Even if you have only read PresentationZen or Slide:ology, but all the more if you have read other books by Garr Reynolds and Nancy Duarte, if you are on this blog, you already know that sales presentations have to be visual. While browsing those books and surfing the ‘net, you couldn’t help but notice the visual impact of certain incredible slides. You know that visual effects can be achieved whether or not you use an image:
- Sometimes visual impact can be achieved just by using a particular font
- And sometimes by using breathtaking images as a background.
Still, if you have already begun to shift toward visual sales presentations for greater impact, you know that finding the “right” image is not easy, and can be quite time-consuming if you don’t have a technique. Without a technique, just searching for an image when you want to give one particular slide extra impact can be a colossal waste of time. And sometimes, you simply won’t have the time to find that high-impact image, and will have to settle for run-of-the-mill instead.
So, what are the techniques for finding the right image without wasting huge amounts of time?
First, we have to distinguish between techniques that are key to success, and those that are complementary.
- The keys to success are the basic principles needed for a slide to make sense. A chair can stand on three legs, and it is fully stable if it has four. The same holds true for a slide: there are four key principles that always apply; if you are missing one, the slide is unstable, but if you leave out two, it simply won’t work.
- The complementary techniques, on the other hand, should only be used advisedly: you must know them so you know when to use them, and when not to.
Below are the four key principles that I rely on when making a slide. They are in 90% of my slides, and if they’re not there, it’s not because I didn’t try, it’s because I didn’t succeed. After all, nobody’s perfect. Below these are the 16 complementary techniques that I use, individually, depending on the context and depending on the slide.
For some of these 20 techniques, I have provided a link to more information on the subject.
The 4 basic pillars of visual sales presentation slide:
- The relevance of the image: Does it support and reinforce the key point in your slide? Stay away from photos that decorate or simply echo your words, like pictures in a children’s book. Click here to learn more about image relevancy
- Avoid cheesy images: Click here to learn more about avoiding cheesy pictures
- Suggest, don’t illustrate: the goal is to get client thinking, not to take him or her for an idiot by illustrating a car using… a car: Click here to learn more about suggesting instead of illustrating
- Illustrate ideas, not words: Click here to learn more about illustrating ideas instead of words
The 16 complementary techniques to select photo in your sales presentations :
- Use unique, original, surprising images that stand out.
- Opt for photos containing empty space, or what Garr Reynolds calls “negative” space.
- Choose images with objects in the foreground; this lends depth and creates a unique, interesting effect
…. especially if the depth of field provides contrast between the focal point and other, blurred areas.
- Photos that capture movement can give your slides dynamic impact.
- Choose attention-grabbing colours and contrasts.
- Preserve visual impact by matching the color of your text to the photo. Click here to learn how to adapt the font color to the background
- A repeating element in your images underscores a key point.
- Crop your images, don’t reshape them. Click here to learn how to crop instead of stretching.
- Use professional images purchased on specialized sites. Click here to learn more about image specialized sales
- Texts and images are linked: each one modifies the other.
- Apply the rule of thirds to enhance the visual impact of your photo. Click here to learn the rule of thirds
- Some photos use original angles to create viewpoints that grab your attention, even for commonplace subjects.
- Use photos that evoke an emotional reaction in your clients, to push them to draw conclusions: people (re-)act on emotions.
- Use humour and provocation to engage your client and evoke a reaction.
- Change the key words in your search. Opt for sites like iStock that allow you to search using combinations of several key words.
- Keep an eye on the time, and limit your image search to keep it from becoming an endless chore…