Visual Storytelling: Creating More Persuasive Presentations | Susannah Shattuck | Skillshare

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Visual Storytelling: Creating More Persuasive Presentations

teacher avatar Susannah Shattuck, Content Marketing Manager at Prezi

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction to Class


    • 2.

      What is visual storytelling in presentations?


    • 3.



    • 4.

      SpaceX: The Investor Pitch


    • 5.

      Quarterly Report: Presenting Quantitative Results


    • 6.

      AgriMORE: The Sales Pitch


    • 7.

      The Mathematics of Love: The Conference Keynote


    • 8.



    • 9.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Join Prezi's Susannah Shattuck for a 60-minute dive into using the power of visual storytelling to create more compelling presentations.

Bite-sized lessons

  • define visual storytelling
  • show why it's essential for a compelling presentation
  • demonstrate core principles through 4 real-world examples
  • provide frameworks for transforming your own key messages into visual metaphors

This class focuses on the structure and strategy for giving your audience a visual analogy for understanding your ideas — which means you don't need any design or art experience to add this core skill to your professional toolkit. And, while you're welcome to use Prezi, the lessons in this class apply to any presentation software you'd like to use.

This class is perfect for entrepreneurs, professionals, marketers, content strategists, and everyone who needs to hook, persuade, and resonate with an audience.


Prezi is presentation software that uses motion, zoom, and spatial relationships to bring your ideas to life and make you a great presenter. For more on Prezi, check out their Skillshare class, Getting Started with Prezi.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Susannah Shattuck

Content Marketing Manager at Prezi


Susannah is the Content Marketing Manager at Prezi. She is a creative marketer who is passionate about media and technology, and who believes in the power of culture to change the world.

At Prezi, Susannah manages all social media, creates and curates content, develops and manages all marketing campaigns, and manages content for Prezi's company blog, which includes sourcing, writing, editing, and all visual assets for articles ranging from case studies to content marketing-driven thought pieces.

She holds a B.A. cum laude in history from Yale University, and previously participated in the Humanity in Action Fellowship Program as one of forty Americas selected to study human rights and minority rights alongside students from around the world.

