Posts Tagged ‘presentation’

Paying the Price for a Professional PowerPoint Presentation

Paying the Price for a Professional PowerPoint Presentation

Paying the Price for a Professional PowerPoint Presentation

Why professional PowerPoint presentation design costs what it costs…and how to justify the expense by focusing on your Return on Investment. 

 

Art is Long...Life is Short - Hippocrates

Sometime around 400 B.C. the Greek physician Hippocrates declared, “Art is Long…Life is Short.”1 

Nearly 2,500 years later, the aphorism still resonates to anyone who is committed to their craft, spending countless hours passionately practicing their profession. Michelangelo toiled for four years painting the famous Sistine Chapel ceiling.  J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter over seven years. And the New World Trade Center will be completed 12 years after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 (although construction on the New Freedom Tower started in 2006).

 

PowerPoint Proposal - Sticker Shock

Yes, Mr. Client, it really does take time!

As a presentation design professional and trainer, I am keenly aware of the time and related costs involved in creating professional PowerPoint presentations.  I work efficiently- not hastily- always aware of deadlines and budgets, and work to calculate time and costs with a scientifically-grounded formula built upon years of experience. Yet when I share my price estimates with business prospects and clients, they are sometimes surprised and struck with sticker shock.

 

Time...Money...Quality: Keeping it all balanced

Time…Money…Quality: Keeping it all balanced

A colleague once asked me, “How would you like it?  Fast…cheap…or good? Pick two.”

The presentation process parallels the creative design process, but with the added component of writing, editing, and assimilating textual content & key messages.  To most people, PowerPoint is one of the fastest and easiest programs; most anybody can work with it to create a sipmle presentation.  But using this powerful presentation program properly takes a rare blend of time, testing, and years of focused experience.

Creating a high-end graphical presentation can be a time-intensive task.  Sometimes the creative juices just flow perfectly and it comes together fast and bright. Other times, it can be a black hole of wasted time, endless edits, and mind-numbing wheel-spinning. Working among others- presentation by committee- can be even more laborious, as people spend more time “talking about it” rather than “acting on it.”  Applying effective Presentation Time Management techniques can help produce quality presentations on time and within budget.

 

Let’s estimate the time for creating a simple 30 page company overview presentation…

TASK # HOURS
Researching/Writing/Creating the Core Text Content  10
Designing the Graphical Template & Theme + Layouts & Animations  6
Researching/Purchasing/Designing 10 Graphics working with Photoshop + inserting in PPT 10
Designing/Editing 5 Tables & 3 charts of Financial Information & Analytics 6
Company Org Charts and Process Diagrams 3
Meetings/Admin 5
TOTAL 40

Working from scratch, this project would take 40 hours!  And that’s assuming everything came together fast and easy.  At $100/hour, the cost would be $4,000.

Even at a race pace of 45 minutes average per slide (some faster/some slower), this 30 page deck would take 22.5 hours…or $2,250.

Heck…simply spending 1 minute per page reviewing and looking at this 30 pager will take half-an-hour.

 

Prices for PowerPoint

Typical fees for a presentation designer & agency

According to HR specialists, the average hourly pay rate for an experienced presentation designer or freelancer (skilled in Photoshop, business presentation writing/editing), is $50 to $75 per hour.  Junior designers work at $30 to $50 per hour.

Creative staffing agencies like Aquent and Creative Circle often bill-out their clients at $70/hour to $100/hour.

Most presentation design agencies prefer to bill by the project, but calculate their costs using hourly rates starting at $100/hour. Some agencies’ top designers or consultants are billed at a rate of over $250/hour.  Presentation design agencies often have the advantage of a pool of experienced talent, and large graphics libraries for fore efficient and creative design.  

The Presentation Team has several pricing models.  Companies wanting ongoing presentation support use a retained-services / contractual working model to save costs.

 

why-do-we-pay-this-much

Justifying the costs and selling the presentation ROI to management

“Why do we need to pay this much for a PowerPoint presentation?”

