Slidegenius, Inc.

Using Images to Control Your Audience

It’s safe to say that most people that went through elementary school have heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” What most people don’t know is exactly what those thousand words can make people do or think.

Some of the world’s most famous CEO’s are adopting an image-rich style when it comes to their corporate presentations. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and even Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer all jumped on the bandwagon. If these global business leaders are doing it, it must be effective.

Here’s an overused fact: the brain processes information more effectively when the information is expressed in both pictures and words in place of words alone. The process is called Picture Superiority Effect, and as overused as it may be, most people don’t genuinely understand the value in the statement and consequently don’t act on it.

Each of the aforementioned business leaders have continued to prove that image-rich presentations are powerful forces for helping audiences retain the information being presented. Here is a list of ways they use the Picture Superiority Effect to shape the way their audiences react to their presentations.

Use Images

  • to spark some confusion that you will resolve

Show a weird scenario that attracts the eye, but doesn’t fully explain itself. Then go on to explain it yourself.

  • to highlight a point through silliness. 

Laughter is always a great component of keeping your audience in an interested and open-minded state.

  • to tease your audience for your next slide

Always keep your audience guessing what is next. As soon as they think they found some predictability aspect to your sequence, they will zone out and think they already know what you are saying.

  • to visualize the abstract. 

Many business related concepts, more commonly financial ones, are difficult to grasp. Use images to clarify.

  • as a play on words.

Hearing and seeing an explanation of a certain concept will make it much more relatable. 

  • as a rhetorical ploy. 

Metaphors and analogies shown through images.

Gregory Berns said it best, “A person can have the greatest idea in the world— completely different and novel—but if that person can’t convince enough other people, it doesn’t matter.” Using images is a vital component of convincing your audience during you presentation. It really doesn’t matter what you are talking about. Images, like colors, music, and food, are universally understood and valued. Use them to your advantage!

Ill leave you with Jonathan Klein’s AMAZING TED talk about the power of images.


Gallo, Carmine. “Jeff Bezos And The End of PowerPoint As We Know It.” Forbes. September 7, 2012.

Pictures in PowerPoint.” Microsoft MVP Award Program Blog. April 23, 2012.

Stenberg, Georg. “Conceptual and Perceptual Factors in the Picture Superiority Effect.” 2006.