5 Ways To Con Your Boss (Into Giving Better Presentations)

September 1st, 2015 by Matt

Con, trick, ploy, scam…

These are all words that we don’t necessarily associate with positive connotations!

But, even though they mean doing something pretty bad, is it still wrong, if your intentions are good?

My 18 month old son Jack has a thing at the moment about having his teeth brushed. He hates it, the very site of a tooth brush and there is a Jack shaped hole in the nearest wall.

So this morning I had an idea, I put the toothpaste onto the toothbrush and kept it out of site, I opened the stairgate and sat on the top stair and shouted over to Jack who was exploring everything but his toys in our master bedroom, “Hey look Jack, the stairgates open!” knowing that the thought of escape down stair mountain would interest him greatly.

Over he came and as he traversed down the first step, I sat him next to me, put my arm around him and thought “Gotchya!” I then, much to his dismay, brushed his teeth.

For 20 long seconds Jack did not like his dad, he had been tricked and conned. But, I felt no guilt! All parents have to do this sometimes, we have to use dishonest tactics to achieve something for the greater good.

Maybe we could/should be applying the same tactics at work!?

The chances are that you have a boss or a colleague who gives terrible presentations?

Going up to them and saying, “excuse me Bob, but the presentation you just gave was truly awful, the audience didn’t know what you were on about, your slides looked awful and on the whole you’ve made the company look really, really unprofessional.”

That’s going to go down about as well as me handing Jack the toothbrush, sure your boss needs to know the ugly truth and change things, just as much as my son’s teeth need brushing.

Taking either approach gets you a similar result, a toothbrush (or a stapler) hurdling through the air, as feet are stamped and tears are shed…

For me, a couple of minutes later and Jack will give me a cuddle and make friends. I can’t promise your boss will be soothed in the same sort of timeframe, nor if you will still have a job!

You see sometimes there is no rational reasoning with people and the only option is to con them…

So how do you subtly con your colleague into giving better presentations?

Con 1 – Leave the Eyeful website open on their computer on the Who We Do It For page and give them a peak at the stunning presentations we create in your industry…

Con 2 – Sneak a copy of the Presentation Lab into their briefcase the next time they go on a trip so that they can learn the formula behind powerful presentations…

Con 3 – Send their PowerPoint presentation to Eyeful for a completely free Health Check and leave the detailed feedback report anonymously on their desk, this will highlight where they’re going wrong and what they can do to improve it…

Con 4 – Book your team in for a lunch and learn presentation training session, our Think – Act – Deliver course is currently available for free! Eyeful’s MD Simon Morton will deliver 90 minutes of pure presentation training that will inspire, re-energise and get your team thinking about presentations in a whole new way.

Con 5 – Subscribe your boss to the Eyeful Blog! Weekly new blogs full of ideas, innovation and the odd bit of humour will get your boss inspired when it comes to creating better presentations.

So there you have it 5 (gratis) ideas on how you can con your boss towards giving better and more professional presentations.

Going behind their back, being sneaky and a bit naughty can feel quite wrong – but also quite good, if you’re so inclined!

But just remember why you are doing it! Yes, conning someone is wrong, but if your intentions are noble, then surely this can only be a good thing!

You are simply, quite subtly leading your boss towards becoming a better presenter who gives better presentations and therefor gets better results. Meaning your team, your department or your company in general will be more successful. And like my son having clean teeth, that’s no bad thing…

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TECH SEASON – THE BEST TECH FOR YOUR SALES TEAM

August 26th, 2015 by Matt

We continue Eyeful’s Tech Season this week and look at a scenario where you could use the presentation landscape to your advantage when planning and preparing for your presentation.

Scenario #3: A Sales Presentation To Be Distributed To An Entire On The Road Sales Team

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This is a common type of presentation and one that requires thinking ahead more than any other.

As always start at stage 4 and work backwards, put your audience at the forefront of you mind. Let’s imagine your team are sales representatives in company cars who attend small sales meetings with prospects in varying locations.

Usually in the prospects office, with 1 maybe 2 people whilst having a coffee. This puts us in the Informal segment.

Also, time is critical, the more important the prospect the less time you have, so this must be considered at the presentation creation stage.

Into stage 3, what piece of hardware are they going to use?

With a small office, a small audience and probably very limited time, your prospect isn’t going to appreciate waiting while a laptop and a projector are set up, before being taken through the bog standard company sales presentation.

It’s time to create and deliver smarter presentations.

A web presentation can be useful for access on the road, but be very careful not to rely on someone else’s internet connection and always, always have an offline back-up.

A smartphone is ok, if the screen is big enough. But on the whole they aren’t, even an iPhone 6+ with its gigantor screen is a bit on the small side compared to a full size iPad.

