Cartoons and the Business Presentation
How do you feel about using cartoons within business presentations? I seldom use them, but I have seen them frequently. And with varying degrees of success.
I have yet to hear a presented business cartoon elicit wild, side-splitting laughter from a business audience. The best
I have heard are polite and possibly sincere chuckles. And the most I have ever given up is a wry smile.
And I'm a gal who laughs heartily. At almost anything
But given the business setting, a wry smile or a little chuckle is probably appropriate. Make the audience warm up to you or your subject a little. And maybe it is the best a business presenter can possibly expect.
(Please, somebody prove me wrong! I love to laugh!)
Sadly, most cartoon presentations I see have missed the mark by a huge margin (I'll tell you about the worst cartoon presentation I've ever seen later in this post. It was a doozy.
But I've also seen cartoons used successfully in business presentations. Here are three factors that make the cartoon-within-a-presentation work:First, the cartoon must be in context
. It can't just be this funny, unrelated thing that you throw in there. It actually has to have something to do with the topic at hand. The best cartoons connect your audience to your content...emotionally and positively.Secondly, the cartoon must be independent of explanation.
Good presenters don't read slides to their audiences: and they certainly don't read cartoons to them! If your audience didn't connect with your cartoon, don't even try to explain it to them. If you have to explain why something is funny: it is not funny. Move on.Thirdly, the cartoon must pack ONE hard visual punch
. One-panel cartoons tend to work better in business presentations than multiple-panel cartoons. As a presenter, you don't want to be speaking while your audience is reading. Either they'll ignore you while they're reading (bad) or get annoyed at you for yapping while they are reading (worse). You can always remain perfectly silent while waiting for your audience to read multiple panels...but there's a big
pitfall: certain audience members will always read faster than others. The speed readers will laugh first, which annoys or insults the slower readers. The slow readers will then pretend that they read the joke, but to protect their egos, they won't laugh.
"Oh, yeah, I read it. I just didn't think it was funny."
That's why cartoons with clear, simple graphics work better than long, wordy cartoons. In essence, the best business presentation cartoons are very much like good PowerPoint slide designs: high visual impact, few words.
As for my pick for the worst use of a cartoon in a business presentation: it has to go to the fellow who used a cartoon that depicted three different bodily emissions. And I'm not talking sweat or spit: these three emissions are typically only seen in private.
His presentation was beyond "thud". The audience emotion was horror, embarrassment, disbelief -- a wide variety of negative emotions. So even though the cartoon met 2.5 of my criteria above (in context, highly visual, emotionally connected with the audience), there's probably one more factor I should mention: keep it clean. The cartoon emotionally connected with audience, but not in a positive way!
And remember, cartoonists like to get paid for their creative efforts. I've seen too many cartoonists who have their copyrights violated. It is illegal to scan a comic strip that you find amusing and include it in a public presentation. You have to give credit (and/or cash) to the cartoonist.
So when you want to check out some high quality cartoons for use in business presentations, visit these four sites:
- Newsletter Cartoons Ted Goff offers reasonable rates for the use of his cartoons in business presentations. You can also get free cartoon feeds for your website.
- New Yorker Cartoons The New Yorker offers its classic business cartoons for use in your PowerPoint presentations. They have a sale going on - $19.95 per cartoon.
- Andertoons Mark Anderson offers cartoons for your presentations and webfeeds.
- Glasbergen Cartoonist Randy Glasbergen has more than 1,000 business and computer cartoons at his website.
Anybody know of any more good (clean) business cartoons?
Labels: fun, PowerPoint Presentation