While the power of visuals remains an important element in successful leadership and sales presentations, along with many other forms of public speaking, the rules are definitely changing.

In the not so distant past, the “norm†was a PowerPoint presentation full of text, bullet points, words, and a few pictures here and there. Added interest was created by “fly in†images that came from outside the viewer’s range onto the screen, pop-up lines of text, cartoons and other clip art.

It was acceptable, if not necessarily loved, for a speaker to read the points from the slides.

Now, these quaint forms of visuals, leadership training, executive coaching and presentations are edging rapidly into the digital trash container. Failure to update and modernize is resulting in a lack of attention from employees, clients, prospects and being labeled “old fashioned†or worse, “out of touch.â€

What can you do to improve your presentations, whether to clients, prospects, or supporters, or to reach in-house goals? (Check out our free miniCourse, Present Your Expertise)

These guidelines can help you:

  1. More images, less text. Show and tell!
  2. Make type size at least 30 point or larger.
  3. Keep backgrounds, headline colors and style consistent throughout.
  4. Use photographs and other artwork that you don’t see everywhere.
  5. To keep the audience engaged and ratchet up attention, carefully select clips from video and animated content. You can push your presentation to new heights with these digital components.
  6. Never read aloud the words or bullet points on your slides, unless your goal is to bore.

While you can find many free images for your presentations to download from the Internet, it sometimes pays to purchase royalty-free images from websites that specialize in providing crisp, original visuals. Ask your friends or contacts whose websites, social media and presentations you admire to share their sources with you.

Remember the old but true adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words.†As a word merchant, I still value words highly, of course! At the same time, you can come across as a more effective, dynamic and memorable leader and expert when you add the right visuals to your presentation.

Our Free Resources selection:

Some websites provide free resources, just make sure you credit the photographers and designers. Here is our selection:

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