semantic reasonance for presentations

Semantic resonance: choose the right image for your presentation

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I propose an enigma: what happens with the next slide?

Let’s see it together.

The image is in high definition and not grainy; seems to be cut correctly and in proportion to the slide, the text is perfectly legible and contrasts well with the background image. We can say that the technique of the box in transparency has been used correctly.

Also, with a careful eye, you can see that the box is not placed randomly, but is centered perfectly on the left side of PowerPoint that occupies the initial third well (did you know that applying the rule of thirds is all you need to creating an effective presentation in powerpoint?).

So, what’s wrong?

The image has nothing to do with the text! Maybe, in his head, he was thinking about what this slide could mean, the connection between a smile and a lawn with a tree, but probably he could not find a winning solution.

A well-designed slide can trigger cognitive processes in people, just as it has happened to you. As the slide is well designed, you would not have even imagined that there could be such a serious background error and automatically started thinking about how to connect the dots.

The images have an enormous communicative power and you must  choose them carefully not only for their quality but, above all, for their meaning.

When the image and the text reinforce the same message we speak of semantic resonance.

I want to share an extremely stimulating example that I often do in the classroom.

Now I show you a series of slides, you will quickly think of keywords to associate with the slide you see, for example adjectives. You do not need to say them loudly, as long as you realize them vehemently. When you have them clearly in mind, go to the next slide.

Are you ready?

What makes you think?

I think of love, tenderness, company.

Next!

What makes you think?

Wisdom, support, trust, are my words.

Now look carefully at this look.

What is it transmitting to you? Suffering, sadness, desire to be able to intervene and get him out of the cage in my opinion.

And finally I propose this to you.

Here the themes of abandonment, of melancholy, of sadness, of betrayal are clearly evident.

You have seen 4 slides that have made you feel completely different emotions, in some cases opposite feelings, but try for a moment to see them all together.

Did you notice that the text never changed? Only the image differed from one slide to another and the result of the message perceived was totally different.

With this example I want to share with you the importance of the concept of semantic resonance in the choice of images.

You have learned a lot of technique to take advantage of the images and get beautiful slides, but always keep an eye on the meaning you are transmitting to your audience because what you write and what you want to convey sometimes does not necessarily mean the same, it all depends on how you see it.

GO BACK: HOW TO USE FREE IMAGES FOR POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE

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