If you’ve ever seen a movie starring Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, then you’ve seen a sick action sequence. Maybe it was a car chase, maybe it was a thirty-on-one fight, or maybe it was just Arnold yelling at the top of his lungs at a group of whimpering toddlers. (Kindergarten Cop was a strange, strange movie.) The constant, quick movements of the camera hide the fact that, in most cases, there really isn’t that much going on. Bruce’s fist isn’t making contact with the villain’s jaw, Vin’s car is only going 65 miles per hour, and Arnold- well, he really is yelling at those little kids. It’s all about distractions. If you can get your consumers, the audience, to look at something other than the lack of actual action, then you’ve done your job.
The xx (don’t ask me how to pronounce that) are a British indie pop trio with shy voices and calming melodies. Their catchy singles have been used in countless TV shows and covered and mashed by a wide variety of artists like DeadMau5, The Gorillaz, and Shakira. It is their music video for Crystalised, however, that really sets them apart. They don’t need to distract their viewers with synchronized dancing, car chases, or even petrified children. They are able to stand in the same spot for the entirety of the 3’22” video and simply do what they do best: perform their music. Sure, there is some fancy lighting and interesting camera cuts, but at the end of the day the music video is great because the song is great. What a crazy concept!
The business world should take a hint from these soft-spoken Brits when it comes to quality. It’s great to make your presentation aesthetically pleasing. Heck, throw some sounds into that PowerPoint Presentation if you want to. What you don’t want to do, however, is distract your clients and coworkers from the actual idea. If it can’t stand on it’s own without pesky distractions, then you might want to rethink it. Common distraction techniques include, but are not limited to:
1.) Faking an allergic reaction during the climax of your presentation
2.) Spraying the documents with perfume, á la Elle Woods in Legally Blonde
3.) Including silly numbered lists towards the end of a document (hey, wait a minute…)
4.) Running in place while wearing 1980s wind-pants mid-conversation
5.) Highlighting literally everything in your presentation documents
If you find yourself doing any of these things, stop right there. Think less Bruce Willis and more The xx!