When you think of memes, chances are you think of a teary-eyed cat or Kermit the Frog drinking tea, so what does this have to do with presentations? Since the dawn of the Internet, memes have gradually grown in popularity until they reached the mainstream and offline arenas. Now memes can be found in ads, merchandise, cultural references, and even political commentary. They are a familiar element that adds lightness and humor to modern life, so incorporating them into presentations is welcomed as a natural progression. Their format allows for a simple image to communicate an idea, which makes them a perfect and fitting addition to your presentation, especially when used cleverly.
What are memes?
Memes are a bit hard to define. Think of them as inside jokes between large communities of people on social media. They are relatable images or phrases (or a phrase over a certain image) that are shared widely for humorous purposes. Memes are often ironic, self-deprecating, or sarcastic. They are reproduced frequently for different purposes and contexts. Sometimes, memes could be references to pop culture, such as TV series, films, music, or current events.
How did memes become popular?
The subject of what is the first-ever meme is up for debate, but early online platforms such as 9Gag played a large role in making memes popular. And considering the vast reach of social media, memes are now inseparable from pop culture. Although they used to be confined to specific forums, they’ve grown in influence and popularity and have crept into group chats, business accounts, and even presentations. They have become a tool for engagement across different communication mediums since they are relatable, familiar, and playful.
Are memes an effective way to communicate?
Memes have grown so much in influence that they can, in fact, now even be found communicating information and opinions. The availability of meme templates allows people to create their own memes to express anything from political views to mundane observations. In recent years, memes have become a way to communicate information relating to public service announcements or for businesses to inform customers of new services, products, events, or updates. They can lighten the mood and appear more personable, especially from more professional bodies.
What are the features of a successful meme?
Ultimately, whether a meme is successful comes down to its audience. The overall purpose of a meme is to make the viewer laugh, and the factors that contribute to that can vary depending on who it’s aimed at. But important qualities of a good meme are its relevance to the audience, its simplicity or how easy it is to understand, and, of course, humor. A good meme is also one that is “remixable,” meaning that it can be suited to different situations and references.
Considering that memes are a visual medium at their core, it’s also important for them to have a simple format that is clean and adaptable. They are used to humorously convey an idea concisely and effectively. To be sure that you choose (or make!) a meme that is right for your presentation, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Tips for using memes in a presentation
Using humor is a great way to connect with your audience. At Prezlab, we are always recommending adding unconventional elements to a presentation to stand out. A meme is a relevant and funny way for a presenter to add humor and lighten the mood. Here are some things to consider when considering the meme you wish to include in your presentation:
It should be relatable
When thinking about the meme you intend to use in your presentation consider who your audience is. Is the meme’s humor relatable to your audience? Is it related to your field or topic? Think about what your audience might find interesting or funny, and work from there.
It should be relevant
A meme in a presentation is not an opportunity to show off how funny you are. Rather, it offers a change of pace by injecting humor. Stay on topic and do not stray from the subject at hand. You will waste time and lose your audience’s attention. A meme should be used to engage your audience by giving them a laugh.
Think about your audience
Be considerate of your audience and avoid memes that are offensive, disrespectful, or inappropriate. A tasteless or objectionable meme can discredit you as a speaker, so remain approachable with a wholesome meme.
Focus on value
Memes are an accessory for your presentation, not the topic. They are used to sprinkle humor into your speech and keep your audience engaged, but they should not take over. Use your memes sparingly and do not overdo them, otherwise, it will come off as unprofessional.
Memes operate as punchlines; they need to be included as an element of surprise. And to be effective, they need to be presented naturally to make them a fun, unexpected addition. If you doubt yourself, it can downplay the humor and disrupt the presentation’s flow. So maximize the meme’s impact, time it right, and be casual.
What are some examples of popular presentation memes?
As part of the ever-changing trend cycles, memes can become popular for a while and die out. There are, however, meme formats that are timeless and are constantly used and revived.
Tools for finding memes
Memes are part of the fabric of social media, so they’re easy to find. Any online platform or forum has a wealth of memes for every occasion, field, scenario, industry, or niche. To find a meme appropriate for your presentation there are several options to search from
Reddit is a platform for several forums discussing all kinds of subjects from professional advice to personal anecdotes. Reddit is also a popular place to share and find memes, particularly through subreddits related to memes or related to your topic where more casual and humorous threads are taking place.
Various social media platforms (such as Instagram and Pinterest) have pages dedicated to memes around different topics. Since memes are a language of their own on these platforms, they are really easy to find. Not to mention the algorithm will surely lead you to more based on the memes you interact with.
Tumblr is a blogging platform where users posts about all kinds of interests from music, events, sports, TV, etc. You can find all types of posts on Tumblr such as videos, quotes, images, and text posts. It is also a very popular platform for memes and many memes are originally reposted from Tumblr. You can follow blogs related to your topic and find memes for all types of humor.
Imgur is an image-sharing website where many memes and funny posts are shared and hosted. Many viral memes and images originated, which makes it a favored resource for Reddit and social media users. Regardless of your niche, Imgur will surely come in clutch and supply.
Create your own
If you have a specific idea in mind, instead of using a meme that doesn’t quite capture your intent, why not create your own? You can Google the template or format that you have in mind, download it, and customize it yourself. Or you could use Imgflip, a website that offers many, many meme templates you can choose from and lets you customize the text.
Memes can offer a welcome break of pace during a presentation. This is why the choice of meme should be thoughtful and relevant. They help get your point across as well as keep your listeners interested and engaged. You can choose a simple, relatable meme from a social media platform, or you can create your own using a template. After all, laughter is the best medicine.