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Speaking PowerPointVisual communication is the new language of business. When a leader explains an idea clearly, persuasively, and simply, that idea can spread to others. Therefore, leaders who can master visual communication will drive their business strategies. In his book Speaking PowerPoint, Bruce R. Gabrielle outlines the Mindworks Presentation Method for visual communications. This method of creating PowerPoint presentations helps leaders use this tool to communicate more effectively. It focuses on three main strategies: (1) the story should be carefully planned out on a storyboard before the PowerPoint presentation is created; (2) visuals should be easily understood and each slide should promote a single message that ties into the overall argument; and (3) the design should feature color and decorative elements that draw attention to the message.

According to the author:

  • Every business is an idea marketplace in which managers jockey to get their ideas heard and implemented. Used well, PowerPoint can be the key to winning in today’s business environment.
  • When creating a boardroom-style PowerPoint presentation, the first step is to determine the main message of the deck. The best way to figure this out is to ask the question, “What does the audience want?”
  • A successful PowerPoint deck is like an iceberg, with 10 percent above water and the rest submerged below. The main message and three to four supporting points make up the above-water argument. The rest of the evidence and explanations should be kept underwater until necessary.
  • The title is the most important element of a slide. The best way to make the title memorable is to put it in the form of a sentence. Using a full sentence to clearly state an argument also makes it easy for the audience to understand the point of each slide.
  • The average person can only understand four ideas at one time. This Rule of Four is based on neuroscience and should dictate how much information should appear on each slide.
  • Research has shown that most people think in pictures. Adding pictures to a document makes it easier to understand, agree with, and remember.
  • Research has shown that people are more likely to agree with something if it is easy for them to process. Slides that are more visually pleasing are easily digestible and more memorable.

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