Think twice before using that visual in your presentation!

What’s the first word or thought that comes to your mind when you see this visual?Beauty. Art. Isolated. Exhibition. Artist. Blank. Thinking. Dilemma. Painting. Reflection. Femininity. Choice. Solitude. Lost. Photography. Antique.No, these are not hints, but the responses given by a group of people around me when I showed them the same image and asked their thought. Diversely surprised! An image, they say, is worth a thousand words. Indeed it is. But those could be a thousand different words told no one ever.There’s a reason (other than the copyright violations) why you should not pick any image and end up using it in your next presentation. Using an image without understanding the message you want to convey is just like showing your audience the wrong signboard. You both end up travelling your own journey.Your audience, each one of them, is a person different from who you are. And that’s what makes the task of being a presenter all the more challenging. All the more when you are going to share it on presentation platforms and leave it all to them to understand.

You have to carry them along. All together. You are the bus driver who has this task of taking all the travelers at a place, regardless of who they are, how they interact, where they come from. When you show your audience something and let them free to interpret it, each one does according to his personality, and each one of them does it right. No rights or wrongs there! So, how do you issue them a ticket that will make each one of these end up at the same destination where you wanted to take them?Understand your objective well. What is it that you wish to convey? What message do you want your audience to understand (and take along)?Once you have clearly set your objective and the message you want to give, then –

  • Pick up visuals that will carry it strongly, memorably and with least distortion. Choose visuals that will enhance your message and compliment them with words – written or spoken.
  • Put it across to a small group of people (and not the final audience).
  • Take their feedback and understanding of the message, without dropping them a hint of what you meant to convey. 
  • Now that you have both – the message you wanted to deliver and the message they understood; fine tune your presentation – design, visual, text or any element, accordingly. 
  • Repeat. Till the time you end up reaching where you wished to.

Make it a part of your presentation preparations and you might end up surprised at the results you achieve. In my case, I dropped up using the image above after finding out that it did not mean anything close to what I wanted to tell. *Sigh! Just in time.*Your presentation is much more than a mere talk. It’s an experience that you create for your audience. A sign of trust that your audience places in you. Make sure you do justice to that and see them off with something memorable and valuable.How do you choose visuals for your presentations? Let me know in the comments below.

About Author
Akash Bathla

Internet Marketing at authorSTREAM. Admirer of creativity. Love hugs, dogs & everything simple. Passionate for kindness. Curious for life!


  1. Well said! Even I take feedback from my colleagues while choosing a visual for my presentation. That saves me many a times from using a visual that had no relevance to my message.

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