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Visual Metaphors: 6 Effective Tips For Presentations

Mandy Schild, Present Savvy’s CEO, used Prezi Video to teach our students at TeachMePrezi about The Magic of the Metaphor and how to bring effective visual metaphors to Prezi presentations. Also, she shared some visual metaphor examples to understand the importance of visual aids.

What is a Visual Metaphor?

Metaphors are intuitive patterns of thoughts to make complex things easier.  A visual metaphor is effective because it helps your audience visualize your message on the presentation.

For example, Mandy uses Prezi Video to locate the audience in a timeline, using a visual aid to set the future in front and the past behind.

Visual Metaphor Example - Past and Future

Metaphors are also intuitive patterns for design. She explained how you can use objects as metaphors to describe a specific situation. The challenge is to think about intuitive things and use them as visual metaphors to tell your story.

For instance, she used a light switch as a visual metaphor to express that knowing is bright and unknowing is dark.

According to Marcos Xalabarder, a storytelling expert, there are three different ways to structure a presentation for agile storytelling. Read his article to learn how to organize your throughts and structure a successful presentation.

The main goal of a visual metaphor is to help your audience remember your content better. Prezi is full of visual metaphors within their templates. One of them is the well known “iceberg metaphor,” in which you see the tip with some elements but when zooming in, there are a lot more below the surface.

Get in touch with out team of designers, we can create a full framework for all your presentations following your brandbook.

Bullet Point and Presentations

Mandy Schild stated the bullet point presentations are terribly ineffective and disengaging to your audience. She affirms that many companies are making a mistake putting visuals and text on the presentation that are not even linked to each other. So, she challenges us to make our presentations even better by using visuals metaphors to guide the audience through the presentation.

How to integrate Smart Visuals into Presentations?

Mandy explained that presenting is so much more than creating a stack with bullet points; it’s about challenging yourself to think about intuitive metaphors and make your message memorable to your audience. 

She suggested using nature’s metaphors that may be familiar to your audience, for instance, using a rough sea to describe a dangerous situation. A good exercise could be to play with intuitive patterns to ensure that smart visuals are integrated into your presentations.

Prezi Present is a great tool to take your audience on a journey with you, and Prezi Video is the innovative feature to do it remotely. There are several Prezi templates that you can use to tell your story with great metaphors. For instance, a template with mountains can be a great visual metaphor to describe strategies because mountains mean climbing, goals, and effort.

We are specialized in presentation design and speakers coaching, get in touch with our team to have an open conversation around your project.

6 Tips for Effective Visual Metaphor in your Presentations

Here are some tips and tricks that Mandy shared with us to effectively use visual metaphors.

1. Keep it Simple!

Make the right moves to be sure your audience understands your message, using simple metaphors. The purpose of a metaphor is to clear up concepts, so if it takes you a long time to explain a connection between two concepts, use another comparison.

2. Be Original!

A cliché is always a metaphor, but a metaphor doesn’t always have to be a cliché. Challenge yourself and don’t fall into a metaphor that everybody is using; if you are original, you will engage your audience.

3. Be Relevant!

Link your concepts with metaphors. Surprise your audience at the end of the presentation showing the big picture to feel like an “aha moment.” It’s all about interacting with them and reaching a conclusion together.

4. Think Strategically!

Think about the importance of the metaphor, not everything that you share needs to be a comparison. Use metaphors strategically to emphasize a concept.

5. Use Emotions!

To be memorable, consider; What do you want them to get away with? Emotions usually help your audience remember the message, and metaphors help to get those emotions deeper. Use sensory experiences in a metaphor, such as sight, feeling, scent, taste, or hearing.

6. Target your Audience!

Use metaphors that will be relevant to the public to increase effectiveness. Who are you talking to? And what message do you want to get across? Mandy suggests not using an example from their industry because you will usually get a lot of resistance.

This article was originally published at TeachMePrezi on March 5, 2021.