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Visualizing Presentation Content: Programmed to Read Faster than to Listen (Part 3 of 4)

Programmed to Read faster than Listen

Have you ever been in the middle of a presentation, and as you talk, people are instead paying more attention to your slide behind you instead of you? Well there's a pretty simple explanation to that: As human beings, we are programed to read faster than listen.

So why is it that when we discussing presentations, we often dive straight into (just) public speaking? Perhaps rightfully so, because so many of us fall victim into the physical delivery the presentation (check out our previous post for some tips). We're here to discuss the visualization aspect of presentations.

Content visualization is a major aspect, especially in the world of business. You can see this in the numerous platforms designed for visualizing content. From everyday PowerPoint slides, to Prezi for in-out panning , or even VideoScribe for sketch drawings. All of these great tools exist to bring more meaning and attention to your content visualization.

No one wants to be forced into digesting a wall of texts and bullet points, so let's dive straight into some tips on how to make your content more visually engaging.



​​Colors play a very important part in our life. Here's what a quick google search on "fast-food logos" bring back.

Notice something standing out? Is it the color? Why red?

Red appeals to the emotion of passion and desire. And since fast-food relies on snap judgemet for purchases, companies relied on red to capture and spark people's desires.

In presentations, color can be utilized to spark the audience's subconscious to give it certain meaning. Green for sustainability, blue for trustworthiness, yellow for excitement! Bringing a splash of color can be used to guide people's attention - but a tip of caution here is be careful of overdoing it!


Everyone's seen the great late Steve Jobs give presentations with a single word or picture in it right? Well it's all fun and interesting, but the fact is not all our messages can be represented by an image. So the key here is to spend time on searching for compelling images that can hlep audiences relate to your message.

Instead of the same old boring trees to illustrate your company's sustainable growth goal, could it perhaps be replaced with these images?

Image: | |

An important point here is selecting the right images that suit your presentation style, tone and coloring. Also be willing to think outside the box - the perfect image to help you drive home your point often needs you to vary your search phrases.

*Do be aware and careful of copyrights and usage licenses, remember to always credit the creators!


The term infographic often pop into our minds when we discuss data these days. The term is actually an abbreviation of the term 'information-graphic'. In our experience, an area many clients have difficulty with (besides the obvous of expertise in iconography and graphic design) is in cutting down on data. Gathering, filtering, and showing data that really matters is such an important skill.

​​Here are two scenarios for when a busy high-powered executive asks for historical context to discuss the company’s strategy for employee benefits investments.

Of course, the first chart but You could give 2 decades worth of historical data (sample 1), or you could show that annual growth in spending is declining (sample 2).

Of course simplicity takes some discipline—and courage—to achieve. The initial impulse for us it to include everything you know. For this scenario, sample 2 is probably more suitable as it fits the goal of establishing a foundation for the recommendation.

Read more graphs and charts on this great HBR article.


Studying up on the tools PowerPoint has to offer (e.g. master slides, aligning objects, spacing & grid/guidelines, etc.) is also highly recommended to improve speed and tidiness on your next presentation.

As per our core belief, there's no one right way to visualize your content. But the sooner you do, the more people will pay attention (also an overlooked limited resource). A last tip is to proofread as much as you can. Although we're all prone to mistakes, typos and misinformed figures are very quick ways of tarnishing hard-earned reputation and credibility.

Thanks for reading, and happy visaulizing!

Note: The typo on the last sentence was made on purpose. Just like the three other typos we inserted throughout this post. Simply screenshot the typos and email us ( The first 10 winners will receive special Timesaver templates!


YK has developed a comprehensive 1-2 day training on Towards Impactful Presentation conducted in some of the biggest organizations in Indonesia. This post is the 3rd of a 4 part series that explores what goes into developing and giving a great presentation - giving readers an exclusive sneak peek into the training curriculum. For more information please contact


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