The Good, The Bad And The Downright Great Of Training

May 22nd, 2015 by Liz

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A few months back, I was pushing my son Niall in his pushchair, and dragging my 5 stone boxer dog up a hill towards home and near the summit I found myself getting out of breath – I’m only 30 and I’m exhausted, I thought – this is embarrassing!

Enough was enough and it was time to do something about it and get fit.

I found an insanity class and signed up. During my first session I felt like I was going to simultaneously pass out and vomit – But I went home and decided it actually felt good – I felt good.

Fast forward 6 months…

All was going well, I’d been going twice a week and I’m feeling well on the way to getting fitter and I’m feeling pretty good in myself.

But then, disaster…

My insanity class gets permanently cancelled – which to my surprise I was pretty upset about – I should have been relieved!

But determined not to give up, I sought a new Monday night class and go along expecting the same positive experiences I’ve had over the last few months – but, it was AWFUL.

On arrival the instructor quickly asks me if I have done the class before and takes my money before squeezing me onto a badminton court with over 40 other people, where we battled for space, where people were bumping into each other, getting kicked and elbowed along the way – if I’d have wanted body combat I’d have signed up for that!

I left the class feeling that not only had I not received any attention or value for money, but the whole experience was a waste of time.

As we are soon to launch Eyeful’s new presentation training modules, as Head of Training, I thought it important to make sure we incorporated all the good experiences to our own offering and totally avoid the bad experiences that made my most recent training so poor.

My old class was good because, the instructor welcomed me properly and took the time to understand what I needed to get out of the class, rather than just grabbing my money and sending me straight in…

Eyeful’s offering is unique, well rounded and it’s modular approach gives us the option to fully review your needs and understand what you need to get out of the training whilst also tracking progress. We will do this via a variety of methods, pre-course “flip the classroom” learning material, post-course access to resources and a trainer that makes time for you before, during and after your training experience with us.

My new class was poor because I was shoved into a room with more than 40 other people with just one trainer, who wasn’t able to offer any individual help or advice or feedback to people.

At Eyeful we limit our training to a maximum of 6 people for each session – ensuring learners individual needs are given the attention they deserve. In turn, providing an opportunity for feedback throughout.

My old trainer found out where I was weak or strong and tailored elements of the training to ensure that not only I, but each of the 10-15 people attending got the attention they needed. To me, it felt like she was joining me on my fitness journey, she was there to support and motivate me. I felt I was getting a return on my investment.

Eyeful’s training will be the same. Our modular structure will ensure that individual people or teams can attend courses that are relevant to them, increasing their presentation strengths across the board and literally go on a journey towards delivering the perfect presentation.

I might just recommend to my new instructor that he comes along to our course on Understanding Your Audience. It might just give him the motivation and direction he needs to change his training ways and deliver a better experience ensuring that his customers return – because I sure won’t be.

If you like the sound of Eyeful’s presentation training then stay tuned to the blog and sign up below or get in touch, as we release more details on how you or your team can get on the path to delivering perfect presentations.

Story Season – Read All About It (seriously it’s all here)

May 21st, 2015 by Matt

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For the past 3 months, Simon & I have carefully crafted the blog series that is Story Season.

Our goal was to discuss the importance of story within presentations, look at the scientific case for using story, and ultimately to provide information, advice and general tips on how to incorporate story into your presentations.

You see, combining story and presentation can be a powerful thing, it can give your presentation a coherent structure to follow and help engage your audience with more memorable sticky content that they can remember and thus act upon. We highlight that your presentation tool whether it is PowerPoint, Prezi, Whiteboard or a tablet device needs to be right for your audience, as by always defaulting to PowerPoint you may well be weakening your presentation, rather than strengthening it by embracing new tools and technology.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed Story Season and found it a useful series of blogs.

To help you use story going forward we’ve created an online eBook of all the Story Season blogs and video’s available in one easy place that you can bookmark and return to time and time again – a print version is also available.

