We All Think We’re Good With PowerPoint

Last 2011, fresh from university,  I worked for an advertising agency in Manila, Philippines as an account manager. There was never a time to be idle, we were always on the go, brainstorming, running to client meetings here and there. The job and the industry in itself was stressful, but having the right people on your team and connecting with them well made the toxicity of the work environment be an enjoyable and fulfilling one. I was fortunate enough to have teammates that were fun, easy to work with, and passionate with what they do. Everybody was working with their all, and everybody was reliable. It didn’t matter if we had to live in the office for days until an hour before our pitch, as long as we had our presentations ready and looking spectacular.

The year after though, the team was eventually losing some of its members. Some explored other career opportunities, most were being pirated, and you can’t blame these companies for trying to get these people, they were really good and an asset to anybody. Now, I was a little scared with how things were going to go without some of our key employees. Everyone, including myself, had to step up. And I thought I was fine. Most of our veterans in the creatives department were gone and the empty seats were filled with junior art directors and junior copywriters. We were getting swamped with pitches and most of us were juniors. There were so many deliverables for the creatives team that one of pitches assigned to me couldn’t be accommodated by creatives to make a deck for. As the account manager, I had to keep it going and just make the deck myself. I kept thinking I would be fine, I just had to worry about coming up with the budget sheet and making sure that creatives would submit their deliverables, such as print ad materials, TVC storyboards, scripts, etc. Never did I think that creating that PowerPoint deck would stress me out. After all, I’ve been doing my school reports for years using PowerPoint. The animations are all there, and I was pretty sure I could download some templates and go to YouTube for tutorials in case I wanted more tweaks in it.

I was wrong. Terribly wrong.

See, the problem is we keep thinking that just because we’ve used PowerPoint (and other MS Office applications) several times, we think we’re good. We think we can handle it. I don’t know about you, but I thought I was at least on average with PowerPoint. But in that moment that I needed to put together a pitch deck on my own, I realized I am a total noob. I came up with an almost plain deck with the cheesiest animations, your typical box in, appear, dissolve- typical stuff. Fortunately, my presenting skills were able to outshine my slides and the materials that the creatives team came up with were really good. But just seeing how the deck came out was a humbling experience. It was definitely something I was not proud of. I used to be so giddy presenting with the spectacular decks that our creatives team came up with, but for this presentation, my deck was as good as just writing on the board with a marker- heck, the board and marker may have even been more special than what I came up with. What’s worse is I could’ve had more hours to sleep and focus on what I was going to say rather than spend so much time on the deck as well.

To keep the long story short, what I’m trying to say is we aren’t really experts when we’ve done something a lot of times. We can be good at what we’re doing, but maybe it’s not good enough. Maybe there are some out there that can do way more than how we do it. And if it’s something very important, like a pitch for a major client in my case, we just have to give it everything to make it the best it can be. Now, I’m not making a shameless plug out here (well, maybe). But seriously, if you’re presenting and need to make a really good impression, you want to nail that presentation. Lift a heavy load off your shoulders and let the people at SlideGenius do that deck for you. I know some people are master presenters and can have a great show with just them talking, but the extra wow factor in your deck can make a big difference too.

This article was written by Halima, Project Manager at SlideGenius, Inc.

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