You’ve probably heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same goes for presentation photos. Whether it’s using PowerPoint, Sway, or one of those old school overhead projectors (ok, so we might be wrong about that last one), images make messages stronger.
Well, without getting all geeky about it, research shows that the human brain processes information more easily when supported by pictures. In fact, we remember slides with visual cues 55% better. Pictures just linger in our minds longer than words. So, adding a nice-looking shot to that slide full of bullet points might just help them do their job better.
That said, don’t go overboard. Images need to illustrate your point, not compete with it. Nor should they just be used for decoration. See, because they’re so memorable, it’s crucial that the images you use actually support your topic, otherwise your audience will be remembering the wrong thing, and that would be a little annoying.
Instead, go for images that illustrate genuine emotions that connect with your audience on a more personal level. Emotion-evoking presentations increase engagement, so support your message with shots that shock, surprise or make people laugh.
Memes and classic images may be recognizable, but chances are that your listeners will switch off. Worse still, they might associate them with another context where they’ve seen them and not to your presentation. All of a sudden, your photo is distracting and detracting from your message instead of supporting it. As for that handshake photo on your introduction slide – your audience has seen that one too many times. Give them something fresh to make them smile instead.
For example, if your slide is a call-to-action, make sure the picture illustrates the same action. Be bold, creative, and have fun when choosing your visuals.
Here’s a few things to avoid:
Jullietta Stoencheva is a Media Psychology graduate from the University of Cologne, Germany. Jullietta manages the content and community of Pickit.com, a marketplace for presentation images. In addition, she is responsible for PR and media inquiries, as well as social media management of the company. Outside of work, Jullietta is a photo enthusiast, passionate about reading, literature and meeting new people.
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