The following article has been adapted from a chapter in the
new book Special Edition Using Microsoft PowerPoint 2000, by Patrice-Ann
Rutledge and Tom Mucciolo (Copyright 1999, Que Publishing).
We have met the visual creatures and they are us!
next millennium can be dubbed the Visual Age and its effect will be massive.
The Visual Age will bring us closer together as a global society because we
will be able to see one another on a more frequent basis using technology,
like a TV. Realizing that, here are my forecasts for the new millennium regarding
the effect that a visual way of life will have on individuals and society.
How will people exist in the new Visual Age? Will they readily accept the inevitable
or will they fight, tooth and nail, to avoid being part of the viewer/viewee
phenomenon? Lets classify each group by its current age in the year 2000
and see how each will migrate from Web site to Web sight.
Anyone under ten years of age probably already has the words visual creature
stamped on the inside of his head. That age group will not have any problem
adapting to an interactive and visual world. When they finally begin working
for a living, I expect them to one day walk through a flea market, pick up a
computer mouse, and ponder what its use might have been!
Those between 10 and 20 years old are still well-developed visual creatures.
When they finally embark on their journey into the business world, using visual
communications will be as simple as touching a keyboard.
The Movers and Shakers
People between 20 and 30 will be on the cusp of the changing technology. The
good news is that this age group already knows the rule that to adapt is to
succeed, and being in their high-spirited 20s, this crowd will lead the way
to a host of major technology changes in the workplace.
Those between 30 and 40 will accept the new world of visual communications,
but they will resist direct participation mostly for vanity reasons. After all,
knowing the camera adds ten pounds will not appeal to generation X at all. These
are the people who cut their teeth on Internet chat rooms where remaining anonymous
was the standard level of interaction. It is unlikely to believe this group
will welcome a visual conversation while sitting in a bathrobe eating a Pop
People between 40 and 50, the tail end of the baby boomers, will mostly resist
all forms of visual communication, some for vanity reasons and others because
they will be fed up with the years of e-mail and voice-mail inundation. People
in this age group are already growing tired of being accessible through every
other form of communication and will see the visual process as a real intrusion
of the only remaining personal space in their lives. Little do they know that
by adapting to a more visual world, this age group holds the life experience
and maturity to lead the up-and-coming companies of the future. Expect only
those who adapt to the new technology to come out ahead and the rest to lag
behind or fall by the wayside.
The Late Bloomers
the over 50 age group will welcome visual communication with open arms because,
as people age, they tend to be more honest about adopting new habits that reduce
stress on the body. Visual interaction will allow for less travel and less wear
and tear on the body. Remember that these people grew up on face-to-face communications
and the visual technology will help simulate that experience more than a phone
conversation or an e-mail ever could. The good news is they wont have
to travel to make the face-to-face interaction happen.
If You Cant Stand the Heat...
So there you have it! The very young and the very old adapt and the middle groups
have some big decisions to make. I believe that anyone between 30 and 50 years
old in the year 2000 will truly have no choice but to adapt to the most
current visual technology. If not, they will find themselves unable to adjust
to the younger crowd sneaking up from behind and the older crowd looking back
This doesnt mean people will lose their jobs, but it does mean that by
avoiding the changes in the workplace, some people will experience limited advancement.
Its hard to see just how rapidly things will advance, but the technology
seems to change while you sleep! Im 44, so I happen to be one of those
who already realizes the world of visual communication is inevitable and I have
been embracing the concept for several years. I expect to be changing as rapidly
as the technology and only for my own sake!
Face the Facts
You also have to look at the social benefits of a more visual world. You will
be seeing people of different cultures and backgrounds more visually and more
frequently than ever before. There will be a greater acceptance of diverse audiences.
You can expect a more visual world to be one that welcomes our visual differences.
I really think that when you see another person, any fears, inhibitions, prejudices,
concerns, ignorance or other negative feelings can disappear faster. Its
when we cant experience the whole person that we sometimes create false
impressions. People living in urban centers have more opportunities where interaction
among many cultures is the norm, but in a globally interactive society, no matter
what the prejudices, you will still have to interact with different people on
a daily basis. Whether you ride the bus or surf the net with different people
every single day, youll just learn to get along. You wont have any
choice. Im not saying that well live in perfect harmony, but I suspect
it will become easier to accept people whose lifestyles and backgrounds are
much different than our own. If we cant, then its our problem, not
A world of visual communicators will have more direct contact with more people,
more frequently, resulting in a greater acceptance of diverse opinions. The
good news is that a more visual world will be better for our children. After
all, kids arent born with a natural fear or dislike of others. They can
only learn it. A visual world will provide more evidence as to why those who
look or think differently have so much in common. The point is that the more
we see one another the more we understand one another. Visual interaction will
bring us closer together, globally.
Picture Yourself on TV
From your own personal perspective, the Visual Age will change the way you communicate.
The growth of visual communications will place you in view, mainly through the
eyes of a camera. The more you adapt to the changing technology the better the
chances of your success. But keep in mind that to prepare for the visual changes
ahead, you will have to develop your current skills and become a more visual
presenter. If you dont have the basic skills required for the media, chances
are you will appear less effective and your message will have less impact.
So, what are you waiting for? Get used to picturing yourself on TV and before
you know it youll be staring straight into the camera lens saying:
Im ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!
About Tom Mucciolo
Tom Mucciolo, president of MediaNet, is a recognized
industry expert regarding visual communications and business presentations.
He has served as a presentation skills consultant for major corporations since
1985, concentrating on the script, visuals and delivery associated with presentations,
especially electronic events. High-profile communicators, including corporate
leaders, politicians, media personalities, as well as those at any organizational
level, demand his coaching expertise.
For more information and a free tip-of-the-week, visit MediaNets Web
site at www.medianet-ny.com.
Copyright 1999 by MediaNet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.