BREAKING NEWS: POWERPOINT VS PREZI THE (INTERACTIVE) GLOVES ARE OFF

July 27th, 2016 by Matt

About 6 weeks ago we reported on the release of Prezi for Business (Prezi’s latest version specifically for business presentations) and that one of their major new features was interactivity. In a nutshell, the new version gave presenters the ability to jump to specific content at the click of a mouse thus allowing them to tailor their content live during an engagement. Happy days.

Well, the breaking news from Microsoft is that they too have made interactivity a focus with the release of a new function within PowerPoint 365, ZOOM…

Let’s get one thing straight…
Interactivity in PowerPoint presentation designs is nothing new to us here at Eyeful. Custom Shows hark back to the days of PowerPoint 2003 and for over a decade we’ve been championing this amazing way to navigate presentations…

That said, what Zoom seems to do is give the custom show function a much needed refresh. It’s been around for 13 years, it’s an over complicated and clunky way to set up interactivity and an upgrade was much needed…

So kudos to Microsoft for listening to their users and continuing to push PowerPoint to new levels of usability.

What’s new…
The new menu pulls up the thumbnail of the slides in the deck allowing you to quickly and easily select the slides you want to jump to…

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It then automatically generates the thumbnails on your slide, which are hyperlinked to jump (or zoom) you to those sections while your presenting. Neat.

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What’s even neater is the ‘zoom’ bit, as when you click on the thumbnail, PowerPoint zooms you into it, taking you to the slide in one seamless flow of movement. We’re guessing that this pulls on the Morph transition we reported on some time ago…

Fundamentally there is absolutely nothing here that you couldn’t do before. It’s just the process of setting all of this up is massively streamlined and simplified. Previously it would have been a pretty time consuming, not to mention complicated affair.

Why this is good for your business presentations…
What’s really great about Zoom isn’t actually the functionality it brings, it’s the way the feature will raise the profile of interactive presentations to the wider business presentation world.

Alex Warwick, one of Eyeful’s senior presentation designers had this to say…

“I think it’s another great example of Microsoft being innovative and giving users the functionality to make the most of an ever-changing presentation landscape. Microsoft are realising the power of presenting on different platforms to different audiences and not just in a linear way in big rooms. For a designer, the morph tool was a masterpiece but this tool will be much more impactful to engage with audiences. The interactivity that PowerPoint has provided in the past has been invaluable and this tool takes it another, much easier to use step forward. I cannot wait to train our clients with these new features, they will love it.”

Alex Warwick, Senior Presentation Designer & Trainer, Eyeful Presentations

Eyeful’s concept, The Presentation Landscape is proof that presentations don’t only happen in formal environments such as boardrooms and auditoriums…

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With communication over coffee and meetings that require as much input from the audience as the presenter, interactivity gives the power back to the presenter to go with the flow and discuss and share only the slides and content that’s most relevant to the audience in the room.

This is a really powerful element for presenters and anything that increases the awareness of interactive presentations and makes it easier to implement, is no bad thing in our book.

If you’d like to learn more about all of the latest PowerPoint features and how they could help enhance your business presentations, check out our presentation training page, where we could customise an advanced PowerPoint training course for your exact needs…

WHAT EVERY STARBUCKS TELLS US ABOUT THE STATE OF SALES PRESENTATIONS

July 22nd, 2016 by Simon

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‘Coffee is for closers’ is a film quote that many sales professionals will recognise with a wry smile. No matter how high up the sales totem pole you may sit, it’s become a universal reference point for the rough and tumble of sales and a way of demonstrating that this career path is not for the faint hearted.

In the world of sales presentations, it’s taken on a second meaning. Caffeine hits and sales presentations have, for the wrong reasons, become synonymous. How? Because every morning in every coffee shop in every major city across the globe, there are legions of sales people furiously tweaking PowerPoint presentation design’s moments before their sales pitch. Manic, caffeine fuelled changes to presentations (updating prospect names and logos, adding new slides, deleting old slides and, on occasion, reordering the whole caboodle at the very last minute) are commonplace.

It has to stop. And it has to stop for two reasons.

