Using Full page Images in PowerPoint : Handle with Care

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While the method of using full page PowerPoint Images on your presentation slides is effective, it may end up being counterproductive if you use it the wrong way. Learn the pitfalls to avoid images in your PowerPoint.

Full page images in PowerPoint : Handle with care

It is heartening to see the growing awareness about the ineffectiveness of bullet point slides in presentations. We have come a long way from using 6 bullet points on a slide with 6 words per bullet, on a blue background with yellow fonts.

Today, more and more presenters use powerful visuals to communicate their messages. However, the disturbing trend that seems to evolve is – presenters believe that a full page stock photo with a couple of ‘clever words’ in the corner, is the universal solution for poor slide design.

What can go wrong when you use a full bleed photo?

Using full page photo on a slide is like using a full page advertisement. If the core content is poor, the ad will do more harm than good. Here are a 2 ways in which the method can fail:

Failure in Design 1: Lack of Connect

If the audience can’t quickly connect the image and the overall flow of your presentation, your full image slide will stick out like a sore thumb. For example, take a look at the following slide, we saw recently in one of the presentations:

Images in PowerPoint Wrong Use 1

The discussion was on ‘the pressures of bureaucracy’ and the ways to overcome them. The above slide got everyone wondering about the relationship between the subject being discussed and the image.

Later we learnt that the presenter used this visual because he couldn’t get any other image which represented ‘Red tape’.

Using right visuals requires thought. Wrong usage can kill the presentation.

Failure in Design 2: Lack of Supporting Logic

Full page photos are not adequate without the supporting logic. Last week, we happened to witness a presentation on competitive strategy, made by a senior manager in a bank.

His presentation was full of ‘inspirational full bleed photo slides’ like the ones below:

Images in PowerPoint Wrong Use

The audience was eager to get a concrete action plan that showed them the next steps. But, the presenter had none. Naturally, the audience switched off after a few slides.

‘Full page photos’ can’t fill the entire slide deck in a business presentation. They are useful in drawing emotions, not in building trust. You need to provide details and data to support your points where required.

Here are the 4 suggestion to avoid the common pitfalls while using full page images in PowerPoint:

Suggestion 1 : Visualize the idea; not the words

Visualizing ‘words’ is easy – but ineffective.

If your idea of visualization is typing the ‘wordson the slide’ in the search column of a stock photo site, you may end up with slides like this:

Visualize the Idea in PowerPoint

Such slides insult the intelligence of your audience.

A stronger slide tries to persuade the audience to the point of view expressed by the words. For example, take a look at this improved version:

Visualize the idea in PowerPoint 2

The image in this slide talks about the power of journalism, instead of trying to illustrate a pen or the sword. Always visualize the idea and not the words.

Read more: Right and Wrong visualization of PowerPoint Slides.

Suggestion 2:  Choose the right idea to visualize

Sometimes presenters skimp on hard work and pick up ‘easy words’ on their slide to visualize. Result is cheesy slides like this example:

represent the right idea in images in powerpoint

The presenter tried to visualize easy words like- ‘one big reason’ instead of visualizing deeper and more meaningful ideas like ‘selfishness’ or ‘Poor public hygiene’.

To visualize the right ideas you need to dig deeper. For example, the same slide can be better visualized as:

represent the right idea in images in powerpoint

The slide drives home the message quite powerfully, because we spent some time searching for the alternatives before deciding on the final images in PowerPoint to capture our thoughts accurately.

Suggestion 3.    Sometimes it is more important to connect than to be just correct

One of the biggest benefits of a visual is its power to stir up emotions and touch our soul. It is essential to keep this in mind while visualizing information. For example, the following slide is correct in its information:

Connect with your powerpoint image 1

However, it doesn’t make the audience feel the impact of the idea. Instead, a slide like the one below would help you connect with your audience better:

Connect with your powerpoint image 2

Once you connect with your audience, don’t forget to back your message with data to avoid sounding superficial.

Read: How to present data effectively

Suggestion 4.    Dare to go beyond the boundaries

Sometimes, you may need to go beyond the conventions to get your point across. I saw a recent presentation made by a project team who were not happy about the new project that was commissioned in a hurry. They used humorous images in PowerPoint to make their point:

use Humor in PowerPoint images

Since it was an internal presentation, the audience knew what was being talked about and could connect with the problems immediately. This helped them to quickly turn their attention to addressing the concerns instead of spending time arguing about the issues.

Read: Presentation on using humor in presentations

Conclusion about using Images in PowerPoint:

A useful way to visualize your ideas is to use relevant and meaningful diagrams. We suggest you take a look at our PowerPoint Charts & Diagrams CEO pack. The pack has 750+ diagram templates pack to help you visualize your ideas accurately using professional PowerPoint diagrams in a business presentation like these…

powerpoint timeline template image

3d test silhouette SWOT powerpoint template image

4 quadrants powerpoint template

Source: PowerPoint Charts & Diagrams CEO Pack

Using right images involves thought. Spend the time and effort to visualize your ideas and make a lasting impression in the minds of your audience.

Related Article: 5 Mistakes in Using Pictures in PowerPoint

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