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Regarding Vanity Slides

Dear Reader,mic

Crafting Vanity Slides

You’ve given an outstanding presentation. You’ve educated your audience. You’ve led them down the path of enlightenment. Now, before you finish, let them know how to get in touch with you.

Vanity slides are important because they are the one slide in your deck on which you can put anything you want. If you want a picture of your dog, it’s perfectly ok to put it on your vanity slide. Wife, husband, baby,  favorite TV personality, who cares? This is the one slide you can do with as you please with impunity.

So if you can do whatever you want with your Vanity Slide, what makes a good vanity slide? You need three simple things to make it work for you.

  • A Picture
  • Contact Info
  • Something Personal

A Picture

Usually, this is your picture, however, it doesn’t have to be. Seriously, use a picture of whatever you want.  You, your pet, your hobby, your significant other, it’s your slide. It is best though that the picture have some relation to you. Putting up the clown from Stephen King’s “IT” is probably not the best idea…unless you are Stephen King.

The best pictures are of you. They don’t have to be professional head shots though. Action shots of you doing something are great. I’ve seen pictures of people climbing a mountain, people hiking, and then yes, sometimes, just people smiling at the camera.

If you have a presence on social media, try and use the same picture you use in your profile. This will help build what marketers call “Brand Awareness”. If you don’t have a social media presence, or if you don’t use your picture on your social media accounts, you are missing an opportunity.

Contact Info

People may want to reach out to you. Yes, some of them are going to want to pick apart points in your talk. Other people may want clarification on something that they didn’t understand. Sometimes, someone just wants to contact you to say thank you. Whatever their reason, don’t leave them hanging, give them your prefer methods of contact.

Be careful what information you put in this section. If you don’t field emails about your talks, don’t put an email address here. If you don’t want calls from Brazil in the middle of the night, don’t put a phone number here. Put only those methods of contact that you actually want people to use to contact you. For me, that is:

  • Email address
  • Twitter
  • Blog URL

That’s it. Those are the only ways I want people contacting me, so they are the only ways I publish.

Something Personal

Finally, give them something personal to remember you by. This may be a tidbit like your favorite hobbies, it may be the logo or URL of your current pet project. Whatever it is, make sure that you give them something personal. For me, it’s usually the Nomad PHP logo as that is my pet project. Again, this would be a good place for a picture of your actual pet.  Whatever you want, leave them knowing a little something about you.


A final word on your vanity slide

I’ve said this for years but it bears repeating. There are two kinds of people sitting in your talk.

  1. People who are interested in your subject
  2. People who know you

Notice I didn’t list “People who want to know why you are an expert on this topic”. The first group doesn’t know you but something has already convinced them to come listen to you. There is no need to lay out your case for being an expert.

The second group already knows you and either is excited about hearing you talk, or are there anyhow.

Put your vanity slide at the end. Don’t tease your audience by saying “Here’s what I am going to talk about…but first, a little about ME!”

Put your vanity slide up as you finish, or as you start to answer questions. Leave it up until you are done and start tearing down. This gives people plenty of time to copy down your information. You also get an added bonus if you are speaking at a user group as your vanity slide will usually stay up during the organizer’s closing comments.

Vanity slides are important, both in what they contain and where they appear. Getting yours right is just one more step in spinning a good yarn.

Until next time!
I <3 |< =C=

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