The Interactive Image (Part 1 – The Presenter’s image)

To make our communications more effective, we need to shift our thinking from ‘What information do I need to convey?’ To ‘What questions do I want my audience to ask?’
— Chip Heath

When using the image as an illustration, the presenter assigns meaning to the image, as discussed in our previous blog The Skilful Use of Images. In contrast, when using the ‘interactive image’ method the audience assigns a meaning to an image. There are three methods of the interactive approach:

1.       Presenter’s image – Audience’s meaning

2.       Audience’s image – Audience’s meaning

3.      Common image – Audience’s meaning

The strength of these forms of the ‘interactive image’ is involving the audience, because asking an audience to assign meaning to an image does four things:

  • Gets them involved in the content of your presentation
  • Develops their understanding of your content
  • Helps uncover issues
  • Enables the presenter to understand and direct discussion

For the interactive image approach to work, the presenter must assure participants that they will not be judged for their choice. This simply means saying, “Any image can mean anything to anyone. So just pick images that you believe represent the topic. We will not judge you for your choice – but we will be curious to hear the reasons behind it.”

In this blog we will look at the first method of the interactive approach: The Presenter's Image - Aud

In this first method of the interactive image, the presenter chooses the image and asks the audience to assign a meaning. This approach is useful for priming an audience to receive information, such as, the company’s policies or a customer service model.

There are many possible interpretations of images, but there are usually several obvious ones. Consider the following example; you have been asked to present your company’s 5-point customer service charter to a group of new employees.

While the charter is not changeable, the audience has an opportunity to get involved and to apply their ideals. This increases retention, and increases the probability the audience will recognise the real-life situation and act appropriately.