Today’s business world is drowning into PowerPoint slides - especially into the ones with too much information and bad design. It’s a pity since many business managers and executives are actually very good at illustrating ideas in a simple way: drawing sketches on flip boards during meetings. And usually those work well during meetings - but where do the drawings disappear afterwards? Why wouldn't they work in business presentations?
After meetings the same people usually turn the simplified sketches into corporate style complicated PowerPoint presentations; bullet point lists, too much text and various sized boxes because “the slides have to look professional”. In other words (to generalize just a bit) “the same as we've always done here.”
Unfortunately "professional looking" often means (in addition to boring...) increased amount of information and less simplicity causing audience to loose the key points. Creating presentations with the same sketches as in the meeting rooms, has many advantages - for example:
1. Differentiation. Very few people create sketched presentation and therefore these presentations stand out of the crowd. When it comes to business presentations, the crowd is at least 30 million presentations worldwide - each day. The differentiation happens inside organizations but even more if the presentations are shared in social media. Since the sketched presentations stand out of the crowd...
2. The audience remembers them better. According to a Stanford Business School study, whiteboard style visuals cause higher recall in favor of PowerPoint presentation especially in sales use. The drawings are also found to be more interesting and engaging even few days after having seen the presentation.
3. Learning by simplifying. Creating a sketched presentation is not just about delivering a different visual look. A good sketch forces the creator to really think what’s important and what’s not, and to be able to do that, one has to understand the substance. Simplifying complicated matters also takes the focus away from details and let’s the crowd concentrate on the essentials. Therefore sketches suit perfectly in situations where you have to illustrate the big picture; concepts, strategies, processes, dependencies etc.
4. It’s easy and fast. “I can’t draw” is the most used phrase when talking about sketching - and the most false answer. According to Dan Roam (the author of the book “The Back of the Napkin”) you only need to be able to draw six visual elements to create effective visuals - anyone can do that! Then again drawing stick figures and other simple elements with free hand is often way faster than finding the correct PowerPoint settings and styles.
Thanks to tablet devices and stylus pens, creating sketches has become both easy and cost efficient, since no extra drawing devices are needed. There are plenty of apps and software in the market for each operating system. Using an app for vector graphics allows one to even finalize the sketches with a computer making things even easier.
Since the technology is no longer an issue, the only barriers to climb are courage to try new things and discipline for some practicing.
In other words just the things that usually make things hard.
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