Information graphics, also known as “infographics”, is an effective method to present information in order to convince and help your audience understand your point or argument.
We have all seen presentations with graphs and charts that visually illustrate a point or a trend. This is infographics in its simplest form. Whether used in business presentations, courtrooms or marketing, infographics have become a common visual aid.
The link between the spoken word and the visual connection is a strong one. Any marketer can tell you that the use of infographics helps the audience to retain spoken information longer.
Know Your Audience
In forensic architecture and engineering, it’s important to know your target audience and present to them accordingly.
When discussing construction, application and/or material failures words are not always enough. Although you may be presenting to those who deem themselves educated and knowledgeable, engineering and construction terminology can be confusing. Infographics are especially useful in court cases. Let’s face it. If you’re a defense attorney, you want to get out with taking the smallest hit possible. If you’re a plaintiff attorney, you want to maximize your settlement. The better your infographics, the clearer your case.
Use Your Tools
Visual aids can be used to pinpoint where defects occur. In mediation you are able to present anything you feel is relevant to bolster your position, and you may do this in any format. Why not use all the tools to your advantage? You can use your opponent’s files, drawings and photos to help make your case.
Slides and “scenes” of material layering can show the process of application. These illustrations can be used to “peel back” the layers of material and expose where material omission, defect, or failure occurred and the consequences thereof.
Even better than static graphics, animation can help to tell a possibly highly-complicated story in a clearly simplistic and an easy to understand manner.
PowerPoint is the ubiquitous method of visual presentations but in many cases, PowerPoint presentations can become text-heavy. If not used wisely, you risk boring your audience. The more graphics and the less written words the better. Remember, this is just a backdrop for your oral argument.
Additional software presentation programs include Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, SketchUp and Autodesk AutoCAD and Revit. Here at JKA, we use all of these as well as a few other programs for specialized graphics.
The Bottom Line
Simple illustrations can make complex issues easier to understand. Graphics should help manage and make visual connections to a thought process that supports your argument. Jeff Bullas is an entrepreneur, blogger, author and marketer. He says, “Infographics is one efficient way of combining the best of text, images and design to represent complex data that tells a story that begs to be shared.”
Communication skills are ultimately your best tool. Do not use infographics as a “wow” factor or a crutch but as supporting evidence in conflict resolution.
Infographics should be targeted to your audience, and should support your verbal communication, while helping make complex ideas understandable.