Presentation Fails and How to Fix Them #14: Stock Photos

The ones I’m thinking of are ridiculous: beautiful people wearing suits, pulling comically unrealistic smiles while conducting simulated business situations. I like to mock them; here are some captions I like to use. Use these for yourself (I can make them up all day) or make up your own:

  • She’s blackmailing him.
  • This woman loathes these men with every fibre of her being.
  • This is a ‘team’ of self-serving psychopaths.

Stock photos are pretty easy to ridicule because they’re so unrealistic.

Problem

The other problem with stock photos is that everyone else is drawing on the same pool of images; that amazing image on page one of Google will probably appear in everyone else’s presentation on the same subject, which can be a problem at conferences. Unoriginal, lo-res images don’t inspire an audience and can easily damage your credibility.

Solution

Here’s a radical solution: take your own photos. I know, radical, isn’t it? If you need an image that represents teamwork, try talking a picture of your team, with that excellent camera on your phone. Want to talk about customer satisfaction? Take a picture of your actual, smiling, customers. The benefits? Numerous:

  1. They’re free; no royalty/picture credit worries for you!
  2. No-one will have the same images as you.
  3. You can namecheck your team and your customers, creating living stories of your company’s brilliance with authentic examples of happy customers.
  4. Once the audience realises that all your images are original, they’ll be hooked to see what you’ll surprise them with next.
  5. If it appears that you took the photos, it makes you come across as an engaged, pro-active problem-solver who loves their subject and isn’t afraid to do the basic stuff.

KA-CHING. Makes sense, right?

Related Material

My latest YouTube video, also on stock photos

Delicious Presentations (‘Do You Want Slides With That?’)

Speaker vs. Slides

 

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