Boardroom Inc. President Marjory Abrams & "Obbligato" Images

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

Last week, I had the privilege of meeting Marjory Abrams, President of Boardroom, Inc., publisher of popular newsletters such as Bottom Line/Personal, Bottom Line/Health and Bottom Line/Wealth(

She shared an interesting lesson - a word learned from her father, Boardroom's founder, Marty Edelston: "obbligato." It's a musical term referring to musical lines, which in Margie's words, "dance around the main melody and enhance it."

As part of her lifelong career in publishing, Margie uses "obbligato" to describe the power of images in written stories. And I think her description also can apply to the power of images in presentations.

The next time you have to give a PowerPoint presentation, try to use images and pictures that add to the story of your presentation, rather than detracting from it or even just duplicating your words. You can use high-quality photos that you've taken yourself or you can find them online – I like – instead of slides with too many words crammed onto them.

The images should be a "persistent but subordinate motif" (another technical definition of "obbligato"), meaning that although they are important, they should never replace you. Remember, that YOU are the presentation and PowerPoint is just the visual aid.

How much more effective could our business communications be if our slides included images that danced around the main message and made it easier for the audience to understand it?

Read Margie's blog posts at

Gilda Bonanno's blog