I think there are 4 different type of visuals,  Have I forgotten any? (The images below are taken - out of their context - from previous posts on this blog)
  1. Big picture, big emotion slide. A huge image of a squeezed orange "the competition is killing us!", a big picture of an audience asleep "presentations are boring!", swimmer dives in the pool "let's go for it!" (lot's of cliches here, but I have seen many good ones as well). These slides are an emotional shortcut, they unlock an idea/feeling that is already present in everyone's brain quickly.

  2. Location port, a big image of a place, a street, a country, a customer. Pretty much like a movie director opening a film to bring us to a different time, a different place. An image of the interior of a messy store is much more powerful than a list of bullets: isles are not straight, labeling is unclear, lighting is poor.

  3. Relationship slide. Shapes/boxes with text, arrows, to show how issues are related, impacting each other, are dependent on each other, sit in different places on the same map.

  4. Data chart showing us a trend, or comparing numbers.

An incredibly dense relationship or data chart should actually be in the "location port" category, the U.S. army spaghetti chart is an example: it is not so much about understanding the chart in detail, rather the viewer understands immediately that "it's complex" (earlier post).

Common mistakes that people make today:
  • Over-use the big picture slide, creating a machine gun fire of cliche images flying across the screen. Impressive pictures, but a hollow story
  • Using bullets to describe what's should be inside a "location port" image
  • Using bullets to describe forces/relationships/dependencies that can more easily be visualized in a relationship chart
  • Making unfocused data charts showing information that is not essential to make the point that needs to be made

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