It simply means that the brain processes information more effectively when the information is presented in pictures and words instead of words alone. Neuroscientists have also found that when a slide (or advertisement) contains pictures and words, it’s best to have the picture on the left side of the page or slide and words on the right. This is exactly what Bezos did for a majority of his slides....I'm trying to picture — yes, picture — doing that in a law school class. I've never used PowerPoint or projected any kind of slide in any presentation I've ever done, but I do write words on the black/white board pretty often. These are never wordy, because when you write as you speak, you aren't going to take the time to write much. But I'm intrigued by the idea of having pictures and the notion that it would improve understanding somehow if the profuse spoken words and minimal written words were reinforced with pictures.
In no way am I advocating that you ditch PowerPoint. I am recommending that you ditch PowerPoint as we know it — dull, wordy, and overloaded with bullet points. Image-rich presentations work effectively because pictures appeal to the right hemisphere of the brain—the emotional side. You can have great ideas backed up by data and logic, but if you don’t connect with people emotionally, it doesn’t matter.
But what could they be? I waste a couple minutes dreaming of a website put together by law professors with useful images for law school classes, and then I realize that all you have to do is a Google image search on the name of a case. I tried "Brown v. Board of Education" and got a fabulous array of images — classrooms of children, the winning lawyers, newspaper frontpages, a "separate-but-equal" drinking fountain, police-dog ugliness.
And now I worry that pictures are too powerful to be used in a situation that isn't supposed to be about manipulative persuasion.
And in case you'd like to buy that product Jeff Bezos was promoting: Here's the new Kindle Fire. And here's the fancier one.