Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'll tell you a story

Just as I am settling down after a day spent doing laundry, dusting, cleaning, and catching up with some work, I realize it's already time to pack the suitcase for another trip to the Maritimes. This week is the last that I am traveling to Halifax this year. I return on Thursday and then get to enjoy two weeks without dealing with winter travel. Bliss.

My place is quiet during the day, and once I made myself a cup of coffee, set the laptop on the kitchen table and sat down in front of the computer, I was able to get quite a bit of work done. I have a presentation to give on Thursday and coming up with the narrative is very hard when I'm in the office. There are too many interruptions, whether I'm working in the project room in Halifax or at my desk at PVM. I've seen a few of the presentations put together by colleagues for other clients, and the bar is set high. Forget death by PowerPoint: the slides we are expected to prepare for clients read like stories and are graphically very striking. Fortunately, I have a few decks of sample slides to use for inspiration (and also to save me time when "designing" slides). Thinking of a presentation like a story is really helpful and every time I create a slide I've been asking myself "so what?" It's one thing to show how the client's revenue has grown over the years, it's another to tie that growth (or absence thereof) to revenue trends of their competitors, the industry, etc. So much more relevant, but also so much more work.

Speaking of stories, I also need to start planning for a couple of white paper abstracts I am submitting with one of the Directors. My company is organizing a white paper contest and the contest is a great opportunity to get your name out there. The 800-word abstracts are due December 19, and if our abstract is selected by the jury, we submit the full paper some time in the spring. Not only do winning authors get prizes, but their papers are also published on our web site and distributed to clients.

It's snowing again? I wonder what the weather is like in Halifax. Last week, while Montreal was struggling with the first big snowfall of the season, we were dealing with rainstorms. It was raining so hard one evening I thought someone was washing the windows of the hotel with a pressure-washer.

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