Often, when I start a presentation design project, I find that the real message of a pitch is buried.

  1. Buried under buzzwords and jargon that make the pitch sound the same as any other presentation out there
  2. Buried under "short cuts": this is a bigger problem. Over time, the company has developed an internal proprietary language where certain key terms summarise the entire concept behind the company. The insiders understand it perfectly, to an outsider it sounds meaningless.

As a result, I tend to get back to the same questions in a briefing meeting. "Why are you different again? What is the difference between your product and the one that company is offering?" My first version of a slide deck often contains deliberately blunt charts that force the client to react and correct a positioning that I think I understood (sort of).

Some people in the room fear that they hired the wrong presentation designer, who keeps on asking the same ignorant questions. Most of the time, I manage to convince them by the time my final product is delivered.

Image on Flickr by Nic McPhee