About KPD, Instructional Design, and Cocktail Party Chat

I met a man one night at a party. He told me he was an attorney and . . .

he asked me what I did for a living. I told him that I was an instructional designer. After politely listening to a story about an oriental rug that took three months to be delivered (he thought I'd said interior designer) I finally got a word in edgewise. I explained that I run a firm that produces high-quality multimedia informational materials. And that, among other things, we create employee training, litigation support, and technical presentation materials.

He said, "You mean like PowerPoint? My secretary does our PowerPoint." My eyes must have glazed over temporarily because he continued, "She's not an artist or anything, but she doesn't need to be. She's got the templates and clipart. The stuff looks pretty good. It doesn't have to be a Rembrandt. " He said with chuckle and a smile. "And, as to the content. . .Well, I tell her what goes on the slides, so she doesn't need to be much of a writer, either."

I smiled right back, "A couple of years ago, I needed a new will so I bought one of those 'Wills for Dummies' books. I was planning a DIY project, but I ended up hiring an attorney in the end. Hiring a professional was a good investment. When we discussed my situation, she had several sound recommendation-- ideas that sure weren't in the do-it-yourself book. "

He sighed. "Something tells me that you're trying to make a point, here."

"Yes, I am. Technical and instructional designers are rare birds. It is the ultimate right-brain/left-brain career-- both art and science! We are illustrators and statisticians, teachers and psychologists, programmers and showmen. Years of real-world experience in classrooms and boardrooms taught us how to get a point across and make it stick, but solid adult educational and psychological research underpins our methods. Visual arts training, mastery of dozens of software applications, speechwriting, tech writing--it takes a number of totally unrelated skill sets to do it well.

"Wherever and whenever it is important to present detailed information in a way that will be remembered and retained, KPD can help. We provide classroom and computer-based training, intranet development, marketing materials, patient education materials for health care firms, litigation support for law firms, and much more. And, in addition to PowerPoint, we use HTML, Dynamic HTML, Flash, Javascript, Active Server Pages, databases...."

I saw the light go on in his eyes. "Oh, you're a web designer!" he said, with enthusiasm.

"We do design things for the web, but there's a lot more to it than that. KPD is a full-spectrum firm which offers our clients a unique combination of services. State of the art technology, real-world business communications development experience, award-winning custom artwork- we even do on-site seminars and presentation coaching with some of our clients."

The conversation wound down. As I was getting ready to leave, we exchanged business cards. Opening my wallet, I spied a card belonging to a good friend who's an interior designer. I slipped it out and offered it to him. "Call her about your rugs. I'll bet she knows someone who can deliver what you need on schedule.

"And call us if we can help you deliver a message."


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