Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

Are freelance designers missing out on a business opportunity?

In Design Opinion on January 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm
Business Opportunity Comparision
Because she’s willing to create presentations using the software that is most appropriate for an end-user, theWiz broadens potential business opportunities.

It’s the age-old issue: Mac vs. PC.  Which is better? Designers will tell you that the Mac, hands-down, is better for fine design. I won’t argue that point. I respect their devotion.

Now let’s discuss business. I’m in the business of creating great PowerPoint presentations for clients all over the world. I work largely on a PC —  because most of my clients are on PCs.  That said, these PC clients use various versions of PowerPoint, including PowerPoint 2000 (I haven’t run into PPT ’97 for a while), 2003, 2007 and 2010. And, God Bless ‘Em, a few of my clients are on a Mac, running PowerPoint 2004, 2008 and 2011.

And one client uses Keynote.

So, how do I deliver product for these varying end users/uses? I create the presentation materials using the software program that my clients use. End of story. That way, they have what they need to conduct business without dealing with compatibility issues because their designer created the presentation in another version — or program. An added bonus — I’m pretty smart about the potential problems they might face when their materials interact with other presentation software.  I help my clients understand these potential issues, how to avoid them or how to troubleshoot them.  And if all else fails, pick up the phone and call me for help.

That’s business. I get a ton of business because I evaluate end-user needs and use the appropriate software program to create presentations. I’m there for them when they face problems. For those designers who are Mac/Keynote devotees — and want more business — I’d recommend they become more computer/program/software agnostic and help out their clients a little bit.

PowerPoint Audiences are People, Too

In Design Opinion on January 12, 2012 at 11:08 pm

I “grew up” in the marketing and advertising world. For each project we carefully analyzed the target audience in an effort to create relevant and effective materials that connect with them emotionally and compel them to act. We leveraged information using market research, demographics and psychographies. That strategic approach to communications has served me well in my PowerPoint presentation design business.

And that’s why I always ask my clients to help me understand the audience(s) who will be receiving their presentation. Not surprisingly the audiences vary. They vary by age. They vary by profession. They vary by primary language. The differences are endless.

‘Good stuff to know — the differences.

But understanding what each member of your target audience(s) has in common with another, is what I believe makes for a better presentation. It’s understanding that each and every member of an audience is a human being (well, for the presentations I create, anyway). It’s understanding that human beings learn in very specific ways and that a 50-slide PowerPoint presentation stuffed full of paragraph-length bullet points and chart junk (God love ya, Mr.Tufte) does not facilitate learning.

Creating a memorable presentation facilitates learning. Now, I’m not talking about the goose-bumpy, aw-inspiring, keynote type of memorable (which is always a nice touch; right? but not everyone is capable of  delivering that sort of presentation). I mean, a presentation from which people, mere humans, can remember what was said.

So how does one make a presentation “memorable?” How does one help people remember what he or she said? I use science. Yep. It’s called the Redundancy Principal. It’s one of 12 principles developed by Richard Mayer and originally published in his book, Multimedia Learning. The Redundancy Principal states that:

”People learn better from graphics and narration thanfrom graphics, narration, and on-screen text.”

What does that mean for those of us who create PowerPoint presentations (or any presentation using any software program)? Each slide should be designed using  a relevant graphic that relies on the presenter to provide the narrative (vs. the narrative being on the slide. This positions the presenter as the expert — and who wants to listen to a presenter who is not the expert?). Headlines are also important. I’ll discuss that later.

Remember, PowerPoint Audiences are People, Too. Or, perhaps better said, ” … People, First.” By remembering this human element when creating your PowerPoint presentations, you’ll design slides that connect with your audiences in a very intellectual and emotional way.

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