That question- typically asked by upper management to a middle manager- has killed numerous potential presentation projects at my firm. Senior executives often don’t realize the time involved in creating presentations.  They are either too detached from the behind-the-scenes development of presentations…or simply don’t recognize the importance of a quality presentation.

 

on-the-frontline-of-communications

Not just another document, PowerPoint is on the frontline of business communications

To many executives, “The Presentation” deck is viewed as just another document or report.  But presentation visuals are often seen by more people- internally and externally- than the average report.  From quarterly stock earnings reports, to training presentations, to investor pitch decks…the PowerPoint presentation is often on the front-line of corporate communications.  

 

List of Bad PowerPoint Traits

Poor PowerPoint practices are everywhere!

Yet all too often, the development of these essential presentations are handled internally by administrative assistants or the employee directly. The result: a mosh pit of tremendous text, boatloads of bullets, gregarious graphs, and irrelevant information.  Weak presentations subconsciously affect a viewer’s perception of a company. Presentations should reflect the highest standards of any company.

 

Many Fortune 500 Firms Have a Presentation Design Department

Top companies recognize the importance of “The Presentation”

Indeed, companies who have recognized the importance of “The Presentation” and its reflection on their brand and image (not to mention its effectiveness as a critical communications medium) have a solid edge over their competition.  Many Fortune 500 firms have a dedicated presentation design department, often working alongside the marketing, PR, and/or meeting & events departments.  They often have established guidelines for their presentation visuals (usage, colors, spacing, fonts, etc.) and a well-developed presentation template/theme.  

 

Emphasize Value for Buy-In from Upper Management

Emphasize Value for Buy-In from Upper Management

To a presentation project champion or manager trying to sell the value of a professional presentation to management, its vital to emphasize the value that a well-written and well-designed presentation can have on the company’s image. A $10K investment in a professionally-designed analyst or investor presentation is a small price to pay for a communications tool that will generate exponentially higher revenue.

And even if the presentation never gets shown to an outside audience, its design should be no-less compelling. Often, the content that is created for a small internal “discussion presentation” can be repurposed for a more important company presentation.  

 

Outsourcing can save time and money

Outsourcing can save time and money

Outsourcing a PowerPoint presentation to a professional presentation design firm can actually help companies save time and money, by allowing them to focus on their core competencies rather than relying on internal resources.  Marketing experts and graphics designers- skilled as they might be- often do not have the same skillsets and as an experienced presentation specialist.

 

Presentations Have a Long Life Span!

Presentations have a long life span!

Many presentations live-on, long after the show is over.  More companies are uploading their key presentations to their websites, or sharing them on SlideShare.net.  Indeed, The Presentation is more visible than ever, and should be given the same level of respect and budget as Sales & Marketing collateral, brochures, websites, and corporate videos.

 

Presentation development is a blend of art and science.

Presentation development is a blend of art and science

If the good doctor Hippocrates was around today and tasked to deliver a PowerPoint presentation at a local college, I’m sure he would recognize the artistry and time involved…and wouldn’t think twice about partnering and paying for a true presentation professional to get the job done right. Art is long.

Weller Pools - Before and After Slide

Winning a Big Contract with PowerPoint: Weller Pools


The inside story of how Weller Pools won a giant contract by transforming their basic PowerPoint presentation into a dynamic visual masterpiece.

Weller Pools - Before and After SlideLogo-Weller-PoolsWeller Pools has been in the aquatic construction industry for over 35 years, creating some of the country’s best known and loved swimming pools and water parks. However, their PowerPoint presentations didn’t match up to the standards of their pools!

So in February, 2010 the Orlando-based aquatic developer turned to The Presentation Team to help them improve their PowerPoint presentation to win the business of a Florida-based preparatory school. The key objective of the presentation was to effectively communicate the advantages of the Myrtha Pool Technology, a cutting-edge material that is being used in many new swimming pools.

Weller Pool’s existing 38-page PowerPoint was heavy on text/bullet points and lacked a consistent look-and-feel. Weller had a limited budget and short time-frame, so they enaged The Presentation Team using the “Enhanced Presentation Package”, a quick and easy approach to transform a basic PowerPoint into a get-noticed masterpiece.

