Engineering a Great Presentation
India-based Engineering Company transforms their PowerPoint presentations with precision and detail.
Sales and marketing team empowered by fresh new look with elegant but editable images.
BEFORE: QuEST Engineering’s PowerPoint saturated with heavy blue and a dominating logo lacked a clean look and focus.
|AFTER: A new title page featuring all five vertical markets helped define the company while providing a clean and contemporary brand.|
When it comes to designing a Nuclear Power Plant, there’s no room for error. But designing a PowerPoint presentation? Creativity and chaos are often the standard; text-heavy bullet points, inconsistencies, and low resolution graphics are a worldwide epidemic. For executives at QuEST Global Engineering, their bulky old PowerPoint 2003 presentations were hardly reflective of the company’s world-class precision and engineering solutions.
So in August 2011, the Bangalore, India firm hired The Presentation Team to redesign, unify and create consistency in their sales and marketing presentations. The mission: transform over 450 pages of cluttered chaos into 18 unique presentation files supported by a clean, consistent look …within six weeks.
Client Request: “Create Presentations that are Elegant but Editable”
The presentation featured colorful but clean graphs and charts to convey company demographics. One of the key requests: make the presentations elegant but editable. Many of the competing companies submitted drafts with beautiful but un-editable Photoshop graphics. The Presentation Team’s strategy was to capitalize on the functionality and features of PowerPoint 2007 while providing a graphically compelling presentation without using any 3rd party software.
Presentation Design Standards Help Forge a Consistent Look
The presentation redesign started with a series of phone and web conferences to define the parameters of the project. The ten-and-half-hour time difference frequently posed logistical challenges. Based in Delray Beach, Florida, The Presentation Team’s Kevin Lerner initiated several web conferences at 11pm ET, with Anil Malgikar of QuEST logging in for a 9:30am local morning meeting in India. Sometimes the timetables were reversed; as Kevin started his day at 7am with a transcontinental phone call from Anil, who was wrapping up his day with a collaborative conference call of presentation edits.
Simple icon-oriented graphics helped to explain the growth of the company and its strategic relationships.
The challenge of seeing eye-to-eye in reality was equaled by the challenge of seeing eye-to-eye in design theory. Kevin’s design concept for QuEST’s presentations was a clean and contemporary look with minimal text. QuEST’s design concept was also contemporary and clean…but incorporating bullet points and images with a unified look and feel. Ultimately QuEST and The Presentation Team arrived at a presentation standard that was more of a document (or a “Slide-ument”). Body Text was standardized at 10 point black Arial, contained within rounded-edge rectangles with light blue and green gradient fill.
An “intelligent” master page with eight layouts helped to provide a standard look, as did a separate “palette file” of graphical elements that the designers could copy and paste where needed (with PowerPoint’s “Use Destination Theme.”) Copy from the old and paste into the new, and tweak the details. These techniques helped accelerate the design process and repetitious edits helped eliminate inconsistencies.
Standardization and Presentation Consistency Trump Creativity
Standardization and consistency trumped creativity. Clean and professional was the mantra. Design standards included small black round bullets, consistency in image size and shape (rounded edges with shadow), and a focus on editing and consolidation of text.
In addition to the visuals, the presentation story, messaging, and content got a makeover too. QuEST executives worked to present their “best case studies” in each vertical industry presentation. Each of the five vertical market presentations featured several high-level projects that showcased the QuEST’s experience, agility, and competence in managing anything from airplane engines to power stations, to the latest in energy engineering solutions.
Relentless Reviews and Fine-Tuning
For over six weeks, QuEST’s executives reviewed the presentation edits with the same level of detail and precision that they provide for their finely engineered products …leaving no room for error. After 150 hours of pixel-by-pixel editing, word-by-word wrestling, and several sleepless nights, a series of dynamic new presentations emerged.
In early October, QuEST’s account managers eagerly downloaded the new presentations from the company’s intranet, and proudly marched out to the field to showcase the company’s hot new sales tool. And today, the company that is comprised of some of the best and brightest people who are “born to engineer” are also now “born to present.”
Kevin Lerner is a presentation consultant and expert on presentation design and delivery. His firm, The Presentation Team, has helped hundreds of companies and individuals to create world-class presentations.