I strode purposefully into the conference room where my staff was already assembled. About half of them were looking at their phones and busily swiping left to right or up and down, depending on whether they were looking for a date or catching up on what their friends were doing. The other half were talking quietly among themselves and laughing a little, no doubt talking about what they did last weekend or are planning to do next weekend.
“Okay, people,” I said as I closed the door to the conference room. “Let’s get busy. The customer will be here tomorrow afternoon and we need to get this presentation polished up ASAP.” I sat and hooked up my laptop to the overhead projector. “I don’t need to tell you how important this presentation is. We have been selling them for three months on how we are nimble and agile and can meet their specification quickly. Now –”
“Um, Jack?” said Dave, raising his hand slightly as if we were still in high school.
“I noticed the company logo …”
“Yes?” I said.
“I noticed that it’s the wrong color blue.”
“Wrong color blue?”
“Yes, sir. The logo is supposed to be Pantone 2132 XGC, the logo in your presentation is Pantone 2387 XGC.”
“Um … yes. Thank you. I’ll make a note to have it updated.”
“It’s in the header on every page.”
“Noted,” I said, making a note on my legal pad. Then I straightened back up, “And so, we’ll just move on past the title page …”
“Jack?” came Mary’s voice.
“Yes, Mary?” I asked.
“The title font is Cambria and it should be Century.”
“Um … yes … okay. Thank you,” I said, making a note in my legal pad.
“And the body font throughout should be Times New Roman,” said Tim.
I glanced up over my glasses at him. “Very good.” I made another note.
“The title page needs to have our company’s security and privacy markings,” said Ellen.
“Yes. Fine,” I said, trying to hide my mounting frustration. “But I think it’s important that we move on to the actual content of the presentation.”
Having silenced them temporarily, I moved off of the title slide and to the first slide.
“Now on this slide,” I said, “I want to grab their attention. I want to get across to them why we are uniquely positioned to quickly …”
“Um, Jack?” It was Dave again.
“Your bullet list contains diamonds.”
“Yes? Is there something wrong with diamonds?”
“Diamonds are not on the company’s approved list of bullets.”
“You don’t say.”
“Yes sir. I would suggest either dots, circles, squares, open squares, or pips.”
“Very well. I’ve made a note to have that corrected. Now, on this first bullet, I’m going to state how we can meet their schedule because of our agility …”
“Yes … Mary …” I said, finding it difficult to mask my growing frustration.
“The hanging indent on your first line should be a half inch …”
“Listen,” I said to the room at large. “We are never going to get through this if we just focus on formatting issues.”
There was a moment of silence and I was about move on when I heard a small voice say, “Nimble is misspelled in the second bullet.”
Seven hours later the door of the conference room opened and we all filed out, totally exhausted and dejected. We had finally gotten through the three-page slide presentation and had cleaned up all the formatting, font, and color issues. I would just have to review the content at home that evening so that I could make sure it was okay before the customer presentation tomorrow.
I’d call a quick 8 am meeting tomorrow morning with the engineering staff so they could review it. That should work out okay.