See full profile

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1. Introduction to Class: I'm Susanna. I'm the Content Marketing Manager here at Prezi, and I spend my entire day trying to help people create better presentations. Prezi is a presentation software that allows you to break free from the linear progression of slides and really explore this visual canvas and tell people a visual story with your presentation and that's what today's class is all about, how to use visual storytelling to tell your message more effectively. So, visual storytelling, you might be thinking, "This sounds like a buzz word. What does that actually mean?" I'm going to be explaining to you how you can translate your ideas into images, and then how you can use those images to effectively communicate your ideas to a group of people, whether you're giving a live presentation or you're sending them a deck that you want them to look through on their own. I'm going to be taking you through four different real-world examples, and taking you through the entire process from the moment you find out that you have to give a presentation on a certain topic to finally constructing your deck. So this class will be especially useful for anybody who's giving a high-stakes presentation where you really want to convince somebody on the other end to do something. So for example; entrepreneurs pitching their business, freelancers trying to win new clients, sales people who are trying to sell their products in a very crowded space. Anybody who wants to stand out from the crowd and really tell a compelling message that persuades the person on the other end to take action, you will benefit from this class. The project for this class is going to be to create your own presentation that uses visual storytelling to tell your message. So, it's going to be a project in three parts. The first part is to come up with the core messages of your presentation. This is going to depend on what your topic is, what your goals are, but come up with those core messages. Then, the second part is to translate those messages into visuals. This is where we're going to get down and dirty with the brainstorming and I'm going to be using a whiteboard showing you how I do that process. Then, the final step is to take those visuals that you came up with and actually structure them into a complete presentation. So, I'm going to be using Prezi to do that structuring process, but if you use a different tool you can totally follow along at home and and create a presentation of your own. If you could leave this class knowing only one new thing I would say that it's the idea that any message can be turned into a visual story. There is no such thing as too abstract a message to translate into visuals, and you might have to get a little bit creative to figure out how to represent the more abstract or complex ideas that you have visually, but it is possible, and I'm going to show you how. 2. What is visual storytelling in presentations?: So, before we really get into the nuts and bolts of how to do this, I wanted to give you guys a little background on what visual storytelling is, and really why you should care. Why you should build it into your presentations and your professional work. So, visual storytelling as I mentioned before is the translation of ideas into images and then the building of a story around those images that really takes people on a journey. Why is visual storytelling so important? Well, if you think back to how our ancestors evolved when we were a hunter-gathering society, we really were designed to remember our physical landscape. We weren't thinking in the context of bullet points and text, we were thinking in the context of the tree to the left or the mountain up ahead. So, as people had to remember, for example where to go to find food, they remembered based on their visual surroundings. So, this predisposition that really is biological towards visual cues, and particularly visual cues within the context of a larger landscape is something that you can take advantage of when you're presenting information so that your audience remembers it and understands it more effectively. Speed of processing is also something that's impacted by the presence of visuals versus text. We process images much more quickly than we process text. This is why most road signs with the exception of a couple really use visual cues as opposed to text-based cues to tell you what's happening. You recognize a stop sign probably first by the color and the shape and then you get close enough to see the text. This is also why we use a lot of symbols in our user interfaces. Our computer graphics are very symbol based. It's much easier for us to understand symbols quickly than it is for us to read a piece of text and then translate that into what it actually means in our minds. So again, if you're trying to convey a complex piece of information to an audience especially in a limited amount of time if you're giving a pitch or something that's going to be pretty quick, the more you can use visuals, the more quickly your audience is going to be on your same page. So, this is not just about coming up with the prettiest image that you can use to represent what you have to say, it's really about thinking about your whole presentation and how your images connect not only to each of your individual messages but then also to each other. So, one way to really quickly figure out if your visuals are really working together well is to apply something called the squint test to your presentations. So, the squint test basically says that, if somebody is using visuals effectively to tell a meaningful coherent story, then even when you squint at the presentation as a whole or at an individual slide, you'll still be able to identify the key pieces of information. So, for example, if you're talking about the campaign that you recently ran an success metrics, when you squint at your presentation, you should be able to see that there are a certain number of success metrics that stand out visually from the whole presentation and that follow a reasonable path. A presentation that doesn't pass the squint test is one where the hierarchy of visuals and information is not clear enough so that when you squint it looks like just a jumble of images and ideas and they're not actually organized into a meaningful structure. So, we'll go through specific examples to explain the squint test in action but basically, your structure should be so strong and visually powerful that even when somebody is squinting they can pick it up. The backbone to visual storytelling is really the visual metaphor. What do I mean by a visual metaphor? Well breaking it down, it's an image that is a metaphor for something that might be more abstract. So, the way that we use the symbol of a peace sign to be a metaphor for the more abstract idea of peace or the dove holding the olive branch in its mouth. Another example of a visual metaphor would be a mountain to represent the journey that you have to take towards the summit or a specific goal, or a diverging path to represent two choices that you could make. So, visual metaphors are a really simple way to translate something that might be more abstract and harder to understand into a concrete physical visual. There are a lot of different ways to come up with visual metaphors. I'm going to be showing you some of the brainstorming techniques that I like to use when I'm building presentations and thinking about visual storytelling, but there's no wrong way to do this. It's really about finding the visual or the idea that represents what you have to