Category: Just Because

Proposals with Panache: Powerpoint Your Words

Copywriters: Trying dressing up a presentation. Show a client how visual words can be done.

I have a new venue for sending bids: Powerpoint. The inspiration came from the client, a social event and web development company whose owner has twenty years in print production and design. I had finished the main points of my proposal, when the thought occurred to me that just text in an email wasn’t going to cut it. With virtually no experience in Powerpoint (aside from an afternoon of noodling and some simple editing of a presentation) I opened the software, picked a template, and watched the copy scatter rather nicely into five “slides,” including a title page and summary with an enticing closer.

Knowing my client, who’s more of a generalist and not one to review anything with a magnifying glass, I spent time on the slide titles which were, effectively, the main actions. On the bid slide I inserted a text box – again, easy as pie – which was an effective notification that the client was getting a special rate for this two-page white paper.

So it went a little something like this:
Slide 1: Cover Page
Slide 2: Project summary, the Challenge, what needs doing. For this project, I called it “The Travels of Company X,” since I was proposing a company profile
Slide 3: The Breakdown, or costs involved (text box here)
Slide 4: The Game Plan, including payment arrangements, allowable edits and other conditions of service
Slide 5: Summary

I got the job, by the way, and was hired shortly thereafter to develop copy my client’s RFP presentation. We worked in Power Point. Coincidence? Perhaps. Fun? Indeed.

Writers are often seen as introverted and lacking a visual eye. Now, that just might be true – you can discuss on some LinkedIn thread, if you’d really like to depress yourself – but with just a touch of flash here and there, I could prove my respect for content placement and design.

My advice? Start with a simple template and the ‘ole cut and paste. Changing the backdrop might just inspire your words and make connections you didn’t know were there.


The Functional Nervous Breakdown Defined

You know you’re experiencing a Functional Nervous Breakdown when:

  • Your barber makes you nervous
  • You guffaw in public
  • You know what guffaw means
  • You only read Facebook 15 minutes a day. More or Less. You timed it.
  • You can define and classify each of the bodily humors
  • You have no tattoos, but about 8 designs picked out
  • Your resume links work, but your address is incorrect
  • You lost your Social Security Number
  • You don’t have a web site, but you own a URL with your name in it
  • You feed your pet before you cook yourself a meal
  • You think a lot about cities like Portland, San Diego, Sedona, Austin, Greensboro, & Madison
  • You have to schedule time for practiced laughing
  • Your spreadsheets are penny-perfect
  • You emoticon on every email, especially for business
  • Your wardrobe is turtleneck-driven

Welcome to the world of unanswered prayers, but good credit and steady friends. A Functional Nervous Breakdown is about as deep as emoti-pain can get. We have good credit, updated resumes, and broad smiles. We vote progressively, take time for petition signature collectors and smile at kids on the street. Yet a chasm of inexplicable, shameful horror is just – look for it – just behind our shoulder, the shoulder of our writing hand, hovering and waiting to manifest a stagnant, apocryphal world.

In other words, those suffering from a Functional Nervous Breakdown possess a tremendous imagination, but have no job or hobby to put it in.

Perhaps a Depression-Era, government-supported works program is the solution.

Or maybe just a good night’s sleep.

My wonderful colleague Laurece West just coached me

My wonderful colleague Laurece West just coached me on a new web site.  All her points were valid and inspirational.  And I’m always happy to work for you, my wonderful clients.  I love to watch the site build out and get more approachable and helpful and exciting with each post.  

But me? 

Right now I’m in my tangled knitting stage.  All the yarn is tangled and requires patient unraveling.  However, I’ve got the pattern and the color and the final object is in sight.  

My grandmother always bought Red Heart yarn.  Red Heart forever.  Gma, always.Imaget


Salad Dressing

I’ve taken to decorating my salads, experimenting and fussing until the spacial balance is just so and I feel righted. Not that this is an exercise in geometric precision; it is, rather, a valve through which I release money anxiety. I’ve carved a passage from email and phones calls, and from my cutting and chopping emerges a feast of visual comfort, a blanket that wraps me in local produce and sound nutrition. I’m granted the space I need, a time warp that proves to my haggled self what a beautiful world looks like. Gorgeous and smooth, especially when I take the time to chew.


Peter Gabriel came to mind.

I have so much music available to me, easily and crazily accessible, that I just put on what comes to mind before deliberating, before any second thoughts that could eat ten minutes of time and result in no satisfactory decision. Peter Gabriel’s Last Temptation of Christ came to mind, the soundtrack. I remember very, very little of the movie. I only came to enjoy the music long after.

Next year, Istanbul. Tonight? Just sleep.

The percussion of Gabriel is able punctuation. The music is set low and I can hear water running through the pipes in this house, this brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn. I am ready for onward and upward movement. I’m also ready to commit to my blog, to design and shape her.

But not tonight. Tonight just sleep.

This marks the end of a “blogathon,” or 31 posts in as many May days. I have completed this task with a minimum of bother. I’ve got a good view, I’m in great company, my voice is wafting the streams and waves. Tomorrow I go off to DUMBO, for inspiration and emails. Tomorrow I begin the Istanbul list.

Thank you Michelle Rafter!

Aaron and Jody

Aaron grasped Jody’s waist in a sideway embrace. Jody, in turn, leaned against Aaron and raised her leg, a balletic gesture that she immediately abandoned for a jump-back and punch on Aaron’s arm.

Both sported blue t-shirts with identical logos. They were thirteen and fourteen, respectively, but in the same grade. The afternoon had much in store for them – their class had ventured to the center of the city, where they would meet with some real artists and then go to a museum. Each child had special permission to attend and no one was due home before dinner. The Friday excitement was palpable, so an embrace and hug was definitely called for, but teenage encroachment demanded distance and joking, too. Jody did as much with her jump-back. Aaron, a little confused, kept smiling and let it go, because all the children, about two dozen, were being corralled by the their teacher, who didn’t wear one of the t-shirts, but, in loyalty had chosen a blouse in a similar royal blue.

Michael’s Hitchhiker’s Guide

Judging from my brother Michael’s pic tweet, he’s been able to ring in his birthday with an outstanding find: a first-edition copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. Mike was and remains a huge fan, a repeated reader and, now, a collector. I read and thoroughly enjoyed the first and the second installments, but aside from the main character lying in front of a bulldozer, that’s about all I remember. And I only participated in because of my brother’s enthusiasm and the jokes he shared, which were hilarious. Mike’s an excellent mimic.

So a brief missive to my little brother as, twenty-plus years on, an aesthetic love continues. Happy Birthday, dear MCK!