Common Presentation Image Clichés

overused and abused cliche images for a presentation

The more cliché images you present, the more negative your audience’s opinion will be. To be a presentation warrior, you need to be aware of common presentation clichés. Let’s become familiar with these so you can recognize them.

Throw out your first thought.

How do we avoid presentation clichés? If it’s your first thought, it’s a good chance it’s someone else’s first thought, and possibly in the realm of a cliché idea. That’s the basic premise. Think your first thought, set it aside, and keep thinking. What happens in that process is it causes our mind to focus a little more, to really pay attention to what we’re trying to express. Usually when we get in that state, we’ll come up with an idea that is a little more original and appropriate to what we want to communicate, and probably better for our presentation.

presentation brainstorming rules

When we’re trying to think of ideas, it’s often like a brainstorm. When you’re thinking about this you want to get your mind in the state of a good brainstorming environment. There are some rules to set this up: One, you want to withhold the judgment of your ideas, and not create a negative environment where your mind is afraid to share ideas. You want to have a warm receiving environment where all ideas are okay, even encourage wild and exaggerated ideas!

This is because sometimes the craziest ideas are the ones that change the world. Sometimes they may be crazy, and maybe they are not used for the final idea, but they spark something in someone else’s mind that will be the great idea, which might have not ever have gotten the spark had you not shared it. For now, go for the big crazy ideas. You want to go for quantity, and have a lot to choose from. If we’re trying to think of ideas, ways for representing something, you want to set up a good brainstorming environment, and here are some rules to help make that successful:

word mapping for brainstorming

Word Mapping

One way that we like to come up with ideas for images is word mapping. We put the concept you’re trying to come up with as an image in the middle of a circle on a page or white board. Then we stop and say what all the different ways that the word can be expressed, in the above example, the word is “partnership.”  What are visual ways that we can express partnership? We think of as many ideas as we can. We may get milk and cookies, bird and a rhino, many different ways of expressing it. Once we have that brainstorm — the word map — we have a menu to choose from. Then we choose which one is most likely going to work with the audience. That’s the way to move beyond our first thought to more creative ideas.

word mapping for brainstorming

This is an actual word map by an actual artist here at Duarte, named Dan. As you can see, he really applied these rules of brainstorming. He certainly didn’t sensor his ideas. Some are blurred out. He had some well exaggerated ideas, and he went for quantity. But the great thing here is there are so many to choose from. Fuel, for example. For me, fuel wouldn’t be one of my first thoughts about how to express partnership, or even in the top 10 of the ones I threw out. If you think about it, it can work. Our company just acquired another company, and you want to think of something else other than a handshake. You are the fuel to our vehicle. Without you our vehicle can’t move forward and it can’t go fast.

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