One of the most exciting and terrifying phrases a person in this industry hears is, “You’ll be presenting to the client.” Immediately your heart swells with pride as you imagine the best way to bring your ideas to life and convince the client that your work is without equal. Unfortunately, sometimes that is followed up by those loathed words: “I will send you our PowerPoint template.”
It would be easy to say that I have a love/hate relationship with it. Most creative type’s do. But why? Because few widely accepted programs can kill a great presentation like PowerPoint. As a business tool for those who find presenting difficult, it’s an easy-to-use lifesaver that people will cling to in the ocean of the boardroom. But for a creative presentation, it feels a bit like having a garage filled with tools and only being able to use your hammer. You’ll beat the ideas into your audience instead of the crafting you would have been able to achieve.
Amazingly enough, many of PowerPoint’s strengths in the humdrum business world are its weaknesses in ours. While it allows you to get across tons of information in a short time, many will use it as a crutch, putting their entire script up for everyone to see, then reading it word for word in a monotonous tone that would put Ben Stein to sleep. Add to that the ridiculously overused clipart/visual metaphors, the poor design tools that seem to always misalign images and headlines, and, worst of all, the tiny box that our enormously complex ideas have to fit inside. Sorry folks, but if I’m presenting, I want to do it the Don Draper way: with cool storyboards, a whiskey in my hand, and a round of applause at the close. Hey, one can daydream, right?