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Presentation Techniques: Picture Superiority

Posted by Stinson / May 26th, 2016
cheering young woman hiker open arms on mountain peak

cheering young woman hiker open arms on mountain peak

Prosecutors in the manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson doctor Conrad Murray are using an effective PowerPoint technique called picture superiority.

Simply put, picture superiority means that we process content more easily when it’s delivered in pictures and words instead of words alone. The saying, “Death by PowerPoint” was coined for presenters who don’t understand picture superiority!

The lawyer who successfully won a landmark lawsuit against Merck for selling the arthritis drug Vioxx, which lead to the death his client, won a $250 million verdict. Although the verdict was partly overturned on appeal, the lawyer won the case by laying out a logical argument and complementing that narrative with an emotional story told through the PowerPoint slides. He showed the first six slides of his presentation; there were no words on the slides. They simply told the story of two people in love and how one lost his life due to taking the prescription medication. At the end of a lengthy trial the jurors said they were moved by the story.

The prosecutors in the case of Michael Jackson’s doctor are delivering the most important presentation of their careers and they’re using more images instead of words. Take another look at your PowerPoint slides. Are they too wordy? Using pictures to tell a story will help you appeal to our audience whether you’re a lawyer seeking to persuade a jury, an entrepreneur hoping to convince an investor to back a product, or a leader trying to inspire a team.