say the best. The most common visual metaphor that I see for presentations especially here at Prezi is the metaphor of a journey. Whether it's a journey down a road or up a mountain or up some stairs, the journey metaphor is a really great way to describe a process or describe steps that you have to go through because just like most of the stories that we tell especially myths and fairy tales that we tell to children, it's really based on a journey that involves obstacles, goals, and different points along the way. So, the journey metaphor works really well for a lot of different presentations that are based in time, in process, or that have certain steps that you want to cover in a certain order. Something that I hear a lot of people say is, "I'm not artistic or I'm not creative, I'm not a visual thinker." I think that those people are really allowing the design aspects of presentations to prevent them from using visual storytelling. The fact of the matter is that design is the very last piece of this puzzle and we're not even going to be getting into design in this course there are plenty of other courses that you can take that are all about how to design a beautiful presentation or a beautiful graphic. This course is really about how to use structure and visual structure to build a more compelling presentation, and even if you don't have any design skills, you can still use very basic black and white shapes that you create in clip art to tell a visual story. Design is really the icing on the cake, and this course is all about building the cake, building the structure which I think anybody can do regardless of what kind of design or software skills they have. 3. Audience: So first, I would like to talk about audience, because your audience is going to be a central part of the presentation that you're giving. Now, in the real worlds, your audience is going to mandate the topic that you have to present on. Either the organizer of the meeting or depending on what you're trying to get the audience to do will really dictate what you have to say, but it doesn't dictate how you have to say it. So, this is where you have to make some decisions. The key question that you need to answer as you're making this decision of how you're going to get your message across is, who is my audience and what are they here to hear me say? You really need to tailor your talk to your audience and their frame of reference if you want to be able to make an impact. Now, what do I mean by this? Well, in the context of visual storytelling, this means picking visual metaphors and picking a structure that's going to be meaningful to the people you're talking to. For example, if you're presenting to a group of financial advisers who are thinking in numbers all day, then visuals that follow the format of charts and graphs and more number-based visuals will resonate with them much more than that kind of visual would resonate with a group of, for example, painters or musicians who might be thinking in different terms. So, you really want to make sure that the metaphors you're choosing are going to be meaningful to the people you're sharing them with. In the class resource section, we actually have a PDF handout that you guys can all download to get yourself started, asking the right questions about your audience to understand what might resonate with them. The biggest piece of this is doing your research, and making sure that you understand who's going to be in that room, and why they're there and what they care about. So, there are a couple ways to do that research depending on the venue. If it's a relatively small group of people you're presenting to, and you know all of their names, then places like LinkedIn and Google are a great way to start getting to know who your audience is. It's a little bit like doing some friendly stocking, getting to know those people through their online presence. That can actually tell you a lot about what they're going to care about and what pieces of your presentation are going to resonate the most with them. If it's a larger group, like you're giving a keynote at a conference or you're talking to your entire company, then, you might want to do a little bit more broad research and talk to the organizers of the event to find out what the demographics are. For example, if you're going to a conference, see how much information you can get from the organizers about who actually purchase tickets, what areas they're working in, what they're coming to the conference to see. The more that you can find out that information, then the more you can tailor your talk to the things that are going to matter to them the most, which is really how you are effective on stage. So, there are four buckets of questions that you should be asking about your audience. The first bucket is, who are they? This would include demographic information, how many of them are there, and where they're coming from. The second bucket is, what might they care about? So, why are they there to see you give your talk? The third bucket is, what do they already know? So, if they're already experts in the fields that you're talking about, you might be able to go into a little more detail than if they're approaching this as beginners. Then the final bucket is, what do I want to leave them with? So, this is where you have to ask yourself, if they could only remember one thing from what I have to say, what is that thing? This could be the CTA to invest in your company, this could be the main takeaway from your large keynote presentation at a conference. This could be the one thing that you want them to know about your products, so that they'll think about purchasing it further down the line. So, you need to figure out what that one thing is and then all of those other questions that you asked about who your audience is, will help you figure out what message you can deliver so that that's the one thing they remember. I remember when I was giving one of my first presentations to the whole company here at Prezi, I was really excited because I was given the opportunity to talk a little bit more in detail about what I do, content marketing, in front of everyone. So, I got up there, and I started really diving into the numbers and diving into the details without giving people much of an overview of what content marketing actually is. Afterwards, I realized that my presentation would have been much more effective if I had approached it from a more beginner standpoint, because a lot of the people in the audience, not only were not working in content marketing, but were not working in marketing. So, they had very little understanding. My presentation was a little bit more detailed than it should have been had I really done the research on where my audience was coming from, and had I created something that was more tailored to people who were approaching this from a design, or engineering, or a finance background. So, it's really important to think about your audience, I know, first hand because there have been times when I haven't done it, and I've regretted it afterwards. That was a great learning experience, because now I make sure that no matter what kind of presentation I'm giving, and no matter how little time I have to put it together, I do even just a little bit of audience research. That could be as simple as asking the person who gave me the presentation what he or she thinks the audience is coming to hear. It's really important to do this research. I can't stress it enough. I feel very much more confident on stage when I know that my audience is going to be hearing what they came to hear. So, for those of