Monday, August 8, 2011

Speakers' great examples of the invisible visual

A reader recently asked for more examples of what I call "the invisible visual"--not a hidden slide or image, but something the speaker describes so vividly that the audience members can picture it in their mind's eye. It's among the strongest ways to ensure your presentation sticks with them long after they leave the room, and often, makes the difference between a good speech and a great one. So I've pulled together three examples from the blog that came to mind immediately, to get your own process of brainstorming an invisible visual going:
What if you don't have a visual you can describe? You can use a familiar visual metaphor to create your invisible visual, particularly if you're describing phenomena that are less concrete, like working conditions that lead to incivility, the subject of a survey out today. From USA Today's coverage:
As companies buy out and lay off workers while expecting to keep productivity up, the niceties suffer, suggests psychologist and researcher Paul Fairlie of Toronto: "White-collar work is becoming a little more blue-collar. There's higher work demands, longer hours. When you control for inflation, people are getting paid less than in the late '60s. A lot of people are working much harder. They've got fluid job descriptions and less role clarity. So for some people, for a growing fringe, work is becoming more toxic."
Look at your next speech or presentation, particularly the anecdotes and examples. Can you find and emphasize that invisible visual?

Related posts: When it comes to words, concrete=credible

Why speakers should use the invisible visual

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Dalene said...

The invisible visuals I use:
I present a lot of workshops to pre-med students. I like to emphasize the need to perform well academically the first time around & not count on repeating courses to remain a competitive applicant.
I explain in "real life" they don't get "do-overs" & I particularly say, "This isn't 3rd grade kickball. If you roll through a stop sign & hit a child on a bike, you don't get a do-over. If, in your surgery rotation, you're told to make a 2-inch incision but you make a 3-inch incision, you don't get a do-over". By the looks on their faces I venture the visual pictures created work well.

Fred E. Miller said...

I see what you mean!

Sometimes the best props are the ones we never use.

Another example: "Picture your favorite coffee cup. It might be the one your child made in pre-school or it could be one bought at a souvenir shop on a special trip. Picture that cup!"

Thanks for the Post!