Home SMM Creating Engaging Visuals to Support Your Talk: Key SMWKyiv Takeaways

Creating Engaging Visuals to Support Your Talk: Key SMWKyiv Takeaways

by Mary Ivanova

speaker talk

Last week, Crello was one of the partners of Social Media Week conference in Kyiv, Ukraine. As we watched the talks at the two-day event, we noticed this – presentations supported by relevant, relatable visuals worked best. They were engaging, lively and had the crowd following every point the speaker made.

Clever use of imagery and video seemed to make or break a presentation, regardless of how charismatic or entertaining the speaker was. Images and video commanded attention, were memorable and easy to recall when discussing the topics later in the day.

That’s why we’ve decided to create this out-of-schedule Social Media Week special to share with you all the tips we’ve put down in our notebooks to help make our data visualization that much more effective in the future.

animated person working at a laptop

Use template

Here’s what we got:


  • Start with specific and move to general


A middle-aged man in the gladioli field telling the audience how he came across a self-serve flower shop where you cut the flowers yourself and pay at an empty cashier’s desk with no security. Happy Germans cutting and paying for seemingly unguarded flowers – all transactions based on the honor system.

Story told by a travelling reporter and brief interviews he conducted with passers-by was engaging and human because it was rooted in a specific location and showed reality of actual people, before explaining the phenomenon in general.

blumen flowers self serve germany

Still from Current time video

“Go to the people affected,” explains presenter Glenn Kates of Current Time, who shared the heartwarming video in his talk.

Hand over the mic – have the people involved explain how their lives are going to change with the data or a piece of news you are trying to explain. Put faces and real human lives to generalized numbers and facts.


  • Simplify until it hurts


Charts, tables and comprehensive maps are a great way to visualize data, but only include the essentials – leave that detailed, loaded with data chart in your 40-page report and stick with simplified, instantly digestible charts or maps that contain only the most relevant information.

Do make your visual accurate, but remove all unnecessary data from it and direct people to where they can get a detailed backup. Here’s how Crello’s own marketers Eugine Dychko and Dima Grebennikov did it for their talk at SMW Kyiv 2018:

graph crello stories popularity


  • Address real people


This one was brilliantly supported by the whole talk by Christian Artope of GUD.berlin. The German company was the brains behind the now legendary campaign to promote Berlin’s public transportation company BVG. In their messaging, they relied heavily on promo materials that were deeply rooted in current urban culture of the German capital.

Simply put, folks spoke the language. Here’s one of their most known moves – a year-round ticket that’s built into an Adidas shoe:

Christian Artope BUD.berlin BVG Adidas shoe ticket

Ticket-shoe as presented by Christian Artope during his talk at Social Media Week Kyiv on November 15, 2018. Photographed by Igor Vetushko

The takeaway – talk to your audience like they are real people, like you and me. Ask yourself: how can I use popular visual metaphors and imagery to relay my message, are there any popular culture motifs, memes, trends I can reasonably use to showcase my product or service?


  • Go for emotion


If you were to ask us what was the most memorable part of all the talks, we’d answer without hesitation. The cow pic.

cow meme

BBC’s Yolanda Valery used the duration of a cow’s pregnancy to support her point that enough time has passed to analyze the aftermath of Facebook’s January algorithm change to favor meaningful interactions with friends and family.

The metaphor was funny and unexpected, which made it salient in the lineup of unique, engaging and informative talks. The silliness of this almost rebellious move was relatable as it represents exactly what all of us are tempted to do when listening to a lengthy monologue by an authority figure – revolt. Even if just a little.

Final thoughts

Impeccably formatted text and perfectly matching visuals have long stopped being a rarity. These days, most businesses can achieve that in their external comms. Perfection graduated from polished and professional to robotic and impersonal.

To engage your audience, be spontaneous, emotional, funny. Perfect is going to bore your demo out of their minds!

But you know what’s even worse than bad presentation? Poorly researched target audience. Go back to our October roundup of expert advice on the topic for a refresher.

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