Why Politics Needs PowerPoint Presentation Design

Politics is a complicated business. It requires the ability to take complex ideas and make them easy to understand for diverse audiences.

That’s the idea at least.

It’s not often achieved in politics these days. Issues like healthcare and what each side wants to do with it aren’t easily distilled into sound bites. The GOP Congressmen and women who are facing angry constituents in town halls across America, trying to sell the idea of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), know this all too well.

But there is a solution to the problem: more visuals.

We are fast becoming an image-based population that prefers the efficiency of visuals over words more and more. We love the convenience of visuals, for example, texting an emoji of a little yellow face with steam coming out of its ears is a lot faster and easier than typing out: “I’m trapped in traffic and going to be late for the biggest presentation of my life that I’ve spent the last six months preparing for!”

Google gets it. That’s why they are developing technology to allow us to search the internet using pictures rather than words.

At eSlide, we think politicians should follow the crowd and start using more visuals to get their points across. And great PowerPoint presentation design can help them do it. Visuals help distill vast mountains of info (think Congressional Budget Office reports on the ACA) quicker and easier than words alone.

Scott Berinato, author of Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations, gives an example from Boeing’s playbook:

“At Boeing the managers of the Osprey program need to improve the efficiency of the aircraft’s takeoffs and landings. But each time the Osprey gets off the ground or touches back down, its sensors create a terabyte of data. Ten takeoffs and landings produce as much data as is held in the Library of Congress. Without visualization, detecting the inefficiencies hidden in the patterns and anomalies of that data would be an impossible slog.”

Good visual content cuts through all of the data and gets to the point; something we all wish politicians would do. So whether it’s winning an election or securing a big contract, image-based communication is more likely to get the job done.

For one thing, we understand visuals faster than we do words alone – up to 60,000 times faster.

And we learn better with images too. According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of us are visual learners, so we’re more likely to comprehend information conveyed through PowerPoint presentation design than if we’re simply listening to someone read off a teleprompter.

We’re also more likely to remember information that is conveyed as an image; and that’s something every politician wants – to be remembered.

PowerPoint presentation design is the perfect medium for conveying visual messages. Each slide is a new opportunity to visualize a key point. But be wary of using visuals that aren’t effective or you run the risk of confusing your audience and turning them off. Case in point: when House Speaker Paul Ryan attempted to explain his version of the GOP’s new healthcare bill via a poorly designed PowerPoint he faced a skewering from the Twittersphere because of his poor use of the software’s visual tools.

Four recent special Congressional elections prove that this is no time for either side to be making assumptions about their futures. Those safe GOP seats remained in Republican hands but only by slim margins. Before the 2018 mid-terms, both sides would do well to fully embrace visuals as part of their communication strategy.

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