In this article, you will find how beautiful photos in slides can distract your audience and how to overcome the issue.
I can hear you thinking:
Can photos on a slide distract the audience in a boardroom?
Oh. Yeah! They can, and it is very frustrating for the presenter.
Before that, a small story…
The issue with beautiful photos
One day, a friend of mine had to make a presentation on ‘Weight loss resistance’ to a group of women.
In case, you didn’t know what ‘Weight loss resistance’ is – it is a condition that occurs when women can’t lose weight or keep it off due to physiological/ metabolic imbalances.
As you can see, it is a very touchy subject and my friend worked really hard for the presentation (she wanted to share her own story of how she successfully overcame weight loss resistance).
On the day of the event, she walked into the room and started her presentation with this slide:
It certainly created a buzz but not the kind she expected.
She started getting questions like…
“Where is the statue located?”
“Whose statue is it?”
“What is the statue made of?”
…questions that took the discussion totally away from the topic of the presentation.
After 5 minutes of answering questions about the statue, she finally managed to pull the audience back on track. But, the damage was done.
A better option to using photos
When she shared the story with me and asked for a solution to the problem, I suggested the following slide as an alternative to her earlier slide:
When she presented with this slide to another audience, she found that the slide helped her get to the point with minimum friction.
This got me thinking about one of the common mistakes presenters make, when choosing photos for their presentations.
They inadvertently choose photos that hijack the attention of their audience.
There is no doubt that photos on a slide are powerful. But, if you choose your photos without caution, you may end up losing your audience’s attention than gaining it.
3 Things to keep in mind when selecting photos
Here are a few things you may want to keep in mind, while choosing photos for your next PowerPoint presentation:
#1 Be careful while choosing photos that show faces of people.
The photos of smiling models look quite tacky and clichéd on a slide.
Photos with a realistic feel, evoke strong emotions in your audience.
Unless that is what you want – it is better to avoid such photos in a presentation.
#2 Where possible, use photos of yourself
Slides that show photos of yourself, help you to connect with your audience better.
For example, had my friend shown photos of herself, before and after the transformation – her audience would’ve connected better.
#3 Use silhouettes or icons, instead of photos that show people’s faces
Take a look at the alternative slide I suggested to my friend. It shows the silhouette of a lady who managed to overcome the weight resistance problem.
Since the audience can’t see the person, their attention stays with the subject of the slide. This phenomenon is called as ‘Reduced reality’.
Silhouettes and icons have the power to represent reality without distracting the audience with details.
When you follow the above suggestions, you wouldn’t lose control of your audience in the middle of a presentation.
The technical skills you need to create engaging PowerPoint slides:
By the way, it is not easy to find silhouettes that exactly suit your specific requirements. Most of the times, you’d need to create the right kind of visuals from scratch, to support your message. For that, you need a few critical PowerPoint skills.
In Ramgopal’s PowerPoint Mastery Program, I teach you those skills in a step by step way.
I teach you…
- How to convert photos into silhouettes, so you can get your message across without distraction (In our PowerPoint Pictures Mastery Section > Pictures Mastery)
- How to use Icons effectively in slides (Picture and Text Layouts Mastery)
- How to create simple 2D and 3D graphics, so you can create visuals like the one you saw in the above example, in a matter of seconds (In 2D and 3D Diagrams and Effects Mastery)
…and so much more.
You may have the best of ideas. Your delivery style may be impeccable.
That is why learning PowerPoint the right way is so crucial for the success of your career and business.
Ramgopal’s PowerPoint Mastery Course is the most comprehensive and creative PowerPoint training online – for business presenters. It is the only program you’ll need to Master PowerPoint.
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