you who are repurposing your presentations, you don't have a ton of time to customize things to each individual client or investor. There are a few really simple things you can do that can make it seem like your presentation is much more custom. A few of the things come from the design standpoint. One of the simplest things to do probably is just to tweak the colors or fonts of your presentation to match the branding of whomever you're presenting to, that's a really small, simple way to show your audience that you took the time to think about them. Another way to do it is to try to figure out what is most meaningful to your audience, and, while maybe your visual looks the same presentation of presentation, the way that you speak to that key part that you think is going to be more meaningful, you can customize. So, spend a little bit more time on the piece of your presentation that you think is going to be more valuable and change that depending on who you're talking to. Then if there is one part of your visual that you are going to focus on changing or tailoring to each individual presentation, really your hook, your CTA at the ends. The more customized you can make that, the more likely they are to take the actions. So, if there's an opportunity for you to include the company name in your visual with the CTA, you could just do a little simple find and replace and have a basic template for all your presentations where at the end, in your last frame or slide, it says, "Company name", and you just replace company name with whatever the name of your audience is, whatever the name of your potential client is. But the more customized you can make your conclusion, the more resonant you will be with your audience. So, once you've figured out who your audience is, what they care about, it's time to move on to coming up with your core messages and figuring out how they fit into your visual story. So, now we're going to dive into some really concrete examples, and I'm going to show you what I mean by translating ideas into images, into structure. We'll take it to the whiteboard now. 4. SpaceX: The Investor Pitch: The first example that we're going to be walking through today in terms of translating your presentation into a visual story is an investor pitch. This is pretty specific kind of presentation that a lot of you might have to give that explains what your company is, what you're trying to do, and why somebody should invest money in it to help you grow. Now, in the case of this example, I'm going to be looking at SpaceX. SpaceX is a company that a lot of people are familiar with, Elon Musk you might know him from Tesla and other entrepreneurial efforts he's done, has made this commitment to get people on Mars by 2050. SpaceX is the company that he's using to do that. And I'm going to explain in this video, how somebody trying to get an investor to invest in SpaceX might turn that story into a visual journey. Now, there's a three-step process that we're going to be going through in all of these examples that I'm going to lay out first here for you guys on the board. The first step is to write down the core messages of your presentation. Now, this is really important because this is going to help you determine what the key things that you need to translate into visual metaphors actually are. We are assuming here that you've already done all the background research on who your audience is, what they're coming to hear you say. You should already have a pretty clear idea of what your core messages need to be. Now, once you've written down your core messages the next step is to think about how to turn those into visual metaphors, how to represent them with visual images. This is a key step in helping you understand how you're going to tell a visual story instead of just a text-based one. Once you have your visual metaphors written down and you have an understanding of what visuals you might be interested in using to tell this story, the last step is to string them together into some sort of journey or structure that you can use to carry people through your presentation and this is the final step that really elevates your presentation from being just a collection of visuals shared in a slide or in a Prezzie, into something that's more of a story, more of a journey that your audience is really going to remember and be able to act on. This third step is in some ways the most important and it's also in some ways the hardest. We're really going to focus here on the structure step in all of these examples so that you can really see what I mean by stringing your visuals together into a story. Let's start with the core messages. Now, and this investor pitch, they're going to be a few things that you need to get across to convince someone to give you money. The first thing you want to talk about is just a basic description of your company. What does your company do? In this case, SpaceX, all about making space travel possible. I'm going to write down here space travel. Now, if your company was say Facebook, then here you might write down something like peer-to-peer communications or keeping in touch with your friends, but the point is that this is the bucket that's the base description of what the company does. Now, the next thing that your investors are going to want to know is where are you today, how many people are in your company, what is your current output, where are you as sort of a benchmark. Here, I'm going to put where we are today. Then, the last thing that investors want to know is where are you going, what are your goals and how do you plan on getting there because if somebody's investing in a company there's the expectation that they're going to get something for that investment. There's going to be some sort of return. Down here, I'm going to put down the goal of SpaceX, which is to reach Mars, to make this space travel feasible. Here, I'm going to write goals. Here are our core messages, now let's start to think about what visuals we could use to represent these. The first one, that's pretty easy, space travel. You can think of all kinds of space images I bet that represents space travel. You have spaceships, you have satellites, you have stars, you have planets. Over here in the visual metaphor category, I'm just going to put general space imagery. Now, we're getting into slightly harder categories of things to visualize. How do we visualize where we are today? Well, if we're sticking with this idea of space imagery, then we might want to start thinking about this as a journey. We are somewhere today and we want to get to somewhere in the future. I could imagine visualizing where we are today as something like being on earth, being where we are, having a rocket but not having any fuel, that's where the investment would come in. Here, I'm going to put earth, rocket. Now, the goals to go to Mars, this is going to be the end state. If we think about how to represent that in the context of our space imagery, we might actually want to visualize Mars and you have the rocket over there on Mars, and thanks to the investment which we could think about as sort of the rocket fuel, we've been able to reach our goal. You can also start to see how by doing this translation of our core messages into visual metaphors, we've started to map out a sort of structure, a very basic structure, of how our presentation might flow. Here we have a very linear journey, where we're going from point A to point B. So you can imagine that the structure in which we tell this visual story of traveling from Earth to Mars in a rocket fueled by investment money, will be a sort of linear journey