The first is a purely selfish one – as a sales professional, you’ve put too much into this to let it fail for the sake of a slapdash approach at the final hurdle. Every sales opportunity is the culmination of a hell of a lot of work and investment. From the purgatory of cold calling, late nights evaluating the opportunity (and competition), expensive marketing campaigns, investment in advanced PowerPoint training and professional development and, lest we forget, the pain of dragging yourself out of bed at 5am to ensure you get to the prospect’s office in time. No matter how you calculate it, businesses and their sales people invest a huge amount of effort and money in order to get in front of the prospect in the first place. Yet despite this, Starbucks are filled to the gunnels with sales professionals, Americano in hand, making changes to their most important sales tool MINUTES before going into the meeting.

This phenomenon is so common that we’ve given it a name – the Presentation Paradox.

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The second reason is one of commercial reality. Like it or not, the quality of your sales presentation will have a major impact on your success. So turning up to a meeting with something that bears all the hallmarks of a woefully generic and unconsidered presentation puts you and your business on the backfoot before you’ve even got into the rapport stage.

The tell-tell signs are all too familiar: slide upon slide stuffed with overly detailed content (just in case the prospect asks a question about an obscure feature of product), more focus on your business than theirs (unnecessary pictures of your HQ, a world map with pins stuck in it to show where you have offices and meaningless revenue and EBITDA charts) and a distinct lack of any clear message.

In short, the sales presentation is no longer about meeting the needs of your audience and as such adds little or no value.

This is a crying shame. Sales presentations should be viewed as a ‘moment of truth’ – the opportunity to take an interested prospect and turn them into a valuable and loyal customer. A tipping point between a wasted journey and a success. Get your sales presentation design and messaging right and the future looks bright…mess it up and all that investment (including the coffee) goes out of the window.

And now for the really scary part…

None of what I’ve just shared will come as a surprise to any sales professional. In their heart of hearts, they know they’ve fallen into the same traps time and time again. Yet the issues persist. And if you don’t believe me, pop along to your nearest coffee shop around 9am on any weekday morning.

So how do you address the issue? Well for sure, the cure isn’t making sales people better at PowerPoint. It’s also not about releasing yet another version of the sales presentation to them (chances are that this would be bastardised within days as well).

It’s about changing behaviour and getting sales people to recognise the privilege of presenting.

Our response to this is The Sales Lab, a day dedicated to reengaging sales people with their presentation and ensuring that audience needs, not caffeine induced panic, come first. You can learn more about this open course here.

So if you’re reading this in a coffee shop and the person next to you is frantically tweaking a PowerPoint, please tactfully suggest they check out The Sales Lab. Not only will they appreciate it, but you can be sure their audiences will as well.

Enjoy your coffee…

THE EYEFUL PRESENTATIONS PODCAST – SALES PRESENTATIONS SPECIAL

July 14th, 2016 by Matt

Sales Presentation design and messaging is something we get asked for help with more than any other type of presentation. It’s obvious why, they are counted by sales presenters as their most valued piece of collateral and they are vital to the final result of sales meetings…

Which is why we’ve dedicated an entire podcast to sales presentation advice…

Running Order

0m 58s Article Review: The New Rules of Sales Presentations (& why you must change)

4m 13s Simon reveals where to start when it comes to making a good sales presentation…

5m 07s Discover Eyeful’s Presentation Landscape concept…

7m 50s Article Review: 99 Problems But A Pitch Aint One

9m 55s Eyeful Presentation Placemats…

10m 44s Article Review: Infographics – The Saviour of Sales Presentations… or just a step in the right direction?

14m 08s How Eyeful equip our own sales people for prospect meetings

16m 56s How sales managers can arm their team with a Sales Toolkit

Find out more about The Sales Lab here and reserve your place online…

Or please do call us on +44 (0)1455 826 390 and one of our expert presentation consultants will be more than happy to tell you all about the kind of Sales Presentations we create and how we could help you achieve your sales goals…

EURO 2016: HOW TO WIN AGAINST THE ODDS LIKE PORTUGAL

July 11th, 2016 by Matt

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It’s finally over. Euro 2016 that glorious month of sunshine (and downpours) and fantastic free flowing (and sometimes overly defensive and dull) football has finally come to an end.