Weller was presenting to a small audience of five people. The visual design needed to be bold, graphical, yet easy-to-read.Our design strategy focused on creating a look-and-feel that reflected Weller Pool’s brand and identity, while involving elements of aquatics and technology. The six hour project involved…

  1. Development of a custom professional template (title and body masters), that reflected Weller’s company brand, while integrating their existing PowerPoint content.
  2. Re-working the overall look-and-feel of the presentation (colors, fonts, layout) for a more polished look.
  3. Clean and professional imagery/graphics (portfolio, schematics, people, concept art, etc.).
  4. Clutter-reducing techniques and presentation strategies to create a “cleaner” look with greater effectiveness.
  5. Clean and conservative slide transition effects (fades and wipe effect).
  6. Professional fonts/typography to ensure consistent playback on different computer systems.
  7. Consulting and collaboration to help Weller Pools to further develop and present new ideas.
Before1 PowerPoint-Presentation-Concept-Weller-Pools-After1

Before:
The original title page featured a flat white background with navy blue titles in Arial Narrow font…functional but ordinary! Logos of partner companies crowded the page, competing for prominence and viewing.This presentation design was good for printouts… but not for projection!

After:
Our makeover included development of a new high-tech blue water-drop image background template image (developed in Photoshop) in 16×9 aspect ratio. This widescreen format has become increasingly popular on monitors and laptops and conference room projectors. The body master template featured a flowing bottom arc image integrating colorful and dynamic photos of two of Weller Pool’s projects. Their partner company logo were offset to the right of the page, and the project was prominently featured in left-justified vertically centered on the page in 40-point Gil Sans Font.
Before2 After2
Before:
This original showcased the four-step process of Backfilling. The rectangular images were inconsistently sized and did not integrate any elements (typeface, logo or graphics) from the master template. “Backfilling Process” placed on the bottom conveyed the concept of an afterthought rather than a bold title.
After:
The revised slide maintained the four graphics, with a rounded diagonal corner picture style, to add depth and professionalism. By simply shrinking the photos 10%, the slide gained a level of breathing space, allowing the title to be repositioned at the top in a bold bright orange Gil Sans font, and the logo in a consistent bottom right placement.
Before4

After3

After4

After5

Before:
The presenter spoke for nearly two minutes on thissingle slide, which featured two images and three separate blocks of text competing for space. Additionally, the details of the water activity park photo were small and difficult to see.

After:
To help the speaker express his message more graphically, we “spanned” the single slide across three slides, expanding the image size to fill the page, and giving the audience a more immersive and visual experience…all within the same two minutes. The three graphics were all the same size, perfectly positioned so they did not jump as the speaker flipped pages.

Before6 After6
Before:
The cost savings of Myrtha is clear and well-documented. But presenting the information in a green and red bar chart incurred images of Christmas! And all too often, red is information. The textwas overwhelming and small, and the costkey message was diffused.
After:
To more effectively communicate the cost savings of Myrtha, we reduced the scale of the bar chart, allowing more space on the top and bottom. The colors were revised to two shades of blue, and the cost savings were posted above the bars as separate text elements (not within the bar chart) more prominently at 28 points.

After just four days and three rounds of edits, the presentation looked great! Weller Pools executives rehearsed and refined their delivery with presentation skills coach David Greenberg….then presented to their audience…and won the job! Weller Pools now has a winning presentation and great presentation skills presentation thanks in part to the experts at The Presentation Team!

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs


Create a Presentation the Steve Jobs Way

“It’s not about the software; it’s about the story”

As a communication and presentation skills coach, I often get asked, “How do I make my slides look like a Steve Jobs presentation?” The first thing I tell them is that they do not have to use Apple presentation software (Keynote), although it’s a beautifully refined program. I’ve seen gorgeous PowerPoint designs as well, especially with PowerPoint 2007. So it’s not about the software; it’s about the story. Steve Jobs treats presentations like theatrical events complete with heroes and villains, a supporting cast, stage props and visually stunning backdrops—slides. I know designers who have actually worked with Steve Jobs at Apple, so I wrote an entire book on how to create and deliver a presentation the Steve Jobs way. While there are about eighteen techniques that Jobs uses, one stands out. I call it “unleashing your inner Zen.” Here are some tips on creating a presentation the Steve Jobs way.