through space. Through all that space imagery that helps people understand, what this company is all about. If I'm thinking about this visual metaphor of taking people on a journey from where we are, in Earth. I'll put Earth over here, and then we're going to take them to where we want to go, which is Mars. Going to put that up here. Now, whatever happens in between is going to be my presentation of what SpaceX could do with this additional investment. To represent that journey, we can use this rocket ship that we imagined being sort of the vessel in which the company is getting from point A to point B. In this way, the presentation consists of three core pieces. The first will be introducing where we are today, introducing the company. The second, will be talking about what that journey is and how to get to the last piece which is the ultimate goal. We have the beginning, which is where we are today as a company. The middle, the journey that we're going to have to take. The end, the ultimate goal, why somebody should invest in the company in order to achieve this mission. With this structure, you have a really great opportunity to tell the investors exactly what they're looking to hear. They want to know how you're going to get from where you are today to where you want to be, specifically with their help. You might be thinking this example is really easy because the company is all about space, that's very visual inherently, this step was pretty simple. Now, we picked this particular example to start with because it's a great way to illustrate how to create a basic structure with some easy ideas that everyone can understand pretty quickly. But for our next example we're going to be dealing with a much more abstract central topic. This step might be a little bit more challenging and I'll explain to you how you can go about coming up with visual metaphors for a more abstract and less inherently visual topic. 5. Quarterly Report: Presenting Quantitative Results: So, for the second example, I want to walk through what doing an internal presentation that you're going to give to your company, whether you are giving it to your team or your executive board or your managers, how you might present some internal results while still using visual storytelling. Now, I think results-based presentations, where people are presenting data is a huge opportunity area for people to use visual storytelling that really people aren't taking advantage of enough. Visual storytelling is a great way to make data more understandable for your audience, and to really help them figure out exactly what your numbers mean. Not only in relation to one another, but in the context of the big picture. What does this mean for your business, for your project, for your goals? So, let's start with the basic idea of a campaign results presentation. So, your core messages when it comes to presenting results for a campaign, you want to talk about what you did, what happened as a result, what the results were. Then, the last thing you want to talk about is what the consequences are for your business? How does that actually impact? So, as you see here in this category, your core messages are really focused around a process that's going to result in some final outcome. Now, hopefully, your outcome is good and you can talk about how this process actually resulted in growth, whether that's growth of your business or growth of your social media followers or whatever the goal was. So, now, I'm going to walk through a couple different visual metaphors that could be used to represent a process. We'll go through and we'll see which ones work for what reason and which ones don't. So, one visual metaphor that you might be thinking of based on the last example that I talked through is some metaphor of a journey. A journey works well for something where you have steps that you did and results that happened. So, I'm going to write up here journey. One particularly great way to represent growth on a journey is to talk about reaching some summit or peak. You have the metaphor of a journey up a mountain where you can talk about the steps that you took along the way, the obstacles that you encountered along the climb and celebrate reaching the summit. So, one option for a journey is the mountain metaphor. Now, the one challenge with this journey metaphor is that it is something that ends, something where when you reach the summit, you're done. So, that could be great depending on what your campaign is but if you want to represent some continual process, a journey isn't necessarily the best way to go. Now, if you're thinking along the lines of growth, another great metaphor that I love to turn to for these things is the metaphor of plant life. I think, the growth that you can see from a seed to a fully grown plant is a great metaphor for working on a project, planting the seeds, watering it, continually putting in care and progress. Then ultimately seeing the results of fully grown plant. This could be a great metaphor for representing what you did, you planted the seed, you watered it, what happens? The actual growth which you can represent by the size of the plant to be significant according to the numbers that you have in your data. How that impacts your business. Again, by showing the size of the plant and showing how this is something that's continually going to be taking place and that you can continue to plant the seeds on and see renewed outcomes. Plant growth. So we've landed on a visual metaphor that we think will work really well for this. But now how do we turn it into a structured presentation? This is where you might be tempted to throw in a lot of charts and graphs and then just put some pretty pictures of plants around them. That's not the best way to tell this story. I am a firm believer in charts and graphs as a tool for analysis, but I think that when it actually comes to presenting results, there are better ways to go about it than just pasting all of your Excel charts into your presentation. So, if you're talking about how your campaign actually was able to generate leads over time, sales leads for your sales team, then you might start thinking in terms of axes. So, you have the time axis down here and the leads axis up here. Now, that looks really familiar, right? That's something that a lot of us understand. Now, instead of just throwing in a bar graph to show what you did, we're actually going to put this metaphor of plant growth into this graph so that people can have a better understanding of what your numbers actually mean. So, how does that work? Well, when you first started the campaign, you're leads were probably somewhere down here, pretty low. So, the place where we're going to put the seed for our plants will be down there, at the beginning of the project. Then, after time and after your efforts of watering or conducting the campaign, your leads were perhaps here, so you have a little seedling that has grown. Thanks to your watering it. When you talk about how you are able to initially grow your leads to this level, you can talk also about the inputs that you did to actually reach that point, the water that you added, the sunlight that was shining down. Then, finally, at the end of your campaign, your leads are all the way up here. You did a great job, you brought in so much new business. So, finally, your little plant has grown into a big tree. Here, now, you have this three-step journey from your campaign, from the beginning to the end that pretty accurately represents your actual data, that shows how you were able to achieve a certain amount of growth over a certain period of