Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words

by Dean Hybl

Even before the text that accompanied the image popped up on my screen, the picture of a stock broker with his face imbedded in his hand told me all I needed to know. Things were definitely not going well.

wallstreet.jpg

For me, this image taken during the biggest one-day fall ever for the Stock Market was just another reminder of how powerful and memorable pictures can be when trying to illustrate a point.

If you think about 9-11, Hurricane Katrina, the assassination of JFK, Dewey vs. Truman, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, or just about any other major event in our history, there is always an image, or series of images, that perfectly captures the moment and instantly pops to our mind to bring back the emotion of that event, even as the passage of time blurs some of the other details.

In working with clients to develop and convey messages about their products or accomplishments, it is important to remember that sometimes images can tell the story much more effectively than words. Whether creating PowerPoint presentations, print collateral or Web site pages, visual images are an important component of your messaging.

I once worked with a presenter who had a rule of at least one photo and no more than a dozen words on each slide. Instead of using printed words to explain a point, he preferred keeping the audience engaged through the visuals and expanding through his own words.

As a former journalism major, I tend to like using words to ensure I get my message across, so seeing photos like the one from Wall Street is a great reminder for me that without visual images, words are little more than ink on a page.

(Photo Credit: Richard Drew, Associated Press / September 29, 2008)

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