Visual Story Impact—Without Slides Cheat Sheet
We may have learned visual storytelling or ‘showing’ in kindergarten. But it’s entirely possible that you’ve forgotten the steps to do it well.
Let’s divide ‘showing’ into 5 distinct steps. Showing is a step-by-step process that you can use with any type of visual, prop, prototype, slide or software demo.
It follows a very simple progress. As an example, imagine you are showing a printed pie chart to a group of six executives. The chart is posted on the wall.
Here are the 5 steps and what you would do.
1. ‘Hold Hands’
(Don’t worry—I only mean ‘hold hands’ metaphorically.)
Imagine for a moment that you’ve never seen this pie chart. Step to the side of the chart so it is easily visible. If at all possible, stand close to your audience. Step back so you are looking at the chart with them.
Changing your position and viewpoint signals that you’re starting the investigation together. You’re essentially ‘holding hands.’
2. Look and Ask
Look at the pie chart. Ask: What’s this about? What is here? What is not here? Look from the perspective of a first-time viewer. Ask common sense questions to get oriented.
3. Touch and Point
Touch the chart. Point out what is most important in the drawing. Focus on the area that is most critical to discuss. Touch this area. Circle the area by making a circle with your finger.
4. Interact Aloud
Get people talking. Ask questions to guide the conversation. Ask for specific input, using simple questions. Ask for big picture thinking, “What opportunities do you see?” Ask for comments, “What is missing?” Ask about patterns, “What patterns do you notice?”
Adjust your questions to match your topic and audience.
5. Show and Touch
Touch the chart. Ask for agreement. Show the obvious pattern the group has pointed out. Get confirmation.