Bombs and Rhetoric

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel made the front page of the NY times today following his speech to the UN. It wasn’t his soaring oratory that stole the day, but rather a very compelling graphic.

He and Israel have beaten the drum about the threat of Iran’s nuclear program for years now. In an US election year full of zingers, gotchas and half-truths  about the economy, blown calls and replacement refs in the NFL, geopolitics is a bit of a snooze. Against that backdrop, Netanyahu broke through. How?

Here’s the picture:

Netanyahu showing the Bomb Graphic to the UN General Assembly

Netanyahu stood out because the visual is simple, powerful and to the point. What Josh King, founder of Polioptics, called the, “Wiley Coyote bomb.” To get his message to break through, he went for the unusual tactic, not the usual: a picture, rather than words. I’ve written about the picture superiority effect before. Here’s a compelling example of it in action. For an audience like the UN, simultaneously translating into 5 other languages, the effect is more pronounced. With a drawing demonstrating the high production values of a local Kinko’s (sorry, FedEx Office) and a big fat red marker, he told the United Nations that Iran’s bomb-making ability will be irreversible by next year and drew a line.

It’s always fascinating to watch Politicians (our public executives) in action. Especially when they make special efforts to get their message to stand out. Completely unrelated, apart from the fact that it’s a politician using charts and boards to get the message out, is this one, from former Congressman Alan Grayson discussing the GOP plan for health care.

Gavin_Animated-GifGavin is a founding partner at fassforward consulting group. He blogs about PowerPoint, Presenting, Communication and Message Discipline at makeapowerfulpoint.com. You can follow him on twitter @powerfulpoint.

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  1. Peter | September 29, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I’m wondering exactly how hard Bi-Bi’s back-up team had to work in order to get him to do this.

  2. pros write | October 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Reblogged this on Pros Write and commented:
    Now that last week is over, and I get a breather from wearing a suit and listening to other people in suits talk at me using PowerPoint bullets (I’m not a “natural” administrator) . . . let me get back on track. Gavin’s post was a timely reminder about what makes a visual work.

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