one minute video that will change your life. They weren’t lying but they weren’t telling the whole truth because the speech was actually 28 minutes long. During the speech, Carrey talks about his father who wanted to be a comedian but decided to take the safe route and become an accountant. As it turns out, his father was laid off and his family ended up poor anyway. With that, Carrey tells us that you can still end up failing even if you play it safe so you might as well swing for the fences and do what you want to do.

          12. Bill Murray teaches us that it’s the hard times that determine if someone really loves you

          You may have heard the story about Bill Murray crashing someone’s bachelor party and delivering a speech. It turns out the speech was both short and fairly epic. During the speech, Bill Murray challenged the bachelors to travel around the world with the women they love and go to places that are difficult to go to and deal with. He says if you can get back to the United States and you still love each other, then you should get married right then and there. It’s a great message. It’s easy to love one another when times are good but do you still love each other when the times are bad? If so, that’s true love according to Bill Murray.

          Final thoughts

          Inspiration comes from everywhere and from anyone. There are a countless number of speeches and stories that can teach us an incalculable number of life lessons.

          All these speeches almost share the same message: Don’t be afraid to fail and keep trying.

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          If you also want to live your best life like the above successful people, this is what you should start doing:

          You’ll Only Live Your Best Life Once You Step Out

          At the end of the day, everything is inspirational. It’s just a matter of finding the message that we need to hear to change our lives.

          Featured photo credit: Miguel Henriques via unsplash.com

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