And don’t forget if you need any help, we are always happy to help author your next story just drop us an email or give us a call.

Microsoft Updates Office Apps On iPad – PowerPoint Gets ‘Cold Sweat’ Level Functionality

May 19th, 2015 by Matt

And of course the one we are interested in is PowerPoint

New in Version 1.9.2
• New storage options: open, edit, and save your work to iCloud and other online storage services.
(requires iOS 8)
• Change slide layout: make your content pop by changing the layout of your slide.
• Insert from camera: insert pictures and videos from the camera right into your presentation.

Saving was previously restricted to your OneDrive so this is good and the ability to take a picture directly from the PowerPoint is cute, but hardly screams professional presentation.

But the ability to change the slide layout – well, anyone reading this who has ever had to change the layout of a presentation at the last minute is probably breaking out in a cold sweat.

Let me explain…

Changing the layout is for example going from 16×9 (widescreen) to 4×3 (Tv’s from the 90’s) or vice versa – and doing this has consequences…

In older versions of PowerPoint (pre Office 13) if you switch from 4×3 to 16×9, all of your slide content gets stretched… the other way and it gets squashed. Thankfully PowerPoint 13 and indeed the iPad app are pretty smart these days and they don’t do this. They preserve the slide content and don’t stretch or squash it.

However, you do still get issues where content that previously fitted together seamlessly, now doesn’t fit the slide size – which means going through the whole presentation and tidying your slide content – a tricky process, possibly on pair with trying to insert a contact lens, whilst on an aircraft during a sever bout of turbulence.

This also begs the question, why are Microsoft even giving you a task to do, that’s the PowerPoint equivalent of repeatedly poking yourself in the eye, anyway?

As surely, the very reason you have a PowerPoint on your iPad is that you will be giving the presentation in a conversational 1-1 style environment and thus the screen ratio isn’t really important, it’s not like you’ll be connecting to a projector for this type of informal communication.

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And if the deck is 4×3 it will pretty much fit perfectly on an iPad screen and worse case, if it’s 16×9 all that happens when you play the PowerPoint is some black bars are added to the top and bottom – which don’t really jar anyway, as the same thing happens when you watch a movie on your iPad.

The only reason you would really need to change the ratio, is if your presenting on a projector in a more formal environment – and if that’s the case, the PowerPoint file has no business going anywhere near an iPad!

The lesson here is – consider your presentation environment.

If it’s a formal area of the Presentation Landscape, so ‘1-many’ then you need to know what ratio the AV person needs your PowerPoint to be and have the deck designed properly on a computer, in the right ratio from the off – and hopefully in this day and age it’s 16×9…

If it’s an informal ‘1-1’ small conversational style meeting, then an iPad or tablet is perfect… and like I say, a 4×3 file would be perfect, but if it’s in 16×9 I really wouldn’t sweat it.

If you would like a technically perfect presentation either on a PC, a tablet, Prezi, or even on a Whiteboard – then give us a call on 01455 826390 or send us a message – I’m off to find my tape measure.

A Presentation Chat For The Discerning Presenter

May 15th, 2015 by Matt

We had an unexpected treat this week as Sander, Eyeful’s head of Europe, popped in for a visit. It was great to see our chum from Holland and in true Eyeful style, we grabbed a cuppa and sat down for a chat.

This mini movie is packed full of useful information for the discerning presenter…

Sander has recently worked with a company that (despite already being an industry leader) wanted to avoid becoming complacent. They asked Eyeful to help define their story, as well as to suggest new ways and new ideas to share their message. Find out how Eyeful created a cultural change in a massive organisation.

And what’s the deal with Prezi now? 2-3 years ago it was close to becoming the leading presentation tool in Holland, find out if this is still the case – whilst also getting a great example of how blended presenting works.

Eyeful Netherlands also recently supported a customer with their TEDx Amsterdam talks – and Sander reveals what elements made these a great example of a TED Talk presentation.

