Once a month, I go to an incredible meeting of 100+ successful executives who get together to talk business.
The person who runs the show is an incredible personality — full of vigor, experience, and knowledge. His ability to speak in front of the group each month is a pleasure to watch. Unfortunately, his ability to put together a professional looking presentation is clearly missing and he also doesn’t know how to work his own laptop for the presentation (he consistently runs into mishaps and problems).
This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. There’s a lot of competent professionals and executives out there with ugly, cheesy, and just plain awful logos, images, and presentations. And to top it off, they have no technical experience to operate their own machines.
Their excuse is they’re not competent with the tools at their disposal, they ‘just don’t have the eye’ for design, or they don’t have the money to hire someone who has the ability to make their stuff great.
Guess what? You’re in business. Everything about your business needs to not only be great, but look great too. It also needs the ability to communicate effectively to your audience. Stop hiding behind the old and antiquated belief ‘you’re above all that mundane stuff’ — you’re too important/elevated to have to know/understand your own technology.
Here are some excuses I run into:
“I don’t need to know how to run my laptop.” — Yes you do. It’s your business. If you look like an idiot in front of an audience because you don’t pre-plan and ensure everything is working fine, it’s YOUR fault. Grow up and learn your tools inside out. It’s not an overhead projector, it’s a laptop.
“I know we need to make our website look better.” — Yes you do. You should have done it YEARS ago. It’s almost 2011, not 1998. Your site is the first location most people encounter your image and information. Screw this up and you cut your sales dramatically.
“I have to have my logo/business cards redone.” — Yes, they suck. You look like a hobbyist, unprofessional, and you are wandering through business with an unprofessional image for all of us to endure. Hire a competent creative to redo your entire look. Today. See this post.
“It’s the best I can do or I was too busy to get it done right.” — Are you an idiot? Would you say that to a client? I’m giving my time and energy to meet, greet or go to your presentation — hire someone who can do it for you or take the time to do it. Stop acting like a child.
I know I’ve been a little harsh about this topic, but I meet/greet many people in my day-to-day business. Many have their act together. But there is a wide swath of professionals and executives who are damaging their image and business (and hurting my eyes) when they don’t fix what is clearly and apparently wrong with their image and business. And their attitude is they are ‘too above’ this issue to worry about it — bottom line, YOU’RE NOT.
This is not rocket science folks. Hire a competent creative or designer (I know many great ones) who can help you look INCREDIBLE. Don’t hinder or hurt your message with bad design, tools or planning.
Brought to you by Edward Tufte, my hero. If you don’t know who he is, check out his site, his books, and his workshops. And it you don’t have the time, either hire someone who knows of him or get off your butt and make time.
What are your design pet peeves?