The best piece of tech here is the tablet, an iPad or Samsung Galaxy being the most popular devices.

Overall in the situation described, your sales teams two main weapons are their conversation skills and a tablet presentation that has interactive navigation.

I mentioned earlier that time in these type of meetings can be on the low side. So does your prospect really want to know every little detail about your company?

Well, they might, maybe they want to get into the nitty gritty of your products before finding out more about you ethos and reputation.

This is where interactive navigation is your best friend, forget the old fashioned click through presentations where you have to ask them to hang on a sec while you skip through all the ‘about us’ slides.

A menu with interactive navigation will allow the sales person to start the conversation, assess then and there where it’s going and tap effortlessly to the areas the prospect wants to talk about.

This gives the prospect an element of control and the sales person the flexibility and the power to go with it.

I really hope you’ve found this Tech Season scenario useful and that you can put the Presentation Landscape into good use on your presentations in the future.

If you need any help with anything though, you know where we are.

Eyeful’s MD Simon Morton Reveals Some Of The Secrets Behind Great Presentations

August 25th, 2015 by Matt

Hold everything and enter the following in your Outlook reminder…

Wednesday 26th August 2015 – 3pm GMT

Eyeful’s MD Simon Morton is getting grilled live on the internet as the next guest in iSpring’s Leadership Series. iSpring are a very well respected software company who create E-Learning and PowerPoint conversion software (we should know – we use it all the time).

It’s an inspiring series and if you want to create or deliver the best possible presentations, then this interview is for you.

Heat Map - CompressedSimon will be discussing some of the topics from his acclaimed book, The Presentation Lab which contains lots of concepts and ideas to help presenters get the best results from their presentations.

One such concept is the Audience Heatmap, which is used at the planning stage to make sure the presentation will connect and resonate with its audience. But what is an Audience Heatmap and how can you use it? Simon will explain all.

The most important element of a successful presentation is the design, right? Wrong. Simon will explain what is, so that you know where exactly to focus your efforts.

There will be lots of other practical examples of presentation do’s and don’ts as well as some of Simon’s favourite presentation innovations too.

All there to give you inspiration, ideas and help you create better presentations.

It would be a real shame for any serious presenters to miss out, so sign up here and enjoy the interview on anything from your PC to your iPad.

Look forward to seeing you there…

8 Awesome Innovation Designs

August 19th, 2015 by Matt

It’s that time of year again, where the Eyeful design team proudly unleash their innovation projects to the world!

Over the past couple of months, every ounce of downtime they’ve had, has seen them get their heads down and work on their individual pieces ready for this moment.

The brief was to take a piece of audio from a movie, book, story or a poem and to create a visual version.

And boy have they delivered… prepare to be wowed and amazed at what can only be described as ‘visual masterpieces’.

All 8 are packaged up below for you to peruse, share and save for future inspiration.

Enjoy and don’t forget to vote for your favourite…

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Breaking News!!!

August 14th, 2015 by Matt

Eyeful Presentations has an important announcement to make…

And to deliver this information to you, we thought we’d do what we do best, create an engaging story and apply the highest level of design quality.

Unfortunately this file got accidentally deleted (nice one Simon!) and we quickly cobbled this together…

Thanks for your understanding and patience.

Dementia Friends – Fundraising Summer 2015

August 11th, 2015 by Matt

This week at Eyeful, we are all about our chosen charity, the Alzheimer’s Society.

And rather than just picking a charity and supporting it from afar, we believe in understanding what they are about and how they try to help people in need.

So yesterday we invited in Dementia Friend Champion Lee McGill to educate the Eyefulites on the disease and give us some advice on how we can spread the good word, as newly crowned Dementia Friends.

As Dementia Friends, we can now give support to those who suffer from dementia and we are able to understand and appreciate how the disease affects them.

Here’s our trainer Lee to explain a little bit more…

Meanwhile we continue our efforts this week to prepare for our annual EyefulPalooza fun day event, where we are already on course to beat what we raised last time, with all proceeds going to the very worthy Alzheimer’s Society.

If you would like to add your support to this extraordinary campaign, then just visit dementiafriends.org

The 2015 EyefulPalooza

August 7th, 2015 by Matt

At last summer is on us, although it’s hard to tell with the UK weather which can’t decide if it’s going to be hot and sunny or chuck it down!

But at Eyeful, the sign of summer is when the sun is shining and the smell of slightly burnt sausages is in the air – as that means it’s ‘EyefulPalooza’ Time!

Yes, we Eyefulites aren’t just about working hard on creating the best presentations the world has seen, we also have the odd bit of downtime and do our bit for charity.

In recent times, Eyeful’s Head of Training, Liz has raised money by giving up chocolate for a month, Head of Engagement, Jayne has run the London Marathon and my chum in marketing Olivia has jumped out of plane all in the name of charity.

And for this year’s annual EyefulPalooza, we are having an afternoon of fun (Date TBC) to raise as much money as possible for our friends at the Alzheimer’s Society.

The last EyefulPalooza we had egg and spoon races, welly wanging, limbo, a tombola and a BBQ as we raised just over £200 for the Alzheimer’s Society.

The Alzheimer’s Society is a very worthy charity, Dementia is a life changing illness with no cure. But the Alzheimer’s Society help people through information, support, research and guidance so that people with the illness and can continue to live a fulfilling life.

To reaffirm our commitment to this great cause we are set to become Dementia friends when a senior member of the Central Government Dementia Taskforce visits us next week.

So to really make sure we do our best of this fine organisation in 2015, we’ve had many discussions and come up with a plan…

The 2015 EyefulPalooza is going to be MASSIVE!

The bouncy castle is on its way, the BBQ food is ordered and sumo practise is a daily activity around Eyeful towers.

We’ll be kicking off the afternoon with a rounder’s tournament for all staff, family and friends to partake in (with the entry fee going into the pot). Then there will be fun for the kids in the bouncy castle and sumo suit wresting for those who fancy letting their macho side out.

paloozaposterV1.6 - v3The afternoon will conclude with the main event – the RAFFLE!

Hats off to Sam and Iysha for emailing, phoning, writing and generally stalking businesses all over the place to get us an amazing variety of brilliant prizes…

Leicester City Stadium Tours
Dog Racing Tickets at Coventry Dog Racing
Two Snow White Theatre Tickets at Demontford Hall, Leicester
3 Course Lunch and Bespoke Cocktail for Two at The White Peacock in Leicester (Worth £50)
2 Cinema De Lux Tickets – Nationwide
£25 Voucher for Five Guys Burger’s – Nationwide
360 Play Family Pass – Midlands
Plus many more…

A huge thank you to all the businesses for their generous donations.

If you would like to contribute towards our chosen charity, the Alzheimer’s Society then you too can take part in our raffle! Which costs £3 for 5 tickets, or £5 for 10 tickets.

To donate and purchase tickets, just contact us – if you win, we’ll let you know!

Tech Season – The Internet is Set to Ruin Your Next Presentation

July 30th, 2015 by Simon

I love a spot of innovation now and again.

For example, I’m currently relishing the fact that Apple’s new iTunes service means that the cost of feeding my habit for new music has dramatically reduced.  I’m forever grateful that my car will beep at me whenever I consider going over the speed limit.  Oh, and what would I do without the technical wonder that is Evernote?

Technology is ruddy marvellous, isn’t it?

Yet sometimes innovation can go too far.  It can prompt behaviours that simply do us mere mortals no favours whatsoever.  For example take the forthcoming version of PowerPoint which now includes a Bing powered fact checker.  Yep…you heard that right.  Your presentation software of choice will review your slide content, stroke it’s silicon chin and then tell you if you’ve got it correct.  The name of this new feature is Insights.

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I’m sorry but this has to stop.

Trite though this may sound, presentations are about people.  In their raw form, they are about people communicating messages, facts and opinion to prompt an action from their audience (who, coincidentally, also happen to be people).  The resulting action might be understanding, could be recognition of your point of view or the act of signing on the dotted line…whatever the end goal, it starts with communication and connection from one person to another.

My fear is that Insights is a big step back down a rocky road we’ve trodden before.  Remember that widely vilified character Clippy?  People hated Clippy – like an unwelcome party guest, he popped up when you least expected it and proceeded to sit in the background, nagging and interrupting like some kind of technological tinnitus.

Of course, it wasn’t just Clippy we had to contend with.  Back in the day, PowerPoint came preloaded with story structures to help you with all manner of presentation scenarios, from Building a Business Case through to Sales Meetings.  No doubt these ideas were well intentioned when on the drawing board but the reality was that it prompted millions of people to stop thinking and start typing as soon as they entered ‘presentation mode’.

Brains immediately started to disengage as soon as the PowerPoint icon was double-clicked and pre-loaded pointers were slavishly followed.

We all know that Death by PowerPoint has absolutely nothing to do with the software and everything to do with the way people use it.

Make no mistake, powerful presentations that resonate with audiences require smart thinking and hard work – quite frankly, Clippy and pre-built story structures are the antithesis to the required levels of clarity and quality of thought.

So back to my rising sense of panic that technology is pushing us back into the bad habits of old.  Like Clippy and pre-built story structures, I have no doubt someone somewhere within Microsoft has the very best of intentions with Insights.