Enjoy…

If our two wise men have duly inspired you to take your presentation collateral to the Eyeful level – then please do just give us a ring on 01455 826390 or send us a message…

How To Look Good – Eyeful Style

May 8th, 2015 by Matt

It’s true, we don’t have a strict dress code here at Eyeful, in fact we have a pretty chilled out attitude when it comes to our people’s attire, which ranges…

Mix

From Sam’s very smart…                    Over to Jack’s jeans and band T-shirt        But, this is getting ridiculous –                                                                                                                                                                               Slippers!?  

Ok I jest, Sally should actually be commended for being here at all, as just a couple of weeks ago she was undergoing major surgery on her foot – and I’ve seen the scar – OUCH!

But here she is, back in the office working hard, fighting the good fight and making sure one of our customer’s presentations goes well…

So well done on the commitment front Sal, but I’m really not sure about your choice of slipper! Nan alert!

To get yourself your very own slightly over-committed presentation consultant, just give us a call on 0845 056 8528 (slippers, I’m afraid, are not included).

Story Season – May The 4th Be With You

May 4th, 2015 by Matt

This week is the final foray into Story Season – and I think it’s quite poignant (and completely unplanned) that it should fall today on May the 4th – Star Wars day.

Star Wars is the ultimate story. It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen it or not, like it or not – everybody knows Star Wars.

My wife has never seen a single one of the movies, but she already knows we’re booking a baby sitter and going to see ‘The Force Awakens’ as soon as it hits cinemas later this year.

If I’m honest, I had fallen out of love with Star Wars after the recent (ahem, 10-15 years ago) prequels, Jar Jar Binks just didn’t do it for me.

I actually find it quite surprising that I’m so genuinely looking forward to episode 7 hitting screens – I thought I wouldn’t be bothered. But upon seeing the trailer, hearing that music and seeing a quite frankly rough looking Han Solo (it doesn’t matter how old he is!) utter the words, “Chewy we’re home…” and boom I’m right back there on Christmas Day 1986 (or something like that). I’m 34 years old and most of my childhood Christmas days blur into the same day – except for one.

One Christmas day morning, a 5/6 year old Matt Roper woke up and left his bedroom to find the hallway floor decorated with about 50 different new Star Wars toys – I say new, my mum had clearly visited Keith’s second hand toy stall at the Market in Derby.

They weren’t wrapped or even boxed, but laid in a sort of action scene mix of figures, space ships and other random vehicles from the Galactic Republic.

It was literally mind blowing. And a hugely unforgettable moment in my childhood.

And that’s what I want to talk about when it comes to presentations – key memorable content.

And there are lots of examples in Star Wars of memorable content, there’s the Death Star exploding (twice), the very first scene where the Star Destroyer comes into shot – and who could forget, Jabba the Hut!

There’s the moment in Empire Strikes Back where Luke is hanging on by a thread, his hand just severed by Darth Vader’s light saber, who then twistedly ask’s him to join him on the dark side, because, “I am your father…”

Now that’s a heck of a plot twist, when your mortal enemy actually turns around and says, hey I’m your dad, let’s rule the universe together. It doesn’t matter if your 6 or 60 – that’s deep.

These kind of magic moments travel too – produce an ‘I am your father moment’ in your presentation and the audience is going to take note and remember it long into the future.

A word of warning though…

You’ve got to make your presentation story and your messages memorable (we call this sticky content) not just create a whiz bang moment.

Everyone in the world of presentations knows about Steve Job’s famous MacBook in an envelope. A very cool, very clever moment that everyone remembers. But what else do you remember about that?

The key message there was “This laptop is very, very cool, because it’s very, very thin.” Not that it has a great processor, a fantastic hard drive and outperforms every other laptop on the market. Nope, we know that, that laptop was very, very thin.

The way to make your content engaging, memorable and still resonating with your audience long into the future is to use story! Yes the very thing we’ve spoken about for the last 3 months.

