In a single year, the popularity of infographics rose to 62 percent, according to the Content Marketing Institute, and its popularity continues to rise. More than 65 percent of the population says they’re visual learners, and that includes the audience that will be enthralled by your future presentation. The utilization of infographics for presentations can take your business presentations to the next level. They have worked for brands all over the world, and they can work for you, too. Adding an infographic to your presentation can help you streamline your project and show off your creative side. This improves your overall presentation and makes a good impression with your superiors.
Not sure how to start using infographics for presentations? Discover these ideas.
Image via Flickr by Het Nieuwe Instituut
Does your presentation really need an infographic? Couldn’t you just get by with spreadsheets and graphs? Well, of course you could, but your presentation is too important to be forgotten, so you need something to spice it up. And by spice it up, we mean to provide the ingenuity that your business deserves.
Infographics are relatively simple, poster-like images that display data and information in a far more interesting way than a drab spreadsheet could. They allow you to condense a large amount of information, so your audience can easily understand and digest it. It allows you to get your most important ideas across in a manner that people will remember.
Infographics come in all shapes and sizes, which means there’s a type of infographic out there that will fit perfectly in your presentation. Maybe you go with the timeline infographic to show your company’s evolution, or you use a fancy pie chart to illustrate data related to your target demographic.
When you use infographics, you guarantee higher audience engagement and retention. If your infographics work well enough in a presentation setting, you may also be able to use them as content for your company’s website.
While preparing for your upcoming presentation, you likely dug up a huge amount of research. The first step is organizing all the rich discoveries you made along the way. Start by sifting through your findings and identifying core points. Separate those from supporting details, and make sure you draw attention to key data in your infographic. You can still provide supporting information, but it may be better to include it as written text or in an oral presentation.
But how can you know what data to keep and what to ditch? Start by establishing a clear objective that you can use as a measuring post when assessing your research. With every chunk of information, ask yourself if it contributes to your goal. A good practice is to try describing the data with one word that captures its essence.
Next, draft an outline. This will help you see what supporting information will be necessary to prove your points and connect one point to another to facilitate a smooth flow. This will also aid in determining what information is important to your presentation and what can be left on the sidelines.
While working through this crucial prioritization process, always keep your audience in mind. Allow its experience and needs to guide your decisions. If your audience is less familiar with ideas fundamental to your presentation, you may need to start by summarizing key terms. If your audience is full of peers and colleagues, you can skip summaries and go into presenting statistics and groundbreaking information. Consider what will benefit your unique audience most.
You use infographics because you want to get the most out of their visual representation. It can be tempting, however, to cram as much information as possible onto the graphic. All that information, no matter how useful you may think it is, will quickly overwhelm your audience and make the most important points more difficult to absorb. This requires you to put your design skills to the test and present the most important information in an engaging way without having it become a distraction.
You can prevent overwhelming your audience by establishing a clear hierarchy in your design. Make your most important points big and bold while making auxiliary information smaller. Just make sure everything is readable, which also means avoiding crazy fonts. Keep it simple. Don’t be afraid of white space, either. Your audience will appreciate you giving their eyes a break, and white space can also help emphasize importance by drawing the eyes to the next big subject.
Another great benefit of using infographics for presentations is that they provides a simple and engaging means of illustrating data. You need that data as evidence to support whatever your claims may be. The challenge becomes how to present that data in the clearest possible way while also engaging your audience. The first thing you should do is label everything. When you’re presenting a hefty collection of data, labels will create separation and clarification.
Your presentation can also get confusing and unclear when you seem to pull statistics out of nowhere. Just as you should create a visual hierarchy that guides the audience’s eyes from one point to the next, your presentation should also tell a story and connect the dots so there’s no room for confusion. Let your data determine how you communicate this order. If you’re comparing two sets of data, set them side by side so their relationship is clear. If you’re communicating a progressive change in data, consider using a timeline.
Timeline infographics are perfect for telling a story that took place over a period of weeks, months, or years. Maybe you want to illustrate the history of your company or how a product has changed over time. As long as you do them correctly, timelines are easy to follow because there’s a natural flow to them. That flow will help your audience follow along and make your data easier to digest.
The strength of a timeline, however, can also be what makes it difficult to use them effectively. You can provide interesting information in a relatively small space, but that space restriction means you need to carefully pick what you include. You won’t be able to have paragraphs of text at each point in your timeline, so place text at the most important points and explain the rest in other ways.
Maybe you need to show your audience how your company is measuring up to the competition. A comparison infographic is perfect for this job. With it, you can place information and data side by side so your audience can see precisely how your business stacks up. You can also use comparison infographics to compare an old business model, service, or product to an updated version, so your audience can see the pros and cons of such a change.
Comparison infographics have quite a bit of inherent flexibility. How you compare the two subjects (both in visual design and in the information you choose to present) is completely up to you. Just make sure that the distinction between your subjects is clear and that you have the categories of comparing information close to one another.
And when using a comparison infographic, always be honest in your representation. Don’t make a strawman out of your competition just to make your company look good. It’s as healthy to recognize where your company may be falling short as it is to applaud your strengths. A comparison infographic can be a call for improvement just as much as it can be a pat on the back.
This is likely the infographic that you’ll use most when giving a business presentation. With it, you can present significant data in a memorable manner. For instance, you may want to illustrate growth over the past year using a line graph, or you could use a pie chart to illustrate your consumer demographics.
Data visualization infographics can be flexible as well, so get creative with how you represent your information. You don’t need to go crazy, but creativity makes the information easier to remember. Say, for example, that you run an automobile dealership and you want to represent how many vehicles have sold in each model. You can use a bar graph to represent the information, but instead of black rectangles, the bar is a road with the model of the vehicle at the top of the bar. When getting creative, just remember to never sacrifice clarity and quality for pizzazz.
Process and how-to infographics function similarly to timeline infographics. Your audience will follow a line of progression from one point to another. Where a timeline infographic focuses on specific points in time, however, a process or how-to infographic places more emphasis on the events at certain points. Maybe you need to inform the rest of your company of changes that are coming to your buyer’s journey. Or maybe you’ve recently implemented a new software system in your business, and you need to teach your colleagues how to use it.
These infographics can condense complicated information into an easy-to-understand, streamlined progression. When you throw all the details into a complex process, it can quickly become overwhelming, but topics of the process and how-to infographics deliver the most important information. These infographics can also serve a double purpose: You can use them in your presentation, and you also may be able to post certain process and how-to infographics as content on your website, which will improve your SEO and provide a valuable resource to your audience.
You may not use these infographics in a presentation as frequently as these other types, but they can certainly be useful. A location or map infographic shares information tied to geographic locations. They often use heatmaps, color codes, and markers to represent data in the world, a nation, or even county. These infographics are excellent for representing demographic information, survey responses, and other statistics.
Using a location and map infographic, you can display to your audience, for example, the amount of sales by city across your state. With that data, you can point to areas where your company may not be getting the attention it deserves, and then focus marketing efforts in those problematic areas.
When making location and map infographics, it’s always better to display only one set of data. While you can sometimes show multiple data sets on other types of infographics, showing multiple types of data over a single map can be overwhelming to your audience.
A high-quality infographic may be just what you need for your next business presentation. With it, you can make your overall interaction more engaging, memorable, and clear. Just keep your purpose in mind, decide what information is most important, and impress your colleagues and superiors. So what are you waiting for? You have a presentation to get ready.