Powerpoint is an amazingly effective tool to get your point across. It summarizes messages and allows for a strong and convincing presentation – so long as all parts of production are in professional hands. Sadly this seldom happens. Here’s one of my cases.
Recently a Real Estate agent asked me to help him prepare a presentation in English for prospective overseas customers interested in buying properties in Israel. We agreed that the size of the presentation would be around 15-16 slides. I explained that creating such presentations is the work of two specialists – one dealing with verbal content (the marketing writer) and the other with visual content (the graphic designer) – both having their fees. He nodded his head.
I got started on the planning and the texts – how many slides on each topic and how many words to write in each slide. Definitely not ‘Death by Bullet Point’ for me! I pulled together all the messages and even inserted a relevant photo for every slide – so we could get to a meaningful Draft 1. I stressed the point that my work was to supply the verbal content and not the visuals.
I’ve been involved with a small number of Powerpoint presentations where the client understood that professionalism needs to run through every part of the project.The key is that people can flip back and forth between slides and at every stage get a well-formed, interesting message. In so many other cases, clients assume that because the tool is easy to use, so is the material that fills it. Nothing could be further from the truth.
My client had asked for a lower price for my writing services and because I empathized with his goals, I agreed. I also thought he would be a source for more work. When I submitted the first draft of the presentation, he asked “Where is the graphic design, I thought you were doing it”. “No, that’s a separate cost,” I said, adding “You cannot expect for the diminished price you’re paying me to get the graphics included as well.” He started to review the fine details of our work agreement.
Meanwhile I sent him details of a very reasonably-priced graphic designer. However he thought that somebody in his team (another agent) could deal with the design. Rather than risk the whole project coming out ‘half-baked’ (or in fact ‘quarter-baked’) I decided to recall my invoice to him for half my fee as an advance payment. In effect, I gifted my work to him as the only way to escape from the approaching mess and mediocrity.
See my earlier blogs about ‘Saying NO’.and ‘Expensive is cheap’.