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Should Professional Speakers Ever Use GIFs or MEMEs In A Presentation?

Posted on October 23, 2017

Should Professional Speakers Ever Use GIFs or MEMEs In A Presentation?

Linda Miles tells me that Zig Ziglar taught her that “you don’t have to use humor in your speech unless you want to be invited back.”  For those of us who struggle with telling funny stories, GIFs and MEMEs can give us just the boost we need to get our audiences laughing.

Most of us have received GIFs and MEMES from our children, friends, co-workers or even used them ourselves in social media.  And it’s becoming easier and easier to use GIFs and MEMEs in a text message, social media, as a witty email response.

But is this too silly or casual for a presentation?

It depends.

As with anything; pictures, videos, font, colors… anything we select for our presentation has to have a purpose.  And there is a place for humor done right.  Humor helps our brains relax, it helps us remember feeling good about a presentation, and it helps us connect with one another.

So rather than throw this entire class of visuals out the door, take a moment to consider whether some appropriate humor can help you be more memorable.


WHAT is a GIF?giphy (1)

GIF is actually an acronym for, “Graphics Interchange Format,” and is a series of images weaved together to make a soundless short video clip.

Believe it or not, the GIF has been around for almost 30 years. A recipe consisting of the “.com” boom and Pop Culture contributed to its widespread use.

WHERE do you get a GIF?

    • The easiest and most popular site to get FREE GIFs is GIPHY
    • Most smart phones and social media sites have embedded GIF libraries

HOW should I use a GIF?

You can download a GIF from and select the format .mp4.  From there, simply drag into your slide and set the playback for “Loop until stopped”. This GIF could be used as a humorous way to ask the audience to pay close attention to the next thing you are going to say because it is critically important to your topic.



Why Aren’t You Using GIFs and MEMEs In Your Presentations?Memes get their name from the word “meme” which means imitation. A meme is usually-but not limited to- a picture accompanied by text. Typically, the image is something                        commonly recognized accompanied by text that added by a 3rd party.  LifeWire also classifies a meme when it goes insanely viral on the internet.

WHERE do you get a MEME

Social Media sites like Facebook allow you to create your own meme through their messenger app. Most Android phones have meme making features and sites like Make a . But truly, you can create one in PowerPoint or Keynote simply with text!

HOW should I use a MEME?

Humor and surprise light up a part of our brain that aids in memory, so used carefully, you can help drive home your message in a powerful way.

Becoming memorable (for the right reasons) means stretching out of the norm and into a creative space that people haven’t seen before.  Are you ready?