Decks, but make it fashion

As a product manager at The Student Hotel, Simika Nayyar spends a lot of time making her presentations look good

Before the pandemic, being professional and presentable were interchangeable. But, these days, trying to look respectable goes something like this: turn on my laptop camera, see myself in video preview and remember my bangs need a trim, shut the closet door behind me to hide, well, everything. Hide the fact that my office-bedroom is here to stay. Hide from my kids

If brands want to discuss authenticity and looking the part, it doesn’t get more real than this.

And yet there have been silver linings in the past year, because frustration paves the way for change. This is how we met Simika Nayyar, a product manager at The Student Hotel, after her own frustrating experience trying to wrangle decks into submission. “I've wasted way too many evenings on 'making it look nice.' 🤓,” she wrote on LinkedIn before discovering Paste. “It's easy to get fixated on the appearance and not the content of slides,” she mused.

I was so frustrated with making my slides look nice I searched for ‘self-designing slides.’ That’s how I found Paste.

Simika Nayyar, The Student Hotel

Work, sleep, play... present?

The Student Hotel is a new concept in hospitality––a hybrid living and coworking space for travelers, locals, and students alike in hubs across Europe. The organization, which encourages work, sleep, and play all in one place, has headquarters in Amsterdam, but its hotels can be found everywhere from Paris to Berlin.

To get on the same page with team members and stakeholders across the continent, they host monthly company-wide meetings that last all day. These gatherings are now exclusively online, and presentations run long. (Simika's often takes an hour or more.)

As a product manager, Simika is a connector between every team and hotel. Every month, she’s tasked with distilling a mix of information––images, graphs, emails, data––into one digestible deck. The information doesn’t fit into typical presentation tools, which results in hours wasted on formatting.

“I have a bias for good design, so to me a deck isn’t shareable unless it’s digestible and well-presented," Simika admits. "I used to spend every evening before a presentation wincing and trying to stay awake to make it look nice. I needed something that just did it for me, and that’s where Paste came in.”

Paste allows you to tell a story rather than just show information.

Context is everything. For this, Simika loves Paste’s grid view which lets her see how each slide fits in the larger story. “There is certain information that I need in each slide, but the key is to map it out and make sure it all makes sense together," she explains. In grid view, she can zoom out to see the big picture: “I can see the logic of my presentation and how it flows, which saves me time and helps get my story straight."

More than just a pretty deck

For true understanding, we each favor a way of taking in new information. Lately, Simika has noticed that colleagues who previously struggled to understand her decks approached her to say that something clicked.

“Some people might not identify as visual learners, but they take in information better when it’s presented well,” she says. “When I present a wall of numbers, my colleagues may see it, but they don’t necessarily get the point behind it. When you can put those numbers in a narrative, that’s when you’re getting your message across. Paste does this really well. It allows you to tell a story rather than just show information.”