Pictures have a powerful emotional effect (especially pictures of people), and have been shown to aid recall for a speaker's points better than simple bullet points or (worst of all) word for word visual repetition of what the speaker is saying. To be effective, and to support your image as a professional speaker, steer clear of two common traps:
- Avoid clip art. It looks unprofessional and is rarely entirely relevant.
- Never steal. Even if it's for internal purposes, using images you've found online without permission is illegal. There are better alternatives, as we'll see.
If you want to start using images professionally you need to start building your own library of stock images. Often you'll need to source new images for each presentation, but if you store the images you use in one place you'll find that you're soon re-using them. But where do you go to get these images?
- Join a "microstock" site. If you make a lot of presentations, consider becoming a member of one of the online sources such as istock or shutterstock.
- Use free pictures. The microstock sites offer a free "photo of the week". Keep an eye on these and download ones that might be useful. In addition, sites such as Morguefile and even Flickr can be a good source of images which can legally be used as long as you are careful about the licence.
- Use images your company owns. Your design or marketing department is likely to have CDs of royalty-free images as well as subscriptions to stock sites. Ask them for help.
- Get a camera! You may not be David Bailey, but to illustrate your points a specific photo is often the most effective option.
Finding the images is one thing, using them effectively is something else. My tips would be 1) fill the slide 2) limit the amount of text you use and, most importantly, 3) read Presentation Zen!