Have you ever attended an inspiring meeting or conference and been dazzled by the speaker?
A darkened room punctuated by a lone, spotlit figure gliding across a stage, sharing life-changing insights. The audience is mesmerized, entranced by the speaker’s spell.
(I realize that’s pretty rare but stick with me on this.)
Then you get a home a few days later and a colleague asks you about the conference. The conversation might sound like this:
Colleague: “So how was the conference?”
You: “It was great! The keynote speaker was terrific.”
Colleague: “Really? What did he say?”
And you find that you can’t remember what seemed so inspiring just a few days earlier. You know it was great–you were there!–but all of that awesomeness has faded from memory.
Sadly, you weren’t the only who couldn’t remember. In fact, this scenario would have played out for nearly everyone who attended the same conference.
How to Get a Sixfold Return on Your Talks
If your financial advisor told you that you could earn six times more on your investment portfolio by making one simple change, you’d jump on that, right?
“Mr. Jones, you currently have $50,000 in your retirement savings. If you’ll do this today, you can have $300,000 in your account tomorrow.”
What if you could get your audience to remember six times as much about your message by making one simple change? Would you do it?
How important is it to you to woo that investor or to win that customer’s business? Do you want to truly inspire your audience to change?
Telling vs. Showing
Let’s go back to your conference for a moment.
The reason you can’t remember anything from that amazing speech is that you were told instead of shown. That is, the speaker used words when he should have used pictures to make his points.
It turns out that your brain is wired to remember images more than words, and by a huge margin.
In his best-selling book Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina points to research that shows you’ll remember only 10% of something you heard three days ago. If you add a picture to the message, though, you’ll remember an astonishing 65%.
There’s your sixfold return, folks.
Kill the Text, Show a Picture
Let’s say you wanted to tell some people all the advantages of being a cowboy.
(Again, I realize that’s pretty rare but stick with me.)
In conversation, you could say, “Being a cowboy is amazing! You get to make music, hang out with other cowboys, ride horses, and take pictures with your favorite horse. You get to wear cowboy hats, cross streams on your horse, and shoot things with a rifle. You should try it!”
Now if you were to ask that audience in a few days about the fun things cowboys do, it’s likely they wouldn’t remember much. Since you mentioned horses several times, they might recall something about horses.
If you were giving a presentation about cowboys, you could show a slide like this:
But that’s heavy on text and not very memorable.
What would happen, though, if you added relevant pictures to each of your points? Something like this:
According to the research, your audience is far more likely to remember more about being a cowboy.
As you prepare for your next message, help your audience remember by including pictures.