Double It And Take Half Off

We’re rapidly approaching the deadline for the big presentation which will mark the end of my Area-51 project and even though putting together a PowerPoint presentation is always something of mixed blessing this project throws an interesting wrench into the process. In particular, what is the best way to construct dual language slides without overloading content or losing viewer interest…

So far, there are two primary options:

  1. Create two copies of each slide: one for each language. The downside is the ping-pong style rotation stands to lose the interest of any viewer who isn’t looking at their primary language slide. This option also creates a potential pitfall by inadvertently insulting any guests by spending less “face time” on their primary language slide.
  2. The next option is to fit all of the content in both languages on one slide. Naturally, the trick here is not succumbing to the temptation of shrinking font sizes to such a degree that neither language is clearly legible by either group of viewers (the result of which just bothers the viewers).

For this presentation, I’ve opted for latter solution. So far, it has been a wonderfully challenging exercise. On one hand, you have to consider the visual component of the slides (mirror image isn’t
always an option) and at the same time you have to use every bit of editing skills at your disposal to make each point as concise as possible so content stays within acceptable font sizes.

Regardless of how frustrating the experience might seem, it is certainly a worthwhile exercise. At the same time, if any readers out there have “enjoyed” the challenge of this process and/or there are suggestions outside of the two options above, thank you in advance for sharing. I’m sure everyone will find your insight enlightening.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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1 thought on “Double It And Take Half Off”

  1. The trend with forward-thinking educators (I hear) is to use graphics, and as little text as possible in powerpoint presentations – one or two keywords per slide is ideal. The idea is that pictures are less distracting, more memorable and reinforce what the speaker is saying. Many people cannot read text AND listen effectively at the same time. Of course, then you have to find freely available photos, which may or may not be a less time consuming job.

    I agree, graphics are always a better way to go and fortunately, the bulk of these slides are varying levels of org charts and governance models via illustrations. ~ Drew McManus

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