Many of us weren’t expecting a largely Ronaldo-less Portugal to beat the host nation 1-0 in extra time.

As holder of France in the Eyeful sweepstake I cut a fairly forlorn character, although perhaps not as disappointed as a few million French fans!

The result was all the more surprising because Portugal weren’t fancied after a 3rd place group finish, an aging defence and having only won one game within 90-minutes in the entire run up to the final!

So with star man Ronaldo going down injured in the final after just a few minutes (and being attacked by a huge moth to add insect to injury) how on Earth did they manage to win the tournament?

How they achieved such heady success can actually be compared quite nicely to a certain presentation scenario…

Imagine you’re up against a far superior competitor who seemingly has one hand on the deal already?

To make matters worse your star sales pitcher calls in sick on the day of the presentation – how can you take inspiration from the men in red and green?

Portugal had support where they needed it…
Not just their fans, all of Portugal’s players supported each other. When Ronaldo went off injured he didn’t disappear down the tunnel and sulk, he returned to the touchline, shouted support and metaphorically kicked every ball with his teammates.

In the same vein you need strong support in the form of PowerPoint presentation design collateral. Not just great looking design, but images and graphics that perfectly support key messages, packaged up in multiple formats that allow you to deliver seamlessly in any presentation environment whether you’re pitching to the board or chatting over coffee…

Portugal had a strong plan…
They had a solid strategy defensive strategy that they kept 4 clean sheets in 7 games. It was this strong base, with the addition of flair players like Ronaldo and Nani that paved Portugal’s path all the way to the final…

Likewise, you need sales presentation design and messaging that’s been carefully constructed on a foundation of strong messaging and structure with the added final flair of engaging design to give your business the most professional image.

Portugal were a well drilled team…
They might be considered a 1-man team, but when Ronaldo was finally stretchered off after 25 minutes, Portugal actually grew in strength. His replacement Quaresma slotted into the team seamlessly as they rigidly kept their formation and game plan intact.

You too can’t rely on one person to deliver all of your important presentations. You need a team that’s been well trained to deliver in any situation, whether they have 3 months to prepare or 30 minutes.

That’s how you win like Portugal…
Go in with a presentation as weak as Ronaldo’s left knee and you could be in trouble…

Go in with a robust message, strong presentation collateral and a well-trained team and you can’t be much better prepared to achieve presentation success.

Even if you think your much fancied and far superior competitor has you beat, don’t be disheartened because you can set your team up for success and achieve the results you previously thought were out of reach…

So if you would like your team set up to win like Portugal, just get in touch

TODAY, WE ARE ALL A LITTLE WELSH!

July 6th, 2016 by Matt

In anticipation of yet another great game by Wales in tonight’s Euro 2016 semi-final, we want to throw our support behind the boys in red.

To prove our credentials, we did a little research into what our Welsh connections might be…

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Turns out with a little cajoling we could probably get some game time…#COMEONWALES!

ENGLAND’S DEMISE CAN HELP YOU TO BECOME A GREAT PRESENTER

July 5th, 2016 by Matt

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It’s been a week, a whole week since an entire nation tuned in and the entire England team tuned out against Iceland. Like every other English football loving person, I have been left feeling dejected, embarrassed and quite frankly let down by Roy Hodgson and the entire England team that took to the pitch last week.

But by looking at where England went wrong, you can actually help yourself become a great presenter…

England didn’t research the opposition properly…

I heard on 5 Live this morning that Roy Hodgson was on a luxury pleasure cruise during Iceland’s final group match instead of scouting them in person. Shocking news after watching them field the same team and the same very specific tactics that saw them score two very easy goals against England.

The same goes for presentations, how do you know what tone to take if you don’t think about your audience? Is there something current that is affecting how they’ll think about what you have to say? Are you making it absolutely clear that your solution, product or idea is going to solve their specific problem?

England didn’t respect the opportunity…

They didn’t bother researching the opposition thoroughly because they didn’t respect the opportunity…

Just like with an important presentation you must give it the respect it deserves. It’s this respect that gives you the focus and motivation to do all of the required hard work before the main event.