And this is where the Star Wars story gets it so right, it has it’s jaw dropping “I am your father and have a very, very thin laptop in an envelope, join me on the dark side and it’s yours…” moments. But it’s the fact Star Wars takes you on a journey across the galaxy which is what keeps audiences hooked and makes the whole thing ‘sticky’.

“By introducing a structure, story or narrative arc, you can give your message the opportunity to grow legs, travel and get shared time and time again.”
Eyeful MD, Simon Morton in The Presentation Lab.

Get this right and your audience will be that version of me as a wowed 5 year old walking amongst all my new toys and down the line they will still remember your presentation and your message – and that’s cooler than owning your own light saber. Zrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

But if you don’t consider yourself George Lucas when it comes to crafting stories, then fear not – just get in touch – as our expert consultants are the Jedi Masters of creating sticky presentation story – as for them, the force is strong.

Google, Loch Ness And Some Rather ‘Different’ PowerPoint Inspiration

April 30th, 2015 by Matt

Lock Ness

For years the Loch Ness Monster has been hunted by journalists and tourists alike, all eager to spot the mythical beast and get a great picture!

Well google has now taken it a whole heap further by sending their street cams to Scotland to map the entire loch.

You can literally head to google maps now and type in Loch Ness and instead of traveling around the roads of the loch, you can now drop onto the water itself and travel around on a boat – nice, if slightly pointless!

So if Nessy is real, the poor old dear doesn’t stand a chance of staying hidden now!

In all seriousness though it’s amazing how far people like to push technology and indeed the strange uses we find for things that weren’t actually created for that use.

For example, there’s the classic story of builders using their van engine to cook a bacon sandwich (not really advisable from a health & safety angle), right up to the ultra-modern testing of drones to deliver packages for Amazon.

We at Eyeful too, hold our hands up. We’ve done some pretty unusual things with PowerPoint over the years!

We’re all about pushing it to its absolute max and yes we create presentations so good you won’t believe they’ve been made with simple old PowerPoint, but this isn’t what I’m talking about.

There are actually some really useful things you can do in PowerPoint other than creating presentations.

On our designer’s innovation page you can find examples of both inspirational and slightly offbeat uses of PowerPoint.

We have some lovely animated videos, a Christmas gift picker and Jack has even created ‘Lil Phil’, a PowerPoint game!

For a bit of fun and an office round of Catchphrase, I created a PowerPoint soundboard of Roy Walker Catchphrase quotes and sound effects – which worked really well!

And we don’t stop there, that’s how we push PowerPoint at work, we also use it in some pretty weird ways at home too. For example I used it to design my decking project, whereas an anonymous colleague says he, “used PowerPoint for designing Valentine poems for previous girlfriends.” Who knew you could be romantic with PowerPoint?

Optimized-quiltpatternAnd finally, perhaps the best ‘odd’ use of PowerPoint, was by our designer Hannah, who has used it to design a patchwork quilt!

So if you ever need to create the layout of something, then PowerPoint can be a really handy tool to use, because it’s just so user friendly, you can re-size a slide into the same square or rectangle shape of a room or object and you alter the size and create a diagram to scale of whatever it is your creating.

Unfortunately, the easy to use nature of PowerPoint is also the reason there are so many poor presentations out there – and why PowerPoint gets such a bad rap.

If you’ve created any odd things with PowerPoint, perhaps you could share it with us? But, if the weirdest thing you’ve created is just your everyday slides, then my advice would be for you to go ahead and use PowerPoint as an unusual tool, design your decking, layout your lounge.

And when it comes to high stakes presentation creation, contact the experts who can create fantastically designed presentations – and lovely patchwork quilts.

Story Season – 3 Story Themes To Help Connect With Your Audience

April 28th, 2015 by Matt

Story ThemesWelcome along to this week’s Story Season, this time round we are going to look at how to use a story theme to help deliver your messages to your audience in a more effective way.

