Imagery Matters

Earlier this week, I found myself in the bathroom of a large eye hospital in India. As I washed my hands, I looked up at the wall and found a poster reminding me not to waste water. I immediately turned the water off. No dawdling.

Why?

I’ve been in a lot of public bathrooms and I’ve seen a lot of signs with either just text (“Employees must wash their hands after using the bathroom”) or a combination of text and words, like this:

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None of those signs ever made me think twice about how long I spent washing my hands (or waiting for warm water to come out of the faucet).

In India this week, this is the sign that jolted me into action:

03062014 Imagery Matters 2

This poster, with very few words and just three photos was an amazingly powerful reminder to me that indeed I should not take this water for granted.

What does this have to do with training professionals and presentation materials? The imagery we use in our slides, in handouts, in job aids matters. A simple yet powerful image can truly move people to act, much more so than any words you can speak.

Have you ever been moved to action by imagery? Tell us about it in the comments section.

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