Our clients rely on us as their secret weapon. When they engage us to analyze and resolve their performance improvement challenges, we tap our collective of highly specialized industry professionals. Every need is unique, and so should be each solution.
This ongoing series highlights the unique roles and skills that set Solutions Arts’ teams apart from our competition. No matter the project size, one thing remains constant: our clients' mission critical business initiatives are safe in our professionals’ capable hands.
Interview with Solutions Arts’ team member, Brian Prosser, Business Presentation Producer
Question: What do you call what you do?
BP: I’m a business presentation producer. I draw from my skills in photography, computer graphics, and multi-image presentation and production to create messaging that learners can synthesize and recall easily.
PowerPoint (PPT) gets a bad rap. It can be a great tool when used to target a client’s message effectively. We’re all familiar with creating PPT presentations on the fly or using in-house resources. Does it get the message across? Probably. Could it do it better? Most certainly. And, that’s where I come in. I work with Solutions Arts (SA) instructional designers (IDs) to drive learning content through images and presentation. This increases learner engagement and retention.
Question: What drew you to this kind of work? How long have you been in the industry?
BP: I’ve been working in the industry in some form or another for over 30 years.
I studied photography and, when I first learned about multi-image production (multiple projector slide shows), I decided to include it with my existing degree program. Combining the two represented a great marriage of photography and presentation. As a result, I earned my BS in photography with a minor in multi-image.
Through the years, I’ve added to my skill set. For example, I learned when and how to use special effects and computer graphics appropriately. I also specialize in digital editing, creating Ken Burns style video presentations and have used this skill for clients like small theatres that want to create trivia questions and produce ads for the cinema advertising industry.
I’ve been in the field and witnessed many technology standards transform from the Autographix machines back in the ‘80’s and using Aldus Persuasion to PPT as the industry standard today. Creating effective and visually appealing presentations no longer involves very expensive computers and computer programs. Any business, no matter its size or budget, can access affordable technology to develop presentations.
Question: What are your job-related strengths? What sets you apart from the competition?
Brian Prosser (BP): Many people use PPT as a shell to house Photoshopped art. I use all aspects of PPT from animation to linking and branching and all the rich features and functionality the program offers.
Question: Do people often refer to you as a ‘designer’?
BP: Yes, but I don’t refer to myself as one. PPT is a different kind of design. As a business presentation producer, I take an existing deck that our IDs lay out with content, make it pop, and drive the message.
Instead of a designer, I’m a good mix of technician and designer; usually a project has one or the other.
Question: How do you define a good project? What are the hallmarks of a good project?
BP: I really enjoy working on projects that combine several robust features not commonly used. PPT animation features have been misused for so long that people seldom feel comfortable using the feature. When an opportunity arises for me to use it, I like doing so as it harkens back to some of the positives of traditional presentations. It’s also kind of neat to pull from my multi-image days and overlay that on my animation skills.
Question: What makes your job easier/more difficult?
BP: Support is always good; vague or no support is always difficult.
There’s nothing worse than having to do something over and over again because someone isn’t able to explain what they want, or they provide vague feedback. I want them to be direct and explain why it isn’t working for them. I encourage them to help me better understand the point they’re trying to get across.
Question: What best practices do you implement consistently?
Question: What would you like clients to know? Why should clients care about their PPTs?
BP: Care about their PPT – it’s their face to the world.
It should be engaging and interesting. Be open to using more of PPTs rich features and functionality like animation. It can help illustrate a point they’re trying to get across.
About Solutions Arts
Solutions Arts is a performance improvement, custom learning and development organization rooted in proven organizational development and learning standards and practices. Our collective of freelance industry professionals possesses over 50 years of combined experience and a wealth of learning and development theory, practice, and technology at our clients’ disposal. SA delivers results on time, on budget, and with flair offering clients creative and proven solutions to address business challenges.
Our clients and the training community ask us questions and often consistent themes emerge. From making learning stick to developing skills we once assumed every employee possessed, the challenges today’s businesses face can be transformed through a strong learning culture.
Every year, the learning and development industry presents exciting developments, time-saving innovations, and new research. Solutions Arts follows and tests theories, practices, and technologies, and our clients benefit from what we learn. We value sharing what we learn and the opportunity to discuss it here on our blog.