This was triggered indirectly by a client who has kindly given me names and e-mail addresses of several of his contacts, and I needed to use something to attract at least a fraction of their attention; business people, as we all know, are very busy.
I have been mulling this since last weekend, and yesterday, eurêka, I think I had an idea.
The hitch here is that I have never designed a PowerPoint in my whole life, although I have had my share of PowerPoints for translation or as presentation aids at conferences, these are useful tools for interpreters, as I pointed out here. I am not a PowerPoint expert, but I have been able to help out fellow translators who were not familiar with the tool, and felt quite intimidated. I must admit that the flexible fonts got me in a panic the first time I translated a PowerPoint, but I’ve got over it now I was introduced to presentation tools, in fact, by working on Lotus SmartSuite’s Freelance Graphics quite a while ago.
So there was I last night, when I should have been taking a deserved rest, between 10pm and 2am, working at my PowerPoint resume.
I enjoyed myself so much that I didn’t realize it was 2am until I decided to let it rest for a little while! Learning by doing is what works best for me (except for house-cleaning, which I willingly delegate to my cleaning lady, she’s the expert and I’m hopeless!), so I happily played with layouts, right to left, left to right, image here and text there, one column? no, two columns is best… Wow. Maybe I’ve discovered myself yet another passion… who knows?
For those who believe that needlecraft and business have nothing in common, let me tell you that several years of patchwork and quilt design, working on visual effects and colors, is an extremely useful introduction to designing presentations. The best effects are achieved by streamlining, not piling up information (be it visual or literal). Ideally, PowerPoints should be Modern Art with a readily accessible content.
And even in terms of content, the limited space offered by a slide should force you to include only the most relevant information, not your entire pedigree, which is a problem when you have been in business for as long as me. You have to be selective: Young translators tend to want to list everything they have done (if not more) as they are trying to build confidence, older translators like me have to sift through projects and tend to have much shorter lists, as they can concentrate on the essential.
The result so far is not exactly as I envisioned, and there is always that additional element that you want to cram into the presentation, but I think I’ll get there after a few more days of mulling (my favorite activity), sifting, reworking and playing with the tool. I have a couple of ideas I want to implement, but to do this I need to research PowerPoint’s features… or delegate that part to someone else. One thing that is surely easy to do is adding my blog’s header image as background, for communication consistency. Don’t laugh at me if you know how to do it, just give me a hint. I love that image immeasurably, it has its own story and it belongs to me.
Who said that PowerPoints are boring? That may be so for the audience, but the author can have a really good time. And provided that you focus on the result (grabbing your audience’s attention while making it work for your own interests), and not on the exercise itself (producing the best, prettiest, fullest, etc. slide show), I feel you can produce something that you’ll be proud to show.
And so much more interesting than a bland resume on MS Word (sorry, Word, I love you, but there you are…).
Can’t wait to go back to it…