Picture Superiority

A Steve Jobs presentation is strikingly simple, visual and devoid of bullet points. That’s right—no bullet points. Ever. Of course, this raises the question, would a PowerPoint presentation without bullet points still be a PowerPoint presentation? The answer is yes, and a much more interesting one. New research into cognitive functioning—how the brain works—shows that bullet points are the least effective way to deliver important information. In fact, memory processing is aided by pictures. Scientists call it picture superiority: ideas are more easily recalled when presented as text and images instead of text alone.

Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication

When Steve Jobs introduced the MacBook Air in January, 2008, the most memorable slide showed the notebook computer being pulled from a manila inter-office envelope to show just how thin it really was. No words could equal the power and simplicity of that image. The average PowerPoint has forty words. It’s hard to find forty words in ten slides of a Steve Jobs presentation. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” said Jobs quoting from one of his heroes, Leonardo da Vinci. Jobs keeps his slides simple by eliminating unnecessary words, charts and other eye clutter. The influential German painter, Hans Hoffman once said, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” By removing clutter—extraneous features and information—from his products and presentations, Jobs achieves the ultimate goal: ease of use and clarity.

To gain a fuller appreciation of Jobs’ simple slide creations, watch the first few minutes of his  keynote presentation at the Macworld Expo, January, 2008. The first several slides have one or two words per slide. When Jobs reviews the new products that Apple introduced in the previous year, the slide simply reads: 2007. Jobs thanks his customers for their support and the slide reads: Thank you.

Confidence, Time and Practice

Creating simple, visual slides requires three things: confidence, time and practice. First, confidence. Slides should not take center stage. The audience’s attention should be directed at you, the speaker. The slides compliment the speaker. That means you had better know your material and have the confidence to deliver your message with conviction. The second thing it requires is time. It’s easy to create cluttered slides—just write everything you want to say on the slide. Thinking visually about displaying information takes more effort, but it’s worth the time to stand apart. And the third thing it requires is practice. Because you’re delivering information that is not on the slide, you can’t read from the slide. You have to commit the information to memory and use the slide as a prompt to deliver the idea. Steve Jobs rehearses for many, many hours over many weeks to get everything just right.

Steve Jobs may be a hard act to follow, but once you start using some of his techniques in your own presentations, you’ll be hard to forget.


Carmine GalloCarmine Gallo is a communications coach for the world’s most admired brands.

The Presentation Secrets of Steve JobsHe is a sought after speaker and author of the new book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience.

PowerPoint for Office Depot

Retailer Office Depot transforms basic PowerPoint into new professional look

New presentation for Office Depot features brighter and cleaner design

Updated visuals help capture suppliers’ attention and promote strategic goal of “One Partnership.”

ODBefore1

Before: The original opening slide had big logos, big photos, and big text. However, the slide’s graphic elements competed with each other for attention.

Office Depot Presentation - After 2

After: We chose one stock photo from Photodisc to replace the four images on the original slide. The logo’s proportions are adjusted and centered. And the text, though smaller, becomes a focal point.

Office Depot Presentation - Before 2

Before: Straightforward but hardly inspirational, this flow chart plainly explains Office Depot’s vendor-selection process.

Office Depot Presentation - After 2
After: The Presentation Team took extra time to re-create this slide by punching up each step and making the slide more visually appealing. Using Macromedia Freehand for the shapes and Adobe Photoshop fro creating PNG images files, we shifted to an icon-based approach. Each “image arrow” is introduced separately with a Wipe Right build in PowerPoint.
 