As let’s be honest, trying to turn a presentation into a story isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do.

So if you are struggling, using an external theme might just help give you a place to start. Inspiration can come from anywhere – a news article you read earlier that week, a story shared by a friend or a chance remark from a member of your family. They can all act as a powerful catalyst.

There’s nothing tricky about it – applying a theme to your presentation is basically delivering your messages with a particular angle. This helps the presentation to carry the right levels of emotion, motivation, or even bravery that will empower your audience to act on your message.

How do you do this?

There is a chapter in our founder, Simon Morton’s book, The Presentation Lab – that details story themes. I’ve picked 3 of these to use as an example.

The first thing to do is consider your own presentation scenario and audience. I cannot stress how important it is at this stage to understand your audience, use audience heatmaps, find out who they are and what makes them tick.

Then choose the situation and audience scenario that best fits and apply the relevant theme along these lines to your presentation.

Pick Yourself Up and Try Again

Your Situation: You’ve taken a hit, things have gone wrong. But you’re a plucky company not ready to give up.

Your Audience: In this case it’s your staff. You’re looking to motivate your team, you need them to dig deep, find the passion to go again and make it work this time.

Real World Example: Steve Jobs bouncing back after being fired from his own company, before returning to lead Apple to its current level of success.

David & Goliath

Your Situation: You’re either a start-up or an established company entering an industry you’re not established in.

Your Audience: They are demotivated and don’t believe in the venture. You need to convince them that hard work, dedication and commitment will pay off.

Real World Example: Apple moving into the smartphone market to take on the might of Nokia. Look where they are now.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Your Situation: You are within a large corporate organisation, where things have gone so stale that change is a four letter word. But, you have a new idea.

Your Audience: Uninterested and stubborn. You really need to paint a firm picture of how your idea is going to make a difference.

Real World Example: 3M’s post it note was invented by accident, but instead of throwing it out and employee pushed and persisted for 5 years that it was a good idea – After its release the development team won 3M’s Golden Step Award, for major new products that are significantly profitable.

These are just a few examples, but there are literally hundreds of stories out there, both fictional and your own personal stories that could be used to help deliver your message to your audience.

So hopefully this blog will give you a place to start and you will be in a position to begin creating a presentation that uses story to engage your audience with the right tone and helps get you the results all of your hard work deserves.

If you need any help in creating a compelling presentation story, then just send us a message

A Toasty TV Commercial For Presenters To Aspire To

April 24th, 2015 by Matt

Stallone

It’s not very often I sit up and take notice of a TV advert, but hats off to Warburtons for getting a massive Hollywood A-Lister to star in their latest TV Commercial.

Yep, it’s make or bake time for Sylvester Stallone in this new advert (sorry, I just had to…)

What’s really nice (and clever) about this advert though is it’s a story – and you’ll probably know from our recent Story Season blogs, just how much we love a good story when it comes to presentations.

It’s the simple but very effective use of story to deliver key messages that presenters should take note of when preparing presentations in the future.

The commercial uses story to deliver a nice mix of rather clichéd, but still likeable one liners, keeping you smiling along with it, as it subtly weaves in corporate key messages, such as when Stallone asks, “Is this the Jonathan Warburton, the guy that bakes and delivers fresh bread to thousands of stores every day?”. Nice.

At the end of the day, Warburtons, could have just had Stallone eating a sandwich for his lunch at home, enjoying the bread while the key messages are voiced over or displayed on the screen – the TV commercial equivalent of death by bullet point. And plenty of commercials have delivered their messages in this way.

But by using inspirational music, with movie style clips and one liners from Stallone like, “By 4am, its showtime… nothing is going to stop us delivering toasty loaves…” Another subtle message. But like a presentation it’s not just the words being spoken by the presenter that deliver the message.

Just like a good presentation, the ad uses a strong mix of key messages, delivered both verbally and visually (in this case, highlighting the commitment of Warburtons to deliver freshly made bread on a daily basis).