Because England overconfidently thought they would easily beat Iceland (apparently assistant manager Gary Neville was jumping for joy when news broke that Iceland would be our opponent instead of Portugal) but this overconfidence was actually England’s main downfall as it meant…

England didn’t perform at their moment of truth…

When the time came to shine England turned up for exactly 4 minutes before falling to pieces.

Once the second Iceland goal went in England probably couldn’t have scored an equaliser if they were still playing now. But their poor performance was borne out of a fear factor caused by conceding goals which were totally preventable if they had done their homework and prepared for how Iceland play in the first place.

When it comes to your moment of truth as a presenter and it’s time to stand and deliver your presentation it’s never been more important to have done your groundwork, planning and research.

You might be thinking there are people out there who can just do it. It doesn’t matter if their slides look like a child made them, they have that ability to talk the talk.

And that’s fine, but if they haven’t done their homework and they say something woefully inaccurate or unknowingly offensive to the listening audience, they might be looking dreadful and not even knowing why.

Then there are those of us who don’t like public speaking. This will always go a lot better if you’ve planned properly and rehearsed, rehearsed and erm, rehearsed. That’s when these presenters both stand out and find presenting at its easiest.

But you’re only going to be in this happy position if you…

THINK: Respect the opportunity… (which means you will)
ACT: Research your audience properly… (which means you will be better placed to)
DELIVER: Perform at your moment of truth…

Hopefully the next manager of England will follow these simple steps and get it right…

For the rest of us there’s a presentation design company just itching to help you with your next big presentation opportunity…

Pure PowerPoint or Prezi Training Doesn’t Work

June 30th, 2016 by Simon

Since we relaunched our portfolio of training services a year ago, Eyeful trainers have never been so busy. Timing may play a part in it – a recent study by IDC showed that communication skills and proficiency in software like PowerPoint are top of the ‘must have’ list for businesses today.

Never ones to look a gift horse in the mouth, our trusty team have been wowing delegates with a range of presentation skills and insider tricks both here in the UK and overseas.

Feedback has been great, repeat business has gone through the roof and the Air Miles have been building very nicely. So far, so as per the business plan for this presentation design company…

Yet there are a few things that have surprised us along the way. In particular, one interesting lesson learned has been around our technical training suite (collectively known as ‘Presentation Technology’ – training people purely on how to do more in PowerPoint or Prezi doesn’t work.

Of course, after some consideration this is blindingly obvious… Making someone more efficient at creating meandering and complex presentations does nothing other than creating more time for PowerPoint jockeys to fill more and more slides with content clutter (albeit beautifully aligned and colour scheme compliant content clutter).

Nope – to make technical Prezi or advanced PowerPoint training powerful, the new skills need to be put into context.

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Our training arch shows the journey from start to finish every good presentation should go through and as you can see ‘Presentation Technology’ is way over to the right…

Becoming a good presentation designer with fancy new technical skills is important, but it’s just one part of the puzzle when it comes to creating GREAT PRESENTATIONS. The slides are NOT the presentation – they are merely there to provide visual support to aid presenters in the task of sharing their message*

So with this blindingly obvious discovery in mind, we started adding a short ‘Think Act & Deliver Differently’ section to kick off each technical training day. It allowed delegates to understand WHY being more proficient at PowerPoint or Prezi could help improve the impact of presentations (hint – it has nothing to do with clever transitions and everything to do with sharing valuable content in a visual way).

We’ve found that half the battle is getting people to shed the bad habits they’ve built up over decades of PowerPoint tweaking. Once we’ve got people thinking differently, the value and impact of the technical training multiplies exponentially.

The good news is that by putting these new technical skills into context, we’re not only helping delegates see the bigger presentation picture but also embedding this knowledge so it hangs around a lot longer. thus meeting those oh-so-hard-to-measure ROI requirements incumbent on all training). A report by 24×7 Learning, “Workplace Learning – 2015”, pointed to a paltry 12% of learners applying new trained skills to their job. Rather than have delegates leave the Eyeful Lab with heads full of short cuts and clever PowerPoint wizardry, we want to equip them with skills to use PowerPoint or Prezi to deliver more powerful presentations. It seems to be working:

“The presentation training was absolutely excellent, it was tailored to what we needed and was perfect for what we trying to achieve. I can’t say enough good things about both the presentations created for us by Eyeful, or the training that followed.”
Andy Williams, Jaga Heating Products

So if you’re shopping around for some technical PowerPoint or Prezi skills training, we’re here to help (and we’d love the opportunity). BUT please let us put the new skills into context for the simple reason that the world doesn’t need another generation of super-efficient but ultimately clueless PowerPoint robots.

* If you’re still not convinced, ask yourself this simple question – what do you want your audience to remember 2 days after your presentation? Your clearly defined message or how fancy your PowerPoint animations were? Thought so…

To learn more about Eyeful’s suite of training solutions, click here or better still, get in touch and let us know what your business is looking for.

HOW TO BRING DATA HEAVY PRESENTATIONS TO LIFE

June 23rd, 2016 by Matt

Data heavy presentations are boring…

That’s what we hear frustrated presenters tell us all the time. They want to give a good presentation, they want to make a point, or prove a theory or trend but the only thing they have to back it up is boring, dry data.

Or so they think…

Here at Eyeful we love a good graph! And I’m not talking about just designing it so it looks like one of the nicest graphs you’ve ever set eyes on.

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We know if your delivering a presentation that relies on data as a part of it, then that data is part of a story and if working it into your presentations in an interesting and engaging way is something that interests you, then you’re in luck…

As this is what Eyeful MD Simon Morton has been discussing with Grant Leboff in his latest venture in front of the Sticky Marketing audience…

If you would really like to get some in-depth advice on dealing with data you should consider checking out our Advanced PowerPoint Training module on Valuable Visuals. This module focuses specifically on the secrets behind powerful graphics; how to turn data into a visual story and when (and when not) to use infographics as a way to deliver your data.

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Valuable Visuals is just one module that sits in our all-encompassing range that cover the three stages of presentation creation: Think, Act and Deliver.

EURO 2016: THE FOOTBALL MANAGER’S PRESENTATION EXPERT HANDBOOK

June 23rd, 2016 by Matt

I’ve been trying really hard not to write a football related article, but let’s be honest it was never going to happen… I’m a football obsessed, Derby County season ticket holding bloke, who lives in Leicester, the venue for the greatest sporting upset in the history of football…and of course the home of the best presentation design company in Europe…

So with the excitement that comes with England (and nearly every other home nation) qualifying for a major tournament – well, there was little chance I could avoid it for long.

My imagination started to kick off late last week in the run up to the recent matches: the press were going crazy about what formation and team Roy Hodgson would pick.

Poor old Roy doesn’t always get the best press and he was getting a bit of stick, which left me imaging a rather awkward pre-match team talk (insert suitably hazy dream-sequence here)…

Unprepared and a little unsure of who is actually in the squad, Roy turns up half an hour before kick off. Standing next to a hastily arranged whiteboard, he asks the bored-looking players, “hands up if you’re a defender?”

He nods sagely, ignores the response, and launches into his aged corporate FA PowerPoint…

Right lads, we are England… We won the World Cup 50 years ago so we must be great.

Here’s a lovely slide on the structure of the FA; we’ve got that bloke who used to work for the BBC at the top, then some other blokes, then there’s me (I love that photo of me…..that’s Lake Geneva in the background)….and then there’s you lot…

So today, we’re playing football and what I want you to do, is play really, really well and er, score more goals than the opposition. Actually, who are we playing today?

OK, so you get the picture – a rather farcical teamtalk that would be breaking every rule in the Football Managers’ Presentation Expert Handbook – if such a thing existed.

But what’s incredibly concerning about this absurd scenario is that it’s happening in boardrooms on a daily basis – EVERYWHERE!

Perhaps it’s time for business presenters to take a leaf out of the The Football Managers’ Presentation Expert Handbook, when it comes to their own presentations?

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You see, according to this mythical guide, football managers will (and business presenters like you should)…

Focus on objectives – Possibly using a format like Eyeful’s “Must, Intend, Like” structure. Winning might be the ultimate objective, but a good performance, and doing the basics well, is the bare minimum.

