Which is better for memory? Variety or Sameness?
Imagine that someone had to present the PowerPoint file below. Can you sense how everything is so intense on every slide and each slide may have taken a long time and quite a bit of money to develop?
And at the opposite end, can you tell how “weak” the content is in the example below, where all slides are filled just with text?
Which of the two examples leads to better memory?
It’s a trick question! Surprisingly, while both examples may have good content, they are equally bad where memory is concerned. This is because when everything is equally intense or equally weak, nothing stands out and strong memory is often based on distinctiveness (something that stands out from sameness or from noise).
Either one of the examples above can be fixed by reactivating an important message (supported by no more than 4 points) at various parts of the presentation. In a practical sense, memory equals a balanced combination of variety + sameness. Variety attracts and sustains attention while sameness helps you solidify a message in your audiences’ minds.
Where slides are concerned, if the above examples are delivered by a presenter, then the slides can stay the same (sometimes people are not even allowed to change the slide design because of legal reasons), as long as the presenter returns verbally at least 3-4 times to the same message that is supporting specific items he would like the audience to remember.
If you would like more presentation tips on how your audience remembers your presentations, learn them by attending the one-day Rexi Media workshop in San Francisco on November 13.