This was a perfect moment. A closed sidewalk, a dog-friendly police officer, and the beginning of a wonderful friendship. All captured in a photo.
I’m not sure when or how but I will use this image in a presentation. Not because it’s cute and it’s full of joy and you can’t help but smile (even the condom in the background is smiling) but because it tells a story.
You get a good idea of who the police officer might be. Someone engaging, pleasant, who loves dogs and is willing to take the time to connect with people and their pets. She’s one of Toronto Police Service’s finest. The dog – Luna The Tuna – is in her glory. She’s people friendly, cuddly and full of life.
By using this shot in a presentation, it gives my audience some insight into who I am as a person. My life, my character, my values – including the fact that I’ll exploit a cute puppy so I don’t have to cross the street and use the other sidewalk. By using this image in a presentation, I’m connecting with the audience on a personal level — something many presenters fail to do.
Sure, it’s easier to sift through stock images or to resort to clip art. And it’s often difficult to find that perfect graphic – the one that will enhance what you’re saying and not distract or disengage your audience. But there is a resource that is almost always overlooked – you’re personal photo library.
Some of the most impressive presentations I’ve seen include photos of the presenter’s family, friends and pets. Images of real life, experienced directly, can connect you in ways that a stock photo cannot. They convey value, passion, and humanity. An audience can relate to a thoughtful person with feelings more than an impersonal corporate voice. They will listen closer and be more engaged.
In an age where everyone is walking around with a camera, looking for those moments to capture and share with the world on Instagram and Facebook, it’s surprising that more of those images don’t make their way to boardroom projectors.
The next time you find yourself taking the easy route and slapping a stick figure in your presentation, don’t. Take a minute to determine what you want to convey and find a personal image that helps you tell your story. And if you don’t have one, create one. Because convincing people of your ideas takes time and effort and a little piece of yourself. The power of persuasion lies in the personal.