I think it’s also important to the context of the story, as to why they picked Stallone for this and not one of the other numerous other celebrities out there? There’s no doubt he’s a huge movie star, but perhaps more importantly it’s down to the fact that 2 of his movie franchises tie in perfectly with the story of a Warburtons baker and delivery driver?

It may not surprise you to hear that bread adverts aren’t exactly something I ever pay much attention to. Yet I know next time I head to the supermarket and see a Warburton’s loaf, a smile will cross my face and the chances are a Warburtons loaf will land in my basket.

From Warburton’s point of view, that’s mission accomplished.

This is much the same challenge we all face as presenters – however you use story, make sure it delivers your messages and call to action in the best possible way.

If you need any help with this, then just give us a call (we’ll be the ones near the toaster).

Presentation Prep Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

April 22nd, 2015 by Liz

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With just a few days to go until the big race, we have seen a flurry of activity from bloggers, journalists, and the big sponsors all trying to capture that last minute audience and spur all those super humans on who are participating in the 35th London Marathon.

The runners however are currently head down, focusing on keeping their minds and bodies ready to hit the starting line in top form on Sunday. They have spent the last couple of weeks tapering off their training in order to avoid any last minute injuries and to allow their bodies to recover from the months of hard training so they will be in prime condition for the big race.

I think we can all safely say that nobody who runs, or attempts to run the marathon, will just turn up on the day without prior training and simply “hope for the best”. This is an outstanding test of endurance and their bodies will have been prepped and primed, ready to last the duration. Months of training, testing out different equipment and nutrition have enabled each runner to reach this point – ready for the off.

So, I liken this to presentations, whether your presenting to the board, at a sales meeting or pitching at your next big bid – will you just dust off your old trusty Nikes and start to run praying you reach 26.2 miles, or will you take the time to prep and prime your presentation to ensure you reach that finish line?

There are many places online to find support and inspiration for training plans, nutrition advice, running equipment and much more. Information is out there for somebody who has never run a mile in their life as well as the most experienced of runners.

Here at Eyeful Presentations, we offer the same approach. Whether you are giving your first ever presentation, or presentations feel as comfortable to you as those old trainers – we can help. Even the most decorated of runners still need a training plan for each race.

Our Presentation Training modules are based upon ‘The Presentation Lab’ written by our founder and Managing Director, Simon Morton. This book is recognised as one of the leading texts on the topic of business presentations and in the process of being translated into 6 different languages, helping thousands of businesses worldwide. We can work with you from understanding your audience, content creation and valuable visuals right through to technical “hands-on” training in PowerPoint.

London welcomes the road closures, the additional transport provided for all the extra visitors, the throngs of people lining the streets to support, albeit for one day. Some restaurants offer free fuel for marathon runners, celebrating with them (or at least hoping that they bring one paying guest with them!).

So, whilst you may sometimes welcome the disruption (or distraction to your working week) that a last minute presentation brings, we also recommend that you create your own “training plan”. Or better still; let us do that for you.

We will review your current presentation fitness level and make the recommendations to get you to marathon level. Some presentations will need to make it to the 5k mark, some to the full 26.2 miles, however each and every one needs to deliver a clear message that resonates with its audience.

With our support, you too could be just like the marathon runners and our very own Head of Customer Engagement Jayne Thomas, who have 3 days ahead of them, knowing they’ve done everything that they possibly could to be ready, and tapered off their training in preparation.

If you have 4 weeks or 4 hours before your next presentation, we will have equipped you to create compelling content, deliver a clear message and feel confident in the knowledge you have done all that you can to reach the finish line. We even have a training module “In case of emergency” that does exactly this.

Our capital city London, and its population do us proud at this World Marathon Majors event. And so should your presentation.

Let us fuel your presentation (we’ll make sure that your messages storm over the finish line!) Get in touch… we might even give you a medal at the end!