Slides that Don’t Make Sense
Most presentations disengage the audience. Bullet points give away too much; the audience feel no need to stay engaged to find out what ‘happens next’. Visual cognitive dissonance is a technique m62 use to make the audience want to know what happens next. Dissonance is a mental state of conflict or incompleteness; visual cognitive dissonance presents something visually that doesn’t seem to make sense at first glance. The audience look again – they want to work out what they are being shown. Surrealist art, jigsaw puzzles, or m62 slides.
Visual Cognitive Dissonance is a technique m62 use to counter the effect of Death By PowerPoint.
When presented with visual information, the audience block out the presenter while they assimilate the information. There are four possible outcomes from this process:
- I don’t understand this
- I understand this and I strongly agree
- I understand this and I strongly disagree
- Yes. So what?
The first 3 outcomes are useful to the presenter and the last is a predictor of boredom. Finding content that polarises audience opinion (options 2 and 3) is difficult and dangerous. Which leaves us with the first one, “I don’t understand this”.
At m62 we have designed over 6500 presentations and in excess of 225,000 PowerPoint slides and the one thing they have in common is that they do not make complete sense until the presenter either builds or explains them. This is Visual Cognitive Dissonance in practice.
Visual Cognitive Dissonance is a way of arousing the Reticular Activating System (RAS) in the brain, it compels the audience to engage with the presenter, which lets face it is a good start for a presentation.
6 Comments to Slides that Don’t Make Sense
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Colin Carr, Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust
I have never felt so confident giving a presentation – the coaching and rehearsing sessions we received were brilliant; it has completely changed the way that we, as a team, approach presentations. The graphics on-screen and the way that the team deliver presentations works extremely well – and the way that our speakers now command the room is outstanding.