How Google's CEO delivers winning presentations

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is using brain-friendly presentations to captivate the audience

Tech Desk May 07, 2021

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is using brain-friendly presentations designed by the company's slide designers to captivate audience. Instead of using slides that consist of heavy text he now uses visual storytelling techniques to get the message across.

Google is also training its employees to change their presentation styles, add less text and more visuals, reports Inc.

"Since stories are best told with pictures, bullet points and text-heavy slides are increasingly avoided at Google," Pichai said at the conference.

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For example, during the company’s annual developer conference in San Francisco in May 2017, Pichai talked about Google’s primary products (Google Maps, YouTube, Android, etc) using pictures and plain text words.

His first slide had logos of the products along with the text “1 Billion+ Users". Putting across the message that each of the seven products has over a billion monthly users.

Cognitive scientists say that the brain cannot perform two things at once and do them equally well. It is not impossible for the audience to listen to the presenter, read the text of the slide, and then retain all the information being told.

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Further, University of Washington biologist John Medina after conducting extensive research into persuasion and how the brain processes information suggests that the best thing to do is add fewer words and more pictures.

In his book, Brain Rules Medina says that "we are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10 per cent of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65 per cent."

Slide design expert Nancy Duarte suggests using a three-second rule while designing a presentation. If viewers cannot comprehend what’s written in the slide within three seconds, it means it is too complicated.

"Think of your slides as billboards," says Duarte.

"When people drive, they only briefly take their eyes off their main focus, which is the road, to process a billboard of information. Similarly, your audience should focus intently on what you're saying, looking only briefly at your slides when you display them."