Have you ever seen the PowerPoint background that's so flashy you can't focus on the speaker? An image that splits apart the text block so that you can't follow the sentences? Images can either enhance or detract from presentations, and if you follow these rules of thumb below, your pictures really can be “worth a thousand words. "
- Ensure relevance. Sure, that picture might be funny, but what does it add to your presentation? Funny pictures are good, but relevant ones are even better. Be certain you're always adding value.
- Coordinate colors. Don't use blue text next to a largely red image. Don't clash. Find someone with good fashion sense and be certain that it looks good.
- Don't be distracting. Flashy colors, intricate images, and complicated charts are only good if they're directly relevant.
Flash is a good attention-getter, but only for a moment. Move on quickly, grabbing the audience's attention then shifting focus back to you and your content.
- Use high-quality images. If your audience can't see what your image is, it doesn't do them any good. You can get high-quality clip art and stock photos online for relatively low prices.
Be certain to preview your presentation for image clarity before ‘going live. '
- Use images to their full potential. If you've got a picture, explain it (unless it's for comic effect, of course). Pictures can also be great transition elements. If you're giving a business presentation showing how your product can be effectively marketed in different cities, showing a picture of each city before you speak about it could help keep your audience's attention and aid orientation as you move from one city to the next.
- Most importantly, KISS. (Keep it simple, stupid). Simplicity rules. Don't overwhelm yourself or your audience.
In the end, these are all just rules of thumb.
Use your common sense. It all comes down to one simple principle: If it helps your presentation, do it; if it hurts your presentation, don't.
Visit Public Speaking Clip Art for more tips on using images in presentations. Devin R.
Bean is a freelance writer and edits Speech-Time.com Public Speaking .