An image shouts a gazillion words!

Like Fight Club, there are a zillion ideas and formulae for how much text you should have on each presentation slide.

There’s the 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 rule, that says no more than six bullets point per slide, with each bullet point containing no more than six words, and is readable six steps back from the screen, and the entire slide can be understood in six seconds. And the 10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint, by business legend Guy Kawasaki, suggests that you use no more than 10 slides, and limit your speech to 20 minutes, using font size 30 on each slide. Author Seth Godin, in Really Bad PowerPoint and How to Avoid it, says: “No more than six words on a slide. EVER.”

Okay, okay, we get it already. Don’t make each slide look like the classified section in the local newspaper – check. If there’s one golden rule presentation gurus the world over agree on, it’s this: use good quality images.

Some imagery do’s and don’ts:


  • Don’t use clipart. It’s cheesier than a slice of brie left out in the sun for three days.
  • Don’t use Google images as your personal image library. Not only are there copyright issues, but chances are the resolution will be terrible and it’ll pixelate.
  • Avoid clichés like world globes, chess pieces and locks ’n keys, please Captain Obvious.


  • Only use one strong image per slide. This image should reinforce your message, not distract from it.
  • Use a high-resolution, professional photograph. These can be purchased for next to nothing from a stock image library like Shutterstock.
  • Is your image unique? Unexpected? This is called a ‘Big Bang’ image!
  • Audiences respond well to ‘people’ images. A close-up of a baby giggling, or a naughty expression. This gives your presentation a human face.