This post was written by Rick Enrico, the CEO and Founder of SlideGenius, Inc. He regularly publishes expert presentation tips on the SlideGenius blog. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from pitching for venture capital, it’s that complicated charts, lengthy text, and heavy statistics bore people to death, no matter how great you might think they are for building and supporting your argument.
Thanks to today’s booming visual content trends, we can now present complex ideas in simpler, visually engaging ways, such as infographics.
Originally called “information graphics”, this visual tool condenses information into an easily digestible format. In fact, experts in design and social marketing can’t help but express what they feel is in store for infographics in the future.
“These evolving options create new possibilities for the infographic format, which continues to be a highly effective tool for content marketing,“ said David Gould, Creative Services Director at Vertical Measures.
Before we discuss how to make stunning infographics, let’s talk about why they work so well.
Infographics Dominate Communication
Studies confirm that 90 percent of what comes to people’s minds is visual. Human brains decipher visual messages 60,000 times faster than information written in text.
Since people are hardwired to be visual learners, we’ve taken advantage of this fact and started marketing with infographics because…
1 – They’re More Accessible.
Right now, Internet users are suffering from information overload. An estimated 34 gigabytes of data, or 100,500 words, is consumed outside of work on an average day.
With this amount of information being churned out daily, it’s crucial to break complicated data down into something more accessible.
Infographics counter information overload because they balance text and visual content. Both elements are combined equally to put data into context. This makes the information easier to understand, keeping your audience’s sight on the key messages you’re trying to convey.
2 – They‘re More Engaging.
A study from Wharton School of Business found that 67% of the audience was persuaded by verbal presentations that had accompanying visuals.
Think of infographics as an enjoyable picture book. Why?
Look back to your childhood. Did you feel excited reading a book without no illustrations and images? Probably not.
Since people remember relationships better than random numbers and facts, verbalizing your pitch won’t be enough.
Infographics help you create a buzz and gain some traction. Their design elements illustrate connections, which further demonstrate a graphic representation of data.
3 – They’re Easier to Recall.
According to American psychologist and educator, Jerome Bruner, people remember more than 80% of what they see and do, and only 20% of what they read.
Meaningful images store information in long-term memory. Research has found that colorful visuals increase recall 77-80% better than information coursed through aural or textual form.
Visuals relay content in a way that grabs attention, increasing the chances that viewers will remember what they saw.
But what makes a great infographic?
Key Elements of Great Infographics
1 – Compelling Data.
Infographics need solid content, so perform detailed and thorough research to maximize your credibility on a chosen topic.
- Evaluate your sources’ credibility. Check on the author’s and/or organization’s educational and professional background, past writings, and field expertise to ensure quality content.
- Secure timely data. Always look for fresh and recent data, preferably no more than a year old. People may question your infographic content’s validity if you cite outdated information.
- Structure research results. Imagine how the data would look visually. Develop a hierarchy of an idea or an outline to better connect your key points.
Good data forms an infographic’s foundation. Invest time in gathering as much information as possible. The more data you can get your hands on, the better.
2 – Rich Graphics.
What is quality content without good design? If you’re aiming for better engagement, complement your data with the following graphic design principles:
- Contrast. Contrast is achieved when two different elements—fonts, shapes, and colors—are placed next to one another to create emphasis. This principle draws attention to an infographic’s most important parts.
- Repetition. Repeating design elements adds consistency to a visual piece. It makes the statement of ideas bolder, adding weight on readers’ information recall.
- Alignment. Alignment puts all elements in order, creating a visual connection with each of them.
- Proximity. This principle is about moving things closer or further apart to achieve a more organized look. It adds unity and continuity to the design, providing readers with easy reading.
Grab their attention, and keep them interested as their eyes travel through your infographic. Choose visuals that are clearly related to your topic so that they don’t stray off-track.
3 – Shareable Story.
The trick to creating a great infographic is knowing how to effectively combine words and visuals. Transforming the data points into a visual narrative grabs audiences’ attention and guarantees recall.
Craft your infographic with the conventional three-part structure that your audience should be familiar with:
- Title. Infographic titles give readers a head start on content. Keep it to 10 words or 70 characters, short enough to understand at a glance.
- Body. Find a focal point to get to the meat of your presentation. Don’t go overboard with the data, and break down the infographic into sections to make it easier to digest.
- Conclusion. People are wired to look for endings and takeaways. Giving them helpful information for future use is a smart move to encourage more shares after the meeting.
Before you start to do anything visually, ask yourself: “Do I really have something to say?”
Go beyond simply citing information. Think about why your audience should care about the data you’re presenting.
It’s time to move on from purely text-based learning.
Incorporating visual content in business presentations allows you to make complex thoughts understandable, making for a more interesting and effective pitch.
The fact that most people are visual learners calls for a great need for presenting information in a compelling manner.
Include this visual tool in your presentation checklist, and you’ll explore uncharted territory with bigger opportunities, all without putting anybody to sleep.
Give your audience more than just something to look at. Give them something they’ll remember and pass on to other people.