Written by Kery Knutson of UpLevel Consulting
The last time you heard a good ole fashioned fish story, you probably saw the storyteller use this technique. Stories that describe the size of an impressive catch will, no doubt, be accompanied by hand gestures that illustrate just how big said fish actually was. Why? Because it helps you visualize.
Ever since I taught public speaking to college students, I’ve been touting the power of good visuals. When you think college speeches, you might imagine pie graphs, video clips or even a demonstration of a tool, recipe or product. And when it comes to business today, those the same examples apply. Good, customized visuals are important for making strategic business decisions, creating client conversions and educating both clients and staff.
I’ve always known that visuals helped aid understanding but I’ve learned why they are so effective and just how to apply the critical visuals to business.
Why Good Visuals are so Effective (and Persuasive)
You’ve likely heard that we all learn differently. Maybe you know your own preferred learning style and whether it’s more visual, auditory, kinesthetic or a reading/writing style. According to an article in Psychology Today, “the part of the brain used to process words is quite small in comparison to the part that processes visual images.” In other words, our brain can grasp concepts easier when we can see them.
Furthermore, learning statistics reveal that some 65% of people are inclined toward visual learning. That means nearly two out of every three members of your team will prefer to learn visually. This can be important for training staff as much as it is for explaining the value of what you do to prospective clients.
Think about how you onboard clients. When you do, you’re are educating them. I’ve always said that if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re an educator. After all, you’re the expert in what you do. Clients hire you because you have specialty experience in some specific area that they need. This applies no matter what kind of business you operate, be it as a coach, realtor, attorney, consultant, trainer or something else.
You’re teaching your clients about the value of what you do so they’ll hire you, or
You’re onboarding staff and bringing them up to speed to represent your brand.
Whenever you’re educating others, the ideal outcome is that they remember and apply what you say. In order to do that, the message has to stick with them.
In a paper by 3M, the company points out that visuals have been found to improve learning by up to 400% and that our brain can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. That said, you can see how good, customized visuals can help you convey a message so it sticks. And when you combine visuals with persuasive words… that is a winning combination.
How to Make Your Visuals the Critical Kind
Research reveals that when you combine visuals with effective messaging (i.e. a story in story form) you will have the most persuasive and compelling message that people will remember.
As was explained by Robert E. Horn of Stanford University, “When words and visual elements are closely entwined, we create something new and we augment our communal intelligence ... visual language has the potential for increasing ‘human bandwidth'—the capacity to take in, comprehend, and more efficiently synthesize large amounts of new information."
Combining visuals with a compelling story can help listeners:
store information longer,
make communication quicker,
stimulate emotions, and
Andrew Angus from Switch Merge explains that a principle called “dual coding” is what happens in the brain when you use both audio and video cues. Dual coding helps your audience retain as much as 68% of information presented. If you had a chance to increase the rate at which your message was remembered, wouldn’t you take advantage of it?
Critical Visuals Your Business Needs Now
Some of the most popular advice you’ll hear if you focus on your writing skills is, “show, don’t tell.” Meaning that even with words alone, when you want to convey a message, you’ll want to paint a picture so they can visualize your message.
How can you apply this idea of “critical” visuals to your business?
As a business owner, you want your words to matter. When you speak you want to be compelling, convincing, meaningful to the audience you are aiming to reach. Getting visual with your words by using vivid imagery might sound more like creative writing but you can do it for your business too. For instance, when you tell a story about the results your clients experience, use a story-form structure. Stories include emotions which help your listeners remember. Professional stories you can use to create visual imagery in your target audience’s mind can be used in public speaking opportunities, video testimonials, or to communicate your vision to your team (to name just a few).
Having quality videos that represent your brand and business is valuable to both potential clients and future hires. But what kind of video?
Talking-head videos (i.e. your face talking to the camera) are quite popular these days with the prevalence of social media. Showcase your expertise by choosing a story that illustrates the value of what you do and tell it to the camera. Share on your website and social media to distribute to your audience.
Want to level up your talking-head video? Edit in some b-roll footage. B-roll is a video production term that helps add context to a video. It might look like seeing your workplace, your city or you helping clients. Editing in this kind of footage will take your video storytelling to a new level. Why should you go to the trouble? It invites the viewer into your world, which helps build the know-like-trust factor.
If you really want to be unique, create an animated explainer video. I help my clients do this by finding their number one most influential story they should be telling right now, writing the script and producing the video. These videos can be great for prospecting, onboarding your team, creating training materials or describing your intellectual property. Details at: http://uplevelyourvideo.com.
Finally, there’s full scale, on-site custom video production projects to place you at that next professional level. Ready to be on TV? Want to create a documentary to further your cause? There are a number of reasons to invest in full-scale video production customized for your needs. It’s just a matter of if you are ready for it.
Visual Data Dashboards
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the value that visual data dashboards such as those provided by Pineapple Consulting Firm can provide. Creating a way to automatically pull important data into one place to tell an understandable story, can help business owners make more strategic decisions. I myself learned just how critical this type of visual can be for businesses while working with Pineapple Consulting Firm to create this video.
Final Thoughts on the Visuals You Need for Your Business Now
To really get a message through so people remember it and take action, help them create it in their mind's eye. The best way to create critical visuals for your business is in creatively combining great visuals with a story. That is what can make you unforgettable!
Kery Knutson is a Storytelling Coach and Video Creator at UpLevel Consulting.
She’s also founder of FindProCoaches.com, a FREE directory site for coaches to help them get found online and make running your coaching business easier by providing digital products.