time. You have the opportunity to add details like a water drop or a little bit of sunshine to zoom in on different parts of your campaign, of your activities that actually were able to contribute to this growth. You might be thinking, "Okay, this is great for when things are going well, but what if things went not so well? What if I have to report results that that didn't result in this beautiful lead generating tree being grown?" Well, I would say that in that case, you might want to rethink your core messages, because you don't want to give a presentation where the takeaway is that you or your team messed up and everything is terrible now. You always want to leave your audience with some hope for the future, so to speak. So, I would say that, you can still talk about what you did and what happens, but the last piece of your core messages, if things didn't go so well, should really be about learnings and what you learned from those mistakes are those challenges that you faced that will help you do better in the future. So, in that case, the mountain journey metaphor might work better because it is a one time thing so to speak. You're telling your audience, we took this journey towards a goal and we actually faced all these challenges on the way. We faced a steep climb, we faced a rock slide, there are a bunch of different metaphors that you could use to represent the challenges. Then, at the top, the summit, instead of being the numbers that you're able to achieve is actually the learnings that you're able to gain that will allow you to see the next steps. The future, the problem-free next campaign that you're going to run. 6. AgriMORE: The Sales Pitch: The third example we are going to be talking about today is the example of a sales pitch. Now you might be wondering how is a sales pitch all that different from an investor pitch. Well, a sales pitch has a very different audience. Investors care all about the company and the people who are leading it. A customer on the other hand who is receiving a sales pitch is much more interested in how that product or service is actually going to impact their lives. How it's going to solve a problem that they have or make their lives better in some way. So, instead of framing the whole presentation in the context of where the company is and where the company's going, you're actually going to need to frame the whole conversation around your customer and how your service or product is going to help them. So, let's talk through some of the potential core messages in a sales pitch. The first core message is what your product is. You should definitely have some piece that's really explicitly about your product. Now the only reason why this would matter is if your product solves some sort of problem for your potential customer. So, the next core message is going to be the problem that it solves. Then the last piece is how that it solves that problem. So, if you think about it this is the tool, this is the problem and this is the result when you use the tool against the problem. So to put this in more concrete terms, I've decided to create a sales pitch a sample sales pitch for a food distribution company. So, if you have a food distribution company then your product is basically transportation. It's helping food get from the producers to the consumers. So, in this case, we're definitely going to have some aspect of our visual metaphor be transportation. Now what's the problem that a food distribution company is solving? It's the problem of location right. It's the fact that the producers of the food, the growers, the livestock owners are really far away from the people who are actually going to be eating the food. So, in this case, I would say that a big aspect of our visual metaphor should be something around location, distance, geography. Then the last piece the result is that the consumers who are looking for the food actually are able to access it, right? That's the solution that good food distribution and good transportation solves. So, in this case, we want the result to be really tasty looking food. So, you might be thinking how can I fit all of these different visual metaphors into one story. Now on the first two examples, we really did create a single visual arc that was continuous that told the story. For this example, I'm going to show you how you can use visual storytelling to create a couple different chapters so to speak of your story and I'm going to show you how you can use visuals as separate pieces of the same whole without necessarily creating one continuous journey. I'm actually going to lead in my structure with the solution, with the food because I want my audience to understand what's at stake here. I want them to see why they should care from the very beginning. So, here I'm actually going to outline in my structure a couple different frames to represent the different pieces of the story that I'm telling. So, this will be the order in which people see these sort of visual stories. So, here I've just put some really basic images of delicious food. This is the first thing that I want my audience to see. I want their mouths to be watering before I even talk about the problem that we're solving. So, the second thing that I want people to see in this presentation has to do with this problem. Has to do with this complicated geography that is resulting in a great distance between the producers and the consumers of the food. Now one of the most powerful ways I think to tell a visual story when it comes to showing distance is to show people distance at scale and to help them understand the context of space. So, in this situation, I'm going to start with a map of the world and then I'm going to put into context the places where the consumers and the producers are. So, we've got some farmers over here in Senegal. We've got the main headquarters of the grocery store chain over here in Italy and then we have some consumers all the way over here in northern Europe. Now our company's solution is to connect all of these different players. So, at each step along the way, I'm going to zoom in to show how those different places connect. In this case, it's a boat ride. In this case, it's a plane ride and by showing my audience all of those places in context, they really get a better sense of the scale and the magnitude of the problem that we're solving, which is going to make them much more interested in purchasing our solution. So, then the final step is to really pull back and help them understand this call to action 'Purchase our product'. So, in this case, we have the map of the world and we have the food together and then down here, I'm going to put a CTA. So, here you can see there's a basic flow to the story. We start with the awesome outcome that everybody wants to have, we then go into show why it's so hard to have that awesome outcome and in the last step, we've united these two problem and solution and tied them to our products our service in this case, food distribution. So, we've used this structure of telling sort of separate stories and then zooming out to show them together in the context of a sales presentation but you could do this in any type of presentation. Our designers here at Prezi use this tactic all the time to tell really complex stories that have a lot of different moving parts and then bring it all together within the same context as you do here in the last frame. 