Recently I’ve been writing a lot of powerpoint presentations – short, to-the-point presentations of course because in my time I’ve lived through hours of Boardroom Powerpoint Hell and have no wish to inflict that on anyone else.
I said I’ve written a lot of presentations recently – but I didn’t design them. I’m a reasonably good writer but I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a designer and when I do attempt to make a presentation visually appealing, I end up spending more time trying to make it look good it than I did writing it, which seems to me like a pretty inefficient use of time for an inferior result.
I (and the agencies I work for) are in the communications business, which means using both words and pictures to tell a compelling, engaging story. You wouldn’t run a press ad in Times New Roman with bullet points, so why shouldn’t presentations that are supposed to be selling in creative campaigns be creative themselves?
I worked on a big pitch for one agency a few years ago who insisted that the powerpoint was finished 48hrs before the pitch so that a designer on the pitch team could get hold of it and make it more visually engaging. The result was not just pretty slides but a more compelling story.
So I’ve started saying to agency Account Directors that of course I can write the presentation – but someone else will have to handle the design side of things. Because a communication agency’s ‘shop window’ should be just that.