Thursday, July 24, 2008

Be Cool: Visual Aids

As we have discussed several times before, one of the key aspects of being busy [sic] is attending meetings. Meetings which almost always include a presentation and those presentations don't just make themselves.

Most of the time these presentations are made in Microsoft Powerpoint, although you can do a respectable presentation on Google's document site but no matter how you create it, you're going to have to include some kind of graph, chart, or visual aid to keep your audience from going to sleep. To create that you're first you're going to need some data. You'll have no trouble with this if you've completed the assignment from the previous post. If you have not, you might find some of the ideas on graphjam a good starting point. Perhaps you need something a bit more serious? In that case, there's nobody like Edward R. Tufte to help you get the most out of your fifteen slides of fame.

Be aware that this might look and feel a lot like "work" and to some extent, that's the point. While editing a presentation you can be relaxing at your desk to some good tunes, passing the time, and remaining seated after all that walking from water fountain to water fountain. And the best part is even though you're having a good time doing it, to the casual passerby the stuff on your screen looks like work and it is a lot less obvious than sitting at your desk browsing the American Apparel website. My. God. And, of course, you're honing your PowerPoint and, perhaps, Excel skills in the off chance that one day you have the opportunity to do work that you actually enjoy and want to do.

Until then, keep your analytical skills as sharp as your wit. Remember: every presentation is a sales presentation. And you're a lot less likely to get the boot if you are liked and respected. There's no better easier path to being liked than by making people smile as they buy your bullshit.

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