7. The Mathematics of Love: The Conference Keynote: For our last example, we're going to look at what it might look like to use visual storytelling in a conference keynote presentation or a big presentation that you're going to be giving to a huge crowd of people. So, I decided to specifically look at a presentation that's one of my favorite Ted Talks. It's called The Mathematics of Love by Hannah Fry, and it's all about how statistics and math tie into romantic relationships. Now, I don't want to spoil the talk for you, but under core messages here, we are going to look at the three main things that Hannah's tying together. So first, we have this idea of math. She does a great job of making the math and her talk really easy to understand. So, we want to make sure that the visuals we use are pretty clear about that as well. Then, the second topic is obviously love, romance because the core of her presentation is about how these two things relate, and then her talk is framed around three core ideas. So, as we're thinking about visual metaphors and structure, we want to make sure that we're tying math together with romance in a structure that works for three points. Now, if you're giving a talk around different topics with five points, that's totally fine. The same process is very adaptable, but this is what we're working with for Hannah's talk. Now, one of my favorite things to do is to do a keyword search. So, typing into Google Image Search just a bunch of different keywords that I can think of related to the various topics of my presentation. So, when I was doing a keyword search for this particular presentation, I started by searching math and then I thought mathematical equation, function, graph, and from there I started seeing some really interesting graphs and functions and equations that got me thinking about the trajectory of an arrow because they're sort of parabolic. They look very similar. Then, that got my brain cells firing about Cupid and how Cupid fires arrows which is connected to love. So, based on searching for a bunch of different keywords and just looking at what came up, I thought about the possibility of using a visual metaphor about the trajectory of one of Cupid's arrows and the function that it forms on a graph. So, we end up with this kind of funny Cupid equation. Now, you might be thinking, okay, that's all good and well, but how did the three points come into play? Well, this is going to be tied into the structure that we ultimately create from this Cupid equation, so to speak. So, we want to make sure that whatever visual structure we create has space for three points, and has a flow that includes three stopping points, three zoom-ins, three slides, whatever tool you're are using. So, let's move on to structure and see how this actually works in action. So, any equation has axis, right? Now the trajectory of an arrow will look something like this. Now, this right now is doing a pretty good job of representing math, but how do we bring the romance into it? Well, this is where Cupid comes into play. Here's a little Cupid over here, firing his arrow, and this is the trajectory that the arrow is going to take to hit somebody's heart. So, now you have a really basic visual metaphor that's tying together two key ideas, but how did the three points come into play? This is where I'm going to leave space within my presentation in the context of Prezi, it means adding three frames, but at another tool it would maybe mean adding three slides. So, this will be point number one, this will be point number two, and this will be point number three. With each point, I move a little further along the trajectory of the arrow, so that ultimately I start over here and I end over here, and this is my whole presentation. So, that's a really basic way to represent this structure and you can see what it looks like when sort of wireframed in Prezi. But, with a conference presentation, you might be interested in making something that's a little bit more designed, that's more visual with punchier colors because let's remember you're probably going to have to hold the attention of a roomful of people who are either falling asleep right after lunch, or getting ready to leave for a happy hour. So, conference presentations are a beast of their own in the sense that you really need to work on the visuals to make them very engaging. So, you can see, once you have a basic structure, you can go as wild as you want with a design. But, having that structure makes it a lot easier to build something amazing and to keep everything in order at the same time. 8. Delivery: We've covered a number of different examples of how to build visual storytelling into different types of presentations. But now we're going to take a look at how you can actually deliver those presentations in the real worlds and how you should factor that delivery into building your visual aid. So, depending on how you're going to deliver your presentation, you need to keep a few things in mind when actually building your presentation. There are two primary modes of delivery. The first is in-person. That's what we think of most often when we think of delivering a presentation. Then the second is actually sending your deck to somebody via email, or embedding it on your website, or putting it somewhere else where people are going to be consuming it online, and you're not going to be there to walk them through the information. So, depending on which modes of delivery you're planning on using, you're going to need to build your deck in a slightly different way. Now, if you're building a presentation for online consumption, that is to be viewed by somebody with or without you present to explain it, you're probably going to want to fill in some of the gaps that you would have said. So, putting text headlines, for example, in each of the different sections of your presentation and adding a little bit more explanation for what your visuals, what your data means. Now, if you're delivering a presentation in-person, all of that text is actually what you're going to be saying. So, you want to make sure that you cut out anything that isn't absolutely necessary text-wise in your presentation, and you want to make sure that your visuals serve as more of a compliment to what you're saying rather than just a mirror image of what you're saying. People are going to be able to read what's on your slides much more quickly than you're going to be able to say them. So, if your presentation, if your visual aid basically just repeats what you're saying, your audience is actually going to lose engagement with you very quickly and they're going to stop paying attention to what you're talking about. The last thing is to make sure that all of your visuals are large enough for the space in which you're going to be presenting. If you're presenting to a very large conference room, you want to make sure that you're using big bold visuals. Whereas if you're presenting in a smaller meeting room or a one-on-one setting, that's less of a concern. So, again, make sure that you're tailoring your visual aid to the mode of delivery that you're using and don't let your visual aid distract from what you have to say by just putting down everything, all of your main points in text bullet points. The other thing to keep in mind when you're delivering your presentation is actually using your visual aid to your advantage. A lot of this has to do with the way that you're going to stand and present it. So, you want to make sure that when you're delivering your presentation, you have either a clicker or some way of advancing your presentation without being trapped behind a podium or your computer. One way that I love to do this is actually, I use my phone. Prezi has an iPhone and Android app that allows you to turn your phone into a clicker essentially for your presentation. You