The Subconscious Thinks in Pictures

Quote Images

Quote Graphics Samples

To speak directly to the subconscious, be sure to include plenty of non-verbal and visual communication.

This is critical!  As I’ve stressed before, the subconscious parts of the brain don’t really understand words very well.  Instead, they receive communication mainly through images and emotions.  As I mentioned in a previous post, vision is the primary path of sensory input for most people.

Aristotle, back in ancient Greece, supposedly said, “The soul never thinks without a picture.”

More recently, Walt Disney claimed, “Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.”

An estimated 50% of all human brain resources are devoted to seeing and interpreting what we see.  About 30% of our gray matter contains vision neurons, compared to only 3% for hearing.

Educational researchers have documented that we learn and remember best through pictures, not through written or spoken words!

Pictures are the language of the subconscious.  We want to keep the subconscious engaged with our message so that it can make an informed decision about our offer.  So we had best communicate that message at least partially in pictures.

Reading Is Not Visual Communication

Before I go any further, let me emphasize that visual communication does not mean text on a PowerPoint slide!  If the old brain doesn’t use words, then it definitely can’t read!

Reading is a special task that requires a unique combination of different parts of the brain, not just the visual.  I will discuss this further in a future blog post.

Visuals in Slide Presentations

You can leave a very small amount of text on your slides (I recommend a one-sentence headline) for the new brain to read, but most of your slide layout should be pictures, shapes, or diagrams.  The more dramatic the pictures, the better!

When you are giving a presentation, other non-verbal communication, of course, includes your body language, tone of voice, pace of speaking, movements, clothing, hairstyle, jewelry, eye contact and connection with the audience.

Visuals in Other Content Marketing

Visual marketing is becoming a much bigger part of other marketing platforms, including Facebook, Pinterest, Slideshare, Brainshark, SlideRocket, Prezi, YouTube, Vimeo, Screenr, and other sites.   One good indicator of the growing important of visual content is Twitter’s recent changes to individual profile pages to include a large cover photo.

The types of visual content which are becoming popular in those social media platforms include:

  • Infographics make information quickly and easily understandable.  They also attract attention because of their novelty and visual appeal.
  • Quotes are one of the most popular types of content shared on social media and an increasing number of those quotes are being shared as images, not as text.
  • Cartoons, jokes, and humorous photos are another very popular category of social sharing content.
  • Videos are the most shared content and the most likely to go ‘viral’.  Some videos contain more text than pictures.  But in general videos are a unique form of content that offers images, movement, and sound, reaching multiples areas of the brain.

While these forms provide good opportunities to present visual content, they are often designed with a heavier use of text.  As more and more people start designing their own infographics, for example, we’re seeing a lot of infographics that contain more verbal information than graphics!  The best infographics usual visual images to make information easier to understand quickly.

Remember that visual marketing is what reaches the subconscious mind of your clients and prospects, regardless of what medium or form or sharing platform.

Developing Trust

Non-verbal communication has a huge, though unconscious, impact on developing trust and rapport with your audience.  They want to know, like, and trust you before they decide to pay for your product or service.

Since the old brain is the primary decision-maker, this gut-level sense of trust is much more important than any logical information you share about your product or service – information which is processed in the new brain.

Trust is mostly an unconscious, often instantaneous, evaluation that has much less to do with what you say and more to do with the feeling your prospects or audience get when they look at you and listen to you.

Confidence, passion, eye contact, facial expression, and a relaxed, open posture will all help immensely in a live presentation.

What is your favorite form of non-verbal communication to your audience?




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