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Reasons Why Your PowerPoint Presentation Visuals Need Context

A business PowerPoint presentation is a unique opportunity to communicate your ideas to a specific audience. The visuals that you choose to use in your presentation are an important part of this opportunity. They are the components of your presentation that can make or break the effectiveness of your message. That’s why it’s so important that you get this part of your business PowerPoint presentation right.

It’s not enough to simply drop a few images into your presentation and hope your audience will understand what you mean. Everyone interprets visuals differently, depending on their own personal experience, background, age, race, gender, and many other factors. To help avoid any misinterpretation of the visuals in your presentation, it’s important that you give them context.

Here are seven reasons why creating a context for your business PowerPoint presentation visuals is key to your success – with some smart ideas on doing it right.

Add clarity to your message

Try describing a new colour with just words to an audience. You will realise that it puts you in a bit of a pickle. Sometimes words alone make it difficult to convey a message clearly to your audience, especially when you are describing something that is rather abstract or visual. By adding good supporting images in your presentation slides or live polls, you eliminate the potential for miscommunication between you and your audience. This is particularly pertinent if you are discussing and voting on an important decision and need everyone to be on the same page.

Deliver quicky

You want your audience to understand the message you’re delivering quickly and easily or else you risk losing their attention to their phone or what’s happening outside the conference room window.

Giving your visuals context allows you to deliver your key ideas in seconds. For example, by taking a dollar bill and showing it ripped into sections, we were able to instantly convey the share of healthcare dollars that was spent on certain categories for one of our clients. By using a dollar bill rather than a pie chart, the audience immediately understands that the visual is referring to monetary value. And without even reading the numbers, they can see the size of each category’s share.


Giving your visuals appropriate context enables your audience to compare elements quickly and easily. For instance, let’s say you have three products which are similar but with a few important differences. One way to give your products context is to show images of them next to each other. This allows your audience to compare your products instantly. For any differences you wish to highlight, you can add graphic elements or text to the product images to help showcase key points.

The power of the word

Too much text is a classic presentation pitfall. However, the right text at the right place in your presentation can give the needed context to your visuals. Showing an image of a group of people without some clarifying text leaves it up to your audience to guess why the group is significant. Including a percentage on or near the image with a short tagline will give them the context they need to understand why you’ve chosen the image and what it means for them.

Avoid too much detail

Visual context helps you present precise information. Let’s say you want to show that because you’ve exceeded your annual sales targets, your company is now a market leader. Imagine an image of a race, with your company in the lead. This tells your audience all they need to know without the need for a lot of figures or data. This is important because your business PowerPoint presentation shouldn’t be like having a casual conversation with someone. You want to be direct and avoid any unnecessary detail.

Convey the values

Visual context gives you an opportunity to state your values to your audience. Using visuals that include warm colors and an image of someone taking care of someone else shows that you value customer care. Without you having to say it, your audience will understand what matters to you and, hopefully, it will align with their values too.


Strong visuals set in the appropriate context can transform facts and figures into content that will pique curiosity and help make your audience more likely to take recommended actions. The more eye-catching your information, the more likely they will want to be a part of what you’re doing.


Visual aids are worth including in your presentations because they can help you explain information more coherently which makes presenting easier for you and learning easier for the audience. They also help add variety to your presentation thus making it more interesting for the audience. If the audience understand what you're saying and they are more engaged, they're more likely to be persuaded by you.