can check out our class resources for more information on how to do that, but that's a really easy way to make sure that no matter where you are, you're ready to present and you don't have to be trapped behind your computer the entire time. If you're repurposing a presentation that you gave live for online consumption and you don't necessarily want to add back a lot of text or additional context, one really easy thing that you can do is add a voice over to your presentation so that it's almost as if you're there presenting it to the person who's watching it online. Another great thing to do whenever you're sending somebody a presentation, regardless of what format you're using, is to send them some basic instructions for how to access it. So, with Prezi, it's really easy. You can just send them a link, but make sure that they understand how to click through your presentation and that they know what to look for. When it comes to giving live presentations really well, there are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind, especially when working with visual aids. So, the first thing is to make sure that you are standing and giving off the right body language to your audience. So, it's really up to you, your personal preference, how you want to position yourself in relation to your visual aid. Personally, I really like to stand next to it, and I actually, depending on what space I'm in, like to move around a little bit as I'm delivering different parts of my presentation to give my audience some visual cues not only from the screen, but from my own body language to break up what I'm talking about. Another thing to think about are hand gestures. Hand gestures are really important, especially when you're dealing with a large visual aid and you want to draw people's attention to certain parts of it. So, I find that when I'm presenting with a really big screen, it's actually really distracting if I'm constantly turning back and looking at the screen and trying to figure out what I'm going to say to look at that. So, instead of looking at the screen to signify that my audience should pay attention to that, I actually use my hands to gesture and that way, I'm able to stay front and center with my audience and keep my focus on them, but I'm also letting them know that they need to be looking at something that's going on on the screen behind me. The last thing to think about, which I briefly touched on, is eye contact. Again, you don't want to be turning around and constantly talking with your back to your audience. It just doesn't work. So, make sure that you're maintaining eye contact with your audience as long as you're speaking. If you need for some reason to look back at your visual aid maybe to remember what you're going to say next or to remind yourself how it relates to what you're saying, just make sure that you stop talking and then come back and begin talking again after you've resumed looking at the audience. A lot of people get really nervous when they're delivering presentations. It's perfectly normal. I myself get nervous. It's natural human response, I think. But one thing that nervousness can do to a presenter is cause her to speed up, and that is the last thing you want to do, especially when you're presenting to a large audience. It can be very easy to lose track of what the presenter is saying if they're talking in a mile a minute and clicking through their presentation faster than anyone can actually register the information. So, when it comes to giving a live presentation with a visual aid, you want to make sure that you're moving through your presentation both with what you have to say and with clicking through your slides or your frames at a speed that is allowing your audience to actually take into account what you have on the screen and what you have to say. So, when in doubt, talk much more slowly than you would normally and click through your presentation much more slowly than you would normally. I can guarantee you that it will seem much faster to you onstage than it seems to your audience. The last thing to consider is making sure that you're providing your audience with enough context, especially when it comes to showing them the big picture versus the small details that we talked about a little bit in the various examples that I showed you. You want to make sure that you're not just zooming around from detail to detail without giving your audience the scope of what the big picture is. I would advise everyone to zoom out for every small detail that you zoom in on. So, that means that if you ever zoom in on a small detail within your larger structure, you're going to want to zoom out before going to a new detail. This will allow your audience to keep track of everything that you're talking about within context and also give them a frame of reference to understand the details that you're talking about. You've spent all this time putting together a visual aid that's going to tell your story most effectively, but if you don't pay as much attention to the delivery and how you're actually sharing that with the worlds, you're doing yourself a huge disservice. A lot of people put a lot of time and energy into building their presentation, but less time into making sure that they're going to be able to deliver it in the most compelling way. If I had one message for you in this video, I would say practice your presentation as much as you spent building it, and your visual aid is really there to back you up. So, if you've created something super compelling and you yourself are not confident or not sure of what you're saying onstage, it's just going to be a mismatch situation. But if you want to be really persuasive and compelling for your audience, you need to practice. 9. Final Thoughts: I'm so excited to see all of your presentations in the project gallery. If you haven't started, now is the perfect time to start. Feel free to use a presentation that you have to prepare anyway that's coming up, or if you don't have any ideas around that, feel free to tell the story of you. I mean, who knows it better than yourself? So, make sure that you come up with your core messages, you translate those into some interesting visual metaphors, and then you lay it out in a structure that actually takes your audience through a journey. If you have any questions or ideas, feel free to post in the project gallery and I or the other students in the class will get back to you and we're all very excited to see your work. If you want to take your visual storytelling skills to the next level, in the class resources section, I've actually included a PDF with some of my favorite resources, articles, presentations, videos that you can use to deepen your understanding of visual storytelling. If you actually want to learn how to use Prezi more effectively for your presentations, you can take the other Skillshare class that Prezi has, which is all about how to use Prezi to actually design a fully fledged presentation. My one hope for this class is that you have taken away the idea that visual storytelling is not only accessible, but it's also easy and it's something that you can do, regardless of how creative or artistic you feel. Visual storytelling is something that you can incorporate into any of your presentations. It really is as simple as just brainstorming a few visual metaphors based on your core messages. So, I hope that you feel confident to now go use visual storytelling in your work no matter how you want to use it. That's it, that's what we have. Feel free to jump in, create your own presentations and I can't wait to see what you guys come up with.