Any problem or issue can be made clearer with a picture. But if you aren’t feeling creative or visually fluent, it helps to know how to be effective. Find out the 6 secrets for visual impact right now.

One of the most familiar pictures is an outline, such as a map of the United States. By adopting these solid principles of effective map-making; your business presentations can be dramatically more powerful.

Check out the use of an interactive map to present a 3-panel view of the economy where you live.

NPR is using this interactive map to show foreclosure rates, unemployment rates as well as household income by county.

What’s particularly interesting in this visual display? You can instantly see which areas are most affected by the recession. Equally, where there is less fallout.

Notice how information is available for the three maps in colors, numbers, a short verbal explanation, and an audio description. If you want to use visual displays to explain your information, use these tips. Keep the best practices shown by NPR, alive and well in your presentations.

Tip 1: Provide A Clear Title
In this presentation, the title reads: Interactive Map: The Economy Where You Live.

This title of your presentation provides an overview to the entire topic, and to all three maps. This creates consistency, and a feeling of safety. You always know that you are looking at maps that relate to this overarching concept.

Tip 2. Structure Sub Headings
The subheadings are clearly listed: foreclosure rates, unemployment rates, and median household income.

The overview is structured in easy to understand words, all shown in equal size and similar typeface. (If only business presentations used these conventions!)

Tip 3. Provide A Key Code
Explain your code in colors, key words and numbers if appropriate. In this article, all three were used. This is used consistently in all three maps.

Tip 4. Use An Easily Recognized Structure
In this case, the map was of the United States. Just about everyone would recognize the outline of the USA.

Tip 5. Provide Options
Viewers can choose to read, listen to audios, and click through to visual displays. Some of the displays offer further details to visual depictions.

Tip 6. Focus On A Hot Topic
While you may be presenting entirely different data, focus on how to capture attention. Most audiences have one thing on their minds. “What’s going on that I should know about?”

In training circles, this is usually referred to as a “WIIFM.” This acronym stands for “What’s In It For Me?” and is an easy way to remember that people are curious, hungry and thirsty for information that is focused on them—not on you.

Everyone wants information that could help them understand about economic conditions. Use this understanding to adapt your presentation to match your audiences’ interests. The critical point is that your title, map and presentation must speak directly to your audience.

When you communicate in a language everyone understands, show information visually and make complex concepts easy to ‘get’ you are on the right track.

While you may not have a devoted staff to do your research, you can use each of these tips. When you do, expect people to get involved. These principles are quick and easy fixes that have the power to transform your business presentations.

Author's Bio: 

Milly Sonneman is a recognized expert in visual language. She is the co-director of Presentation Storyboarding, a leading presentation training firm, and author of the popular guides: Beyond Words and Rainmaker Stories available on Amazon. Milly helps business professionals give winning presentations, through Email Marketing skills trainings at Presentation Storyboarding. You can find out more about our courses or contact Milly through our website at: