Volume 14, Issue 4 - July/August 2010

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Straight to the Point

by Manny Hondroulis

I want to try something new. Rather than writing about how the Internet can help our industry, I thought Iíd discuss how productivity software can help us do our jobs better. Productivity software is a generic term for spreadsheets, word processing, e-mail, slide shows and database applications. The most widely used and accepted suite (compilation of various applications) is Microsoft Office.

After I graduated from college I accepted a position at General Electric. It was there that I was introduced to the ways of corporate America and how presentations are communicated. It seemed that every idea, no matter how big or small, was presented through Microsoft PowerPoint. So as not to be left behind or uninformed in my new position, I spent one Saturday learning how to use the program and Iíve been using it regularly ever since.

The Big Picture
PowerPoint is part of Microsoft Office and is a modern alternative to old-fashioned transparencies displayed on an overhead or slide projector. Itís a great tool in helping you communicate a clear and concise message. I use it when presenting to end-users, architects, influencers and prospective dealers.

Just like in the days of overhead projectors, the basic building block of a PowerPoint presentation is the slide. That, however, is where the similarity ends. PowerPoint is much more. You can incorporate videos, photos, different fonts in different colors, charts, graphs, shapes and animation. You can even create your slides to have a look and feel consistent with your companyís brand.

The key to creating an effective presentation is to first organize your thoughts and then determine the beginning (point A) and end (point B) of your message. In other words, the PowerPoint presentation you create will help your audience and you go from Point A to Point B.

ďThe visual impact provided by PowerPoint goes a long way
in explaining a presumably new concept.Ē

Driving the Lessons Home
The specifics of using PowerPoint can best be explained by the countless books (i.e. PowerPoint for Dummies) and online tutorials on the subject. So letís look at how PowerPoint can be used in the window film industry.

Iíve never been one for taking a casual approach to a sales call, especially a commercial one. Rather than jumping in and measuring the windows right away, I prefer to start the call with a formal sales presentation. So, I build enough time into the appointment to present the prospective customer with a detailed presentation. With laptop and LCD projector in hand, I will display my PowerPoint show on the prospectís conference room wall.

Prior to the appointment, I research the building and end-user and incorporate that research into the presentation; the presentation will center on the reason for my being there. For example, if the end-user is concerned about a nearby terrorist explosion and wants to protect his/her office workers, my presentation will focus on security film. If the end-user is looking to reduce utility bills, my presentation will focus on sun control film. I try not to include too much extra information simply because the point I want to drive home may get lost in the extra detail.

If Iím talking to the end-user about security film, I will include bomb-blast test videos, test results, warranty information and case studies in my slides. The visual impact provided by PowerPoint goes a long way in explaining a presumably new concept to your audience.

Remember Ö
Avoid reading your slides verbatim to your audience. Instead, the slides should serve as a visual and provide a reminder of the important points that you are communicating. Reading your slides will make you seem unprepared or uninformed and as though you are merely a mechanism to regurgitate the desired information.

PowerPoint makes for professional sales presentations and may provide you the increased professionalism necessary to close the deal. Itís a very useful tool that requires only a day or two of practice before it is mastered.

Stay tuned to the next issue when we discuss Microsoft Excel and what it can offer those of us in the window film industry.

Manny Hondroulis is marketing manager for Energy Performance Distribution in Baltimore. Mr. Hondroulisí opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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