Get your PowerPoint visuals right: get creative!

Creative PowerPoint visuals are powerful.

They can stimulate feelings, memories and tap into past learning.

PowerPoint visuals can be any image you can use in a presentation, such as photos, icons, graphs or illustrations. These are all highly valuable communication tools… but they are only effective when they fit with the core message!

In a previous blog post we wrote about the importance of engaging the visual channel. Here we focus on the importance of using visuals to actively support your message. It’s not enough to use striking images: a PowerPoint visual must communicate the right message.

The danger, if you use an irrelevant or inappropriate visual, is that it will distract and confuse – basically doing more harm than good. Rather than adding depth and clarity, the wrong visual could send your audience wandering off on a completely unrelated trains of thought.

PowerPoint visuals

The game “Pictionary” is all about creating this link between a concept and a visual image. You won’t win at Pictionary unless your visuals speak your message clearly: a beautifully drawn picture which no-one understands isn’t going to score you any points! To win at Pictionary, you have to think creatively and draw something which your team mates will immediately understand, and which leads them to say the exact word or expression you have in your mind.

The type of creative thinking that Pictionary requires is exactly what you need in order to design visually powerful presentations. So get out the egg-timer and pencils if necessary, and leave the sleek but meaningless visuals behind.

Always ask yourself “will this visual help my audience to understand?” Unless the answer is a resounding “Yes!” you need to find an alternative. Don’t be lazy with your creative visuals: get inspired and get them right!

Can flexible working increase productivity?

The Telegraph shared a piece about an increase in British workers being given the right to request flexible working hours – read it here.

Hallelujah we say to that!

Why? Because the current office environment – typically getting to the office at 9am, staying til 5.30pm, working in an open-plan office, and spending most of the day sitting still – is about the least productive environment we could possibly create. That’s according to scientific research…

If you’ve not heard of him, check out Dr John Medina. He’s a molecular biologist who wrote the excellent Brain Rules. His book explains, in a fun and easy to read way, what brain science reveals about the way we work. A “brain rule” is what scientists know for sure about how our brains work. You can see a summary on the Brain Rules website here http://www.brainrules.net.

presentation blog illustration - Can flexible working

Dr Medina explains that everyone’s brains has different wiring. Not even identical twins have the same wiring. And that means everyone works differently too, with each of us functioning better at different times of the day.

To put very simply, a “morning” person will be more productive in the morning, and a “night” person more productive at night. (And probably pretty groggy and unproductive at various other times of the day.) We can’t fight against the way our brains are wired!

With that in mind, what if everyone could set their own hours of work? Granted many businesses can’t offer complete flexibility; but imagine how far even a little flexibility could go. If people could choose to work at the times their brains are more alert and active, their productivity would no doubt increase. This can only be good for business!

At Presented, we offer as much flexible working as we can to our team.

Working remotely helps us do this; some of our staff work better at home, some in workshare environments, or cafes or libraries etc. Who are we to argue? So long as we’re getting the best out of our staff they could work in a pig sty (provided they didn’t come to visit us that same day!)

There are other reasons why the current typical office environment is bad for business, and that’s something we may touch on in other posts…

So, for now, we say YES to flexible hours and making Britain more productive!