I've heard this several times from clients who've come to me for help with their slide shows: "My boss/conference organizer/client wants me to take all the images out of the PowerPoint. He says they're 'fluff.'"
This comment always irritates me, but what else should I expect? Long ago, in a land far, far away, someone decided that a presentation could not be taken seriously unless it was accompanied by a PowerPoint chock full of text, bullet points, charts, data and citations. Someone decided that we can't call it "work" unless we wish we were somewhere else.
Because images, colors and visual stimulation are okay for little kids, but once we're grown up, there is too much danger of enjoyment breaking out if we don't follow the rules of serious presentations. And we all know a presentation is no good if we're enjoying ourselves too much.
So let me post again some resources on making your PowerPoint more effective with more images and less text:
New research about PowerPoint titles
Why you can't read slides and listen to a speaker at the same time
Is the font on your PowerPoint big enough?
Jennifer Kammeyer's Comm Comm blog on PowerPoint research
Laura Bergell's post "Slides are not handouts"
Cliff Atkinson's book, Beyond Bullet Points
Garr Reynolds' book, Presentation Zen
And let me remind you that the best way to help your audience retain information is to serve as many learning styles as you can. The more you can do to reach your audience members in the ways they learn best, the more likely they are to remember your message.
Here are some resources on learning styles:
Learning Styles and Preferences
Learning Styles Explained
Learning Styles and Strategies
And for fun, here's a post from Chris Spagnuolo's Edgehopper blog about librarians reading to children at story time, and what you can learn from them.
The way we learn as children is still valid once we're adults. Don't fool yourself into thinking that the more statistic- and text-laden your PowerPoint is, the more effective it will be. Sure, you'll be taken seriously, but your audience will be bored out of their minds. And they'll remember very little.
Others may call it "fluff," but images and other kinds of visual, auditory, verbal and physical stimulation will keep your audience focused on you and your message, not using your presentation for every child's all-time favorite part of school: nap time.