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

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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!

Story Season – 6 Real Stories To Inspire Creativity

April 21st, 2015 by Matt

We know what it’s like… We’ve all been there sitting in front of either a blank PowerPoint screen, or worse still, spent hours crafting a presentation accompanied by a nagging thought – could it be better? Could it be clearer? Why are there so many damn bullet points?

Part of the problem is knowing what PowerPoint can do (and take my word for it PowerPoint is one of the most over abused, under-appreciated and downright powerful pieces of desktop publishing software available to every man and his cyber dog).

The truth is that PowerPoint is capable of soooo much. At Eyeful our designers are graphic experts – they know how to get the most out of PowerPoint (and when to use programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator to really enhance the slides they create).

But lest we forget, no matter how much time and effort we pump into a PowerPoint slide, it should never, ever be just about making it solely look good. Good visuals only work if they are there to support strong stories. In fact it all becomes a little ‘chicken and egg’ – the more planned and structured your story, the bigger the scope and opportunity for creativity in slide design. It’s a match made in heaven.

After some inspiration? Why not check out the series of customer stories from our Irish and Dutch offices and take a moment to view these from two perspectives:

Firstly the story – these videos exist to show potential customers what its like to work with Eyeful, what we do to help our customers and the difference our involvement makes.

Then from a visual point of view – the design perfectly supports the message (and, as if to prove a point, the only program used to create these videos was PowerPoint!).

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Inspired? We certainly hope so (and if it any point you need some help, you know where we are).

Eyeful Ireland Progress Report – AKA A Geeky Chat With Some Very Useful Tips For Presentation Success

April 14th, 2015 by Matt

Wow time flies when you’re having fun and helping rid an entire country of terrible presentations…

Please join us in wishing a very happy birthday to Eyeful Ireland which Ronan Kinahan has been spearheading for the last 2 years.

And to mark the event, Eyeful’s MD Simon Morton and Ronan have caught up on how things are going on the Emerald Isle and if in general, presentations are getting any better there?

They also have a good chinwag about where people are going wrong and offer some great insight into some very helpful things.

In true Eyeful style we filmed the chat and have put it on the Eyeful Ireland website.

In the video, the Presentation Paradox is explained and some key presentation preparation advice is offered…

Find out:

What the true impact of a good presentation is.

Why prospect meetings are often the equivalent of missing an open goal.

Where the best place for the value proposition is.

And how the science around effective recall can get your presentations remembered over your competitors.

So to gain all these tips plus some really interesting insight into the world of presentations check out the video now!

Here’s the link.

Go on, go on, go on…

A Very Pinteresting Place Indeed

April 13th, 2015 by Matt

Are you ready to have your proverbial Pinterest related socks blown off? Good!

Because Eyeful are very proud to announce the launch of our very own Pinterest page.

We’ve already got all sorts of boards, pins, images, videos and links all live and ready to wow Pintrested people.

On Pinterest we have:

The Board with Innovations

This is where you can find some great examples of projects that our designers have created in their downtime. None were produced for clients, they are all 100% the designer’s own personally inspired pieces.

It’s a place where new things get tried out and programs get experimented on.

The results can sometimes be ridiculous, but as you see here, for the most part they are simply sublime.

The Board with Awesome Animated Videos

This board hosts a selection of customer stories that we’ve created using nothing but a voiceover and PowerPoint.

The really nice thing about these videos is that they show what it’s like to work with Eyeful and the positive impact we can have on our customer’s presentations.

And because they are 100% created in PowerPoint, they are a really great source of inspiration and an example of just what’s possible when the only program you’ve got access to is good old Office.

The Board with the Blog

If you’re reading this, then you are all too familiar with the Eyeful blog and its collection of presentation musings all aimed at ridding the world of terrible presentations. Well, we thought we might share these with Pinterested parties who are searching for their own presentation ideas.