Research the opposition – Managers will scout the opposition (whilst you should analyse your audience, perhaps with an audience heatmap).

Plan tactics – Based on their scouting, managers will set their team up for the best chance of success (you should use your audience analysis to plan the right angle & tone that’ll have the most impact on your audience).

Use a story – Managers will use past victories to inspire players (whilst you can tap into the power of previous success stories, and customer testimonials to strengthen your key messages and inspire confidence in your audience).

Think about structure – Out of this comes a formation for the manager (and a logical structure to deliver your presentation in).

Deliver their message clearly – We all know the average intelligence of a professional footballer! Managers will use what we call a Blended Presenting approach, where they’ll probably deliver their messages using a mixture of whiteboard, video and even PowerPoint in order to get their message understood and retained (you too shouldn’t be afraid of using a mix of presentation tools – it’s all about what works best for your audience).

Unfortunately, The Football Managers’ Presentation Expert Handbook doesn’t actually exist, but the ideas mentioned in it do, and can all be found in Eyeful’s suite of modular presentation training…

Our modules don’t have a lot to do with football, but they certainly will show you how to create presentations that are way more effective at getting the results you need.

Speaking of results, here’s to England (and all the home nations) doing well in their next matches. Hopefully Roy and the other managers have all been studying their copies of The Football Managers’ Presentation Expert Handbook and will all soon be delivering some inspiring teamtalks!

But from everyone at Eyeful – COME ON ENGLAND!

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EURO 2016 – IT’S NOT ABOUT THE JOURNEY, IT’S ABOUT THE MOMENT OF TRUTH

June 10th, 2016 by Simon

Much has been made of my lack of football knowledge by friends in and outside of work.  I manage to bluff my way through the occasional pub conversation with a well-timed “What about that Jamie Vardy, eh?”…but that’s about as far as it goes.

Yet, like millions across Europe, I’m finding myself getting pulled along with the excitement of Euro 2016 as we prepare for the big kick off in Paris this evening (pun intended).  For reasons I don’t fully understand, most of the home nations are in play so there is a palpable sense of anticipation wherever you happen to be at the moment (sorry Scotland).

I completely understand – the Euros are a very big deal in football terms and the culmination of a lot of hard work, stress and anxiety for both team and fans alike (yes, even if one of the ‘obstacles’ in your way was San Marino).  Simply qualifying and having the opportunity to demonstrate your abilities on this stage is a big deal…and certainly not a given:

Yet all the hard work, injury worries, ‘kiss and tell’ tabloid stories and the stress that each team has battled thus far has just been a journey to today.  As each team takes to the pitch, they will no doubt take time to reflect on the hard work put in to date but also recognise that when they cross that white line, their Moment of Truth has arrived.  Fans, journalists, critics, family and the players themselves will put all the stresses and strains of the journey behind them and judge success or failure on what happens in the next 90 minutes on the pitch.

It’s their Moment of Truth.

We talk a lot about the Moment of Truth in business presentations.  In much the same way as a high profile football tournament, all the hard work, long days and sleepless nights aren’t worth a jot if you don’t perform on the day.  Similarly, you and your presentation message will have it’s own set of ‘supporters’ within your business – stakeholders who want to see you succeed.

The Moment of Truth doesn’t allow time for excuses – this is about delivering results for you…and your supporters.

Getting the result you deserve is about being prepared, confident and focused on the prize.  In football terms, this might be getting through to the next round.  In business, it might be winning the pitch, securing funding or selling a new idea into your business.

No matter what the end result, it all boils down to the Moment of Truth.

So if England run out on the pitch tomorrow night looking tired, confused and with no clear plan in place, I for one will be disappointed.  More importantly, my football fanatic friends (the real supporters) will be devastated.  Similarly, if you fail to deliver a clear, engaging and valuable presentation, your audience will disengage and your supporters will be left frustrated and disheartened (and all your combined hard work will have gone to waste).

The impact of failing to deliver at the Moment of Truth is seismic.  Don’t go into your next presentation half-hearted – when that happens, nobody wins.

Good luck at your next Moment of Truth, Oh, and enjoy the football!