How to Get the First Laugh

By Heather Baldwin

Face it, most businesspeople dread sitting through yet another PowerPoint presentation from yet another sales rep. Regardless of how stimulating you think your presentation is, it’s unlikely your prospects are awaiting it with eager anticipation. So, what if you could change that? What if you could pique your audience members’ interest and get them looking forward to your presentation with enthusiastic curiosity? You can, with prepresentation mailings that use custom cartoons.

A custom cartoon can remind audience members of dates and times, make them laugh and plant the seed that your presentation is not going to be like the hundreds of others they’ve already seen this year – all in a single mailing, says Dan Rosandich, a cartoonist, humorous illustrator and founder of Dan’s Cartoons & Graphic Humor ( For example, say you sell dental equipment. Rosandich says you could send a postcard with a two-panel cartoon. In Panel #1 a koala asks his mother: What do koala bears and teeth have in common? In Panel #2 the mother responds: Both hang from gums! A line of text underneath the cartoon might read: We’re looking forward to hanging around with you at our upcoming presentation on December 10th at 3 p.m.

Another way to use that cartoon in a prepresentation mailing would be to print the first panel on the outside of an envelope. Inside the envelope you then would include the second panel along with the line of reminder text and any literature you want to provide audience members ahead of the presentation. In both cases you’re accomplishing a mundane task – confirming an upcoming presentation – in a way that’s fun, lighthearted and memorable. It might even get audience members to look forward to what you have to say because they’ll sense your presentation will be more than slide after slide of bulleted text – that it might actually (gasp!) be fun and interesting. When you do that you put yourself in a position of power before you even arrive for your presentation.

Here’s another example. Say you’re with a plumbing company and will be giving a presentation about your capabilities to an important contractor. You might mail the materials you want the contractor to have before the presentation in an envelope with a cartoon showing a guy emerging from a toilet with his hand on the flusher and a line of text that says: Don’t flush this information! You’ll need it for our presentation on Wednesday, November 9th at 10 a.m.

People have used cartoons and ClipArt in presentations for years, but few people leverage this fun communication medium ahead of the presentation to build interest in and anticipation for their presentation. They’re missing a valuable opportunity. “Custom cartoons are one of the most effective means of communicating your message because they are relevant, they lighten the atmosphere and people will read them,” points out Rosandich. Everyone talks about getting the last laugh. With custom cartoons you can get the first laugh and stand out from your competition before you ever begin to speak.