Images have the power to evoke the full range of human emotion, from pleasure to pain. Eloquent verbal descriptions can create a strong impression, but frequently, a photograph or illustration will make a more vivid imprint in the hearts and minds of the audience. When the human mind recalls an image, it also recalls the emotion associated with the image.

You can include slides in your presentation with one large full-screen image to emphasize a point, or place two images side by side as seen on the right to evoke conflicted emotions.

Two occasions were publicized on an international scale through images of ink-stained fingers. In one, fingers were stained to prevent double voting. In the other, fingers were stained to tyrannically enforce voting. Each evoked very different emotions.

The gesture and ink are similar, but have entirely different emotional meanings.

presentation images that emphasize a point

January 30, 2005: Iraqis voted for the first time since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Militants tried to stop the voting by setting off dozens of explosives that shook Baghdad. Proud citizens raised their purple digits (showing they had voted) as gestures of support for democracy and in defiance of terrorist threats.

June 27, 2008: After Robert Mugabe was defeated in Zimbabwe’s presidential elections, he mandated a run- off ballot where he was the only candidate, and resolved to hold onto power through fraud, corruption, and intimidation. Voters in Zimbabwe were required to show their ink-stained finger to prove they had voted. If they didn’t, they could be beaten, forced to vote, and would face severe consequences at the hands of government agents. Using images often conveys emotional force that words cannot match—particularly when abstract issues like democracy and tyranny are involved.

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