Office Depot logoWith a nationwide network of megastores, Office Depot has transformed the way America shops for office supplies. The Delray Beach, Fla-based retailer recently needed a transformation of its own, particular for its Supplier Diversity electronic slide show. In early 2004, the company came to The Presentation Team looking to update this 10-slide Microsoft PowerPoint presentation.

The original design was bland and cluttered with content, which detracted from the company’s message. And because of the small number of slides, company presenters were creeping along at a pace of nearly one page every four minutes.

We set out on a mission to overhaul the sideshow by designing with more white space, replacing boxy JPG images with transparent PNG graphics, and improving audience attentiveness by increasing the presentation’s pacing.

We began the full redesign by creating a new slide template using Adobe Photoshop. In a departure from the conventional use of light text on a dark background, we opted for the cleaner look of dark text against a white background. We created a beige banner with muted images of diverse people for the title bar and ran a narrow gay bar across the slide’s bottom for balance.

Several slides featured complex bullet points with complex concepts. To help the presenter more effectively communicate these ideas, we expanded these bullet points onto separate slides. The presentation increased to 18 slides total.

We returned to Photoshop to work on the graphics. We chose updated images from Photodisc, resizing them and using channel masks for highlighting as needed. We saved the edited images as PNG files and imported them into PowerPoint.

Finally, we replaced the original fly-in graphics with graceful wipe and fade effects. The result was a clean and updated presentation that captured the excitement of the sales force and viewers.

 

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  • “We engaged The Presentation Team to do a Presentation training for our team and he did a great job. He spent time understanding our requirements and the skill level of our team members and created a course which met our expectations and goals. I highly recommend The Presentation Team as a Presentation (PowerPoint) trainer.”

    Navdeep Sidhu
    Senior Director, Software AG

  • “Kevin Lerner provided best-in-class services when hired to work on promotional materials for the launch of a key product at Motorola. The expertise and quality that he brought to the project were second to none and as a result, he delivered a top-notch presentation that was quickly adopted throughout the organization. Kevin is great to work with, delivers on time, is a great team player and is always willing to go the extra mile.”

    Maria Cardoso
    Motorola

  • “Kevin has been a working with Cox Communications to deliver world-class PowerPoint presentation visuals since 2009. His ability to meet our specific needs, timeframe, and budgets has been exceptional. His professional interaction with our team reflects his deep expertise in the industry, superior presentation design skills, and commitment to superior service.”

    Jonathan Freeland
    VP, Video Marketing at Cox Communications

  • “Kevin is an enthusiastic, creative, and passionate presentation guru. Our company was impressed and felt the value of his training in 2013 that he was invited again recently to again share his knowledge. Both times he has been energetic and addressed many areas for presentation development. From planning to follow-up Kevin is personable and easygoing, motivating our teams to take their presentations to the next level.”

    Yoshimi Kawashima
    Project Coordinator, Nissin International

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from tips & tricks to aesthetics, all with the intent of getting the message across crisply and creatively. I’ve already received praise for decks that incorporate the skills obtained from his training. I highly recommend Kevin’s services.”

    Era Prakash
    General Electric

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from “The PowerPresentations seminar opened my eyes to all the limitless possibilities in presenting.”

    Leah Gordillo
    Saint Francis Medical Center

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from “[Kevin and The Presentation Team have] always delivered 110% in terms of meeting our objectives for finished product and budget”

    Paul Price
    Watsco Corp.

  • “I had more people come up to me after I spoke, commenting on the visuals you created, than I did on the subject matter!”

    Andy Smith
    Smith & Robb Advertising

  • “As a Fortune 1000 company, we sought to produce a classy, yet conservative presentation for our shareholders. It was evident that you and your team listened to our thoughts as you developed the presentation…”

    Will Flower
    Republic Services

  • “Your expertise in the filed of PowerPoint and general presentation techniques helped elevate us to the level necessary to beat the competition.”

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    James Pirtle Construction

  • “Kevin brought a high level of creativity, enthusiasm, and deep multmedia experience to our team. He worked dillegently with the team to produce an outstanding proposal which we subsequently won.

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