Presentation Tips

Engage Your Remote Team with Visual Storytelling

Samantha Pratt Lile
 | 
February 6, 2021
 | 
6
 min read
Engage Your Remote Team with Visual StorytellingEngage Your Remote Team with Visual Storytelling
Every good story contains some type of movement, even if it’s just the plot progressing from beginning to end.

People are naturally drawn to visual storytelling—and for good reason. Storytelling has been one of the most powerful forms of human communication—researchers found multiple areas of the brain display heightened connectivity after hearing a story. Further, the visual cortex is the largest section of the human brain.

For a variety of reasons, visual storytelling examples are some of the most effective ways of engaging with an audience. In fact, studies have shown that people tend to remember about 10 percent of what they heard 72 hours prior, but they remember 65 percent if visuals were added to the oral presentation.

Meanwhile in recent months, a global pandemic forced countless workplaces to transition toward remote environments. The changes only amplified the need to keep teams, colleagues and employees engaged with the job and with one another. As a result, traditional forms of employee engagement need to be modified or replaced to accommodate the new job settings.

Visual storytelling offers the perfect solution to counter potential remote workplace apathy. The power of visual storytelling has long been known in areas such as marketing and education. Now it can be used as a tool just as effective at boosting engagement within remote teams.

Just why and how are visual storytelling techniques so effective at boosting remote workers’ engagement? Check out the following seven ways visual storytelling engages remote teams:

1. Visual storytelling promotes the ‘show don’t tell’ mantra

One of the first rules of effective storytelling is to “show don’t tell.” It’s never better to just tell audiences something, and is always more effective to describe the scenario, painting a picture in audience members’ minds. Obviously, visual storytelling is perfectly catered to this mantra. Videos, infographics and visual presentations like those created using Beautiful.ai are all perfectly suited to convey a message through visual content.

2. Visual stories grab hold of audience attention

So much of our brains are dedicated toward processing visual information, it’s no surprise that a captivating image can grab ahold of the audience’s attention. After all, online articles that feature images attract 94 percent more views than those with text alone. A single photo like the thousands of free stock photos in Beautiful.ai’s vast image library can make audiences feel temperatures, smell scents, hear sounds, even experience memories and emotions— all in their minds’ eyes.

3. Visual stories provide context

Context matters, and it wields a lot of power when seeking employee engagement— or engaging with anyone for that matter. What is the first question most people ask, even if just to themselves, about a direction? Why? People yearn to understand why things happen the way they do, and not understanding that “why” can definitely be an inhibitor. Audience questions can be answered proactively and more easily through visual stories than information conveyed orally or in writing. Instead of telling them who, what, where, when and why, a video or other visual presentation can show them.

4. Visual storytelling can create a branded message

Companies strive to promote their branded identities, even among their own teams. Brands are easier to instill in the physical environment with colors, signage and plenty of logos, but it can be tougher to stay on brand in a remote scenario. How much can you brand written communication? Maybe a colored letterhead with the company logo? The power of visual storytelling provides so much more opportunity to brand a message. Even those who don’t already have an established brand can find inspiration in preselected themes with perfectly selected colors and fonts to compliment any type of message or story.

5. Visual stories contain plenty of movement

Every good story contains some type of movement, even if it’s just the plot progressing from beginning to end. Therefore, visual stories are especially capable of containing even greater movement. Think about a video of someone standing still while giving a lecture. Snooze, right? Not a great way to keep remote teams engaged. Even video needs to include movement. Animated presentations can be created with strategic use of animated transitions between slides, animated infographics or even embedded video.

6. Visual stories follow an arc

All stories include a beginning, middle and end, otherwise known as a narrative arc. Any sort of presentation that lacks this important movement isn’t really a story, it’s just information. Visual stories such as videos and slideshows created with free PowerPoint alternative software offer perfect opportunities to follow a story arc along the path from beginning to end. When audiences follow the story, their minds are instantly engaged with the presentation.

7. Visual storytelling inspires emotion

Humans are so intrinsically connected to visual information, it’s also no surprise that photos, videos and other graphics are able to invoke strong emotions within audiences. And inspiring emotion is an effective way to engage remote audiences. Visual storytelling examples make them feel, and emotion makes them care. The right photo or video can make audiences feel excitement, sadness, compassion, glee or disgust. Visual information as basic as custom fonts and colors can invoke emotions and set the tone of a presentation, ultimately resulting in a positive call to action at the end of the deck. 

Samantha Pratt Lile

Samantha Pratt Lile

Samantha is an independent journalist, editor, blogger and content manager. Examples of her published work can be found at sites including the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and Buzzfeed.