What’s Next?
So that’s what we have on there right now. But as they say, this is just the beginning! The dream is for the Eyeful boards to grow into a presentation go to place where you can find everything from advice on planning your presentation right at the beginning, right up to design inspiration.

Things like examples of dry content such as graphs and tables that have been re-designed and infographic examples of real work – basically all types of inspirational content to help create better presentations going forward.

The next update will be the addition of the Eyeful Lookbook – which is an online brochure of example presentation look and feels. Keep an eye out for this being added later this week…

So it’s going to be a really handy page absolutely bursting with useful presentation related material that you won’t want to miss – so follow the page now!

If you have any suggestions or requests for useful boards and pins just let us know.

Or if you’ve had a look and are already having a funny tummy feeling about just how great your next presentation could be with a little Eyeful magic, then just give us a ring.

Story Season – What Is Your Favourite Customer Story?

April 8th, 2015 by Matt

In this week’s edition of Story Season we join the Eyeful team for the final time as they reveal their own favourite presentation that used story in a significant way.

In here we have some pretty interesting examples, ranging from a book tour presentation for “The Wisdom of Phsycopaths”, how a brewery used a time travel concept and a presentation that tells the story of Noah’s Ark in a very visual way…

And we’ve included clips of the actual presentations so you can really see how it’s possible to merge story and presentations together.

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We hope you enjoyed the video and found some motivation and ideas on how to take your next audience on a journey through your own presentation story.

If you need any help with authoring the perfect presentation story, then just get in touch.

Thinking Beyond Bullets – An Innovation Piece

April 1st, 2015 by Jayne Thomas

Our innovation pieces are proving very popular amongst our customers & in house team. They give our customers more ideas than ever before on just what can be created in PowerPoint and the Eyeful design team just love to push the boundaries and have free rein with no brand guidelines to adhere to.

In this piece Hannah was inspired by an animation created by Apple.  She used PowerPoint animation over embedded video clips and the result is enchanting and a far cry from death by PowerPoint.  In short, it’s time to think beyond bullets…

To find out more about how our expert designers can bring your presentations to life simply get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help your presentation realise its full potential.

100 More Join The Eyeful Mission

March 27th, 2015 by Matt

It’s no secret that Eyeful Presentations are on a mission to rid the world of poor presentations and when we say world – we mean it!

We’ve created fantastic presentations and helped people get better results all over Europe, America, Africa and even as far off as Australia…

This time we’ve been battling bullets a little closer to our UK home, just over the water in the Republic of Ireland.

Eyeful’s Dublin based consultant Ronan Kinahan (a training specialist) has been hard at work inspiring the minds of almost 100 sales executives in Cork to think, act and deliver differently when it comes to business presentations.

Ronan delivered a networking educational seminar on ‘personal effectiveness’ that gave thought provoking and practical advice on how to visualise content, enhance recall and the power of the value proposition.

 

 

The key to presentation effectiveness is to achieve an equivalence of standards between the message, the medium and the messenger. All aligned with audience expectations, put simply, that’s it. Ronan Kinahan

 

 

Eyeful help businesses to tackle poor presentations through our Presentation Optimisation process and great design – we support this with training courses that help to create great presentations at the point of inception, creation and delivery.

To find out more about our training courses simply drop us a line.

Story Season – How Does Story Impact On Presentations?

March 25th, 2015 by Matt

We now join senior members of the Eyeful consultant and design teams and continue through Eyeful Story Season with a look at how they believe story can impact on presentations.

Gain insight into if ‘once upon a time’ is an outdated concept, if a strong design can hide a weak story and hear a potential story structure that you could use when combining story and presentations.

Over to the Eyeful team…

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In the next edition of Story Season the team talks about their favourite presentation examples that used story to effectively deliver the clients messages.

We’ll also include clips of the presentations to give you a little extra inspiration and so you can really see how story has been worked into real and successful presentations.

Stay tuned for this or if you’d like to speak to an expert directly, then just give us a ring on 0845 056 8528.