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From the desk of Steve Lowell, Master Speaker and Mentor to those who speak in public.

Preparing For a Powerful Delivery

Use More Pictures and Less Text

The pictorial superiority effect, or PSE, is a phenomenon caused by the fact that text and pictures are handled differently by the human brain.

Text is seen as a collection of tiny pictures, and the meaning of each letter has to be assessed and put into context with the adjoining letters in order to make a word, which requires neural functioning and some time. Pictures, on the other hand, require far less neural processing and have the added advantage of more easily engaging the emotions.

A series of tests referred to by John Medina in his book, Brain Rules, show that people could remember more than 2,500 pictures with at least 90 percent accuracy after several days post-exposure, even though they were exposed to the pictures for only about ten seconds. A year later, the accuracy rates had only dropped to around 63 percent.

According to Medina, if a presentation is delivered orally, your audience will remember about 10 percent of the information after seventy-two hours. If you add a picture, the retention level increases to 65 percent.

Pictures donít just dress up your presentation; they directly, and significantly, affect the measure of learning and information retention enjoyed by your audience.

So, whatís the lesson? Use more pictures and less text in your presentations.

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