Take a look at this image. It’s part of a series run in WIRED magazine called “Artifacts from the Future.” Every month they feature an imagined everyday object from the future that solves some sort of problem we’re having today. It’s the first thing I look at every time I get that magazine in the mail (#ImSoOldFashioned) because it’s clever, funny, and a great demonstration of what you can do in Photoshop.
What does this image have to do with PowerPoint? Well, last week I attended a Webinar called “Stop Presenting! Start Succeeding – How to Create Webinars That Engage.” It was really good and I leaned quite a bit. But this image appeared in the deck, and that’s when my attention started to waver. Pretty ironic, huh?
The presenter included it in reference to something completely unrelated to WIRED Magazine, futurists, humor, or Photoshop. He didn’t credit the photo or talk about it much at all, which got me thinking, “Where have I seen that before?” Then I clicked away from the Webinar, did a search for “future Huggies,” and came up with this image, along with a collection of all of the “Artifacts From the Future” for 2005. So I spent a little time poking around that page until I realized that I was missing the Webinar. Oops.
One of the big problems with Webinars is distraction. People Tweet, check their email, and surf online while attending. There’s always lots to do online, so presenters need to engage their listeners and give them a reason to focus. If you give people a mystery to figure out, such as “Where did this cool Photoshopped diaper come from?” then your audience is off and running.
- Don’t use uncredited images in your presentations.
- Images unrelated to your content are a distraction.
- Images that are funny, mysterious, clever, and otherwise fascinating are a huge distraction.
- If you really must use such images, spend a few seconds explaining what they are, where you got them, and why they’re relevant to the conversation so that your audience doesn’t go walkabout during your presentation.