The issue is that by letting the technology take the strain, we’re taking the thinking, creativity and audience connection out of presentation development…and that’s a bad thing.  A very bad thing.

The ugly truth is that creating great presentations requires hard work, deep thinking and a commitment to not cut corners.  For all their good intentions, the Insights function within PowerPoint has just made it easier for potentially great presentations to fall back into the trap of ‘autopilot drivel’…and when this happens, nobody wins.

The Eyeful Rebrand – The MD’s Perspective

July 28th, 2015 by Simon

The eagle eyed amongst our readership will have noticed we’ve had a bit of an overhaul of our look and feel.  Everywhere you look, from our website to our proudly presented studio artwork, has succumbed to the gentle spit and polish refresh of our branding.

The overhaul of a company’s look and feel is, by it’s very nature, disruptive. 

From the marketing team who has the thankless task of going through each and every piece of collateral with a fine toothcomb to ensure ‘new brand’ compliance through to the sales team cleansing their briefcases (both electronic and physical) of all ‘old brand’ content.  Of this while the rest of the business wrestles with new fonts, new rules and email signature formats.  It’s a time consuming and frequently frustrating job.

In our case, the stakes are a whole bunch higher.  Eyeful is a business that’s built a reputation (and a rather successful book) off the back of getting visual communication right.  In short, we couldn’t afford to mess this one up.

So why do it? 

Wouldn’t it be simpler just to jazz up a few bits here and there (akin to adding a few scatter cushions to a tired room layout) rather than going hell for leather and overhauling everything?  The simple reason is that businesses evolve (or at least the successful ones do).  Eyeful started off life in my back bedroom 11 years ago because I was quite good at PowerPoint and wanted to use this skill to improve the quality of business presentations in the Oxfordshire area.  A laudable if slightly limited aspiration.

Jump to today and we find ourselves supporting businesses of all sizes across the globe.  We’ve developed presentations that have been delivered to Prime Ministers, Presidents and Business Icons.  Clients now come to us to support them on their message, story and structure as much as they do their PowerPoint visuals.  They turn to us for advice on new technology, for training across the entire gamut of presentation skills and as a sounding board for when everyone around them has resorted to business speak.

We needed a look and feel that reflected these changes, to mark the evolution of the business from over excited PowerPoint geeks to fully rounded presentation experts.  The time had come.

So what’s changed?

Well, rather than hide our consultancy credentials under a bushel, we’ve proudly brought them to the fore.  Our new branding reflects the conversations we have every day with decision makers across a whole range of businesses, from the founder of a start up through to the C-suite of international organisations.  We deliver greater presentation success by adding greater value earlier on in the process – that’s the power of the consultancy.

Equally we’ve upped the ante in terms of promoting our successful but criminally low key training services.  What was once an adjunct to our attention grabbing design services now has equal billing (and about time too).  Our training is underpinned by the ideas in The Presentation Lab, a book that was written with the avowed intention of changing the way people approach presentations.  At this very moment, someone somewhere is dipping into a local language edition of The Presentation Lab (most recent edition – Korean!) and taking the new ideas into their business.  The mix of excitement, pride and sense of privilege that comes from this is huge…and our relaunched training is the manifestation of this mission to make a difference to presentations somewhere in the World everyday.

In short, we’ve evolved (some may say matured) into a business that recognises that when we get it right for a client, the result is so much more than a set of better looking slides.

We deliver engagement that informs decisions that prompt real change.

It’s a privilege we take seriously…and it’s about time our branding reflected this.

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Yet despite all the change, some things remain the same…

Our passion for the power of presentations remains at the core of what we do.

This is not some blasé statement – we’ve seen it happen.

We’ve seen new ideas adopted with enthusiasm and vigour within organisations, sales teams transformed when armed with the right collateral mix and nervous presenters transformed into powerful storytellers. 

It’s this metamorphosis, driven by our well established methodologies and experience, that continues to fuel the Eyeful team.  In short, it’s bloody exciting.

Now this might all sound a little, um, zealous…and you’re probably right.  We take pride in the impact a little bit of Eyefulocity can have on a presenter, a message or a visual and we’re not going to start getting embarrassed about it now.  As such, regular visitors should still recognise the Eyeful tone of voice, the ‘so bad it’s good’ scattering of puns and a willingness to share our news ideas and whimsy.

It all boils down to a passion for the power of presentations.  No matter how we package it, that’s what we stand for…and our hope is that a little of the excitement that fills the halls of ‘Eyeful Towers’ rubs off on visitors to the Labs, our website or one of our workshops.  So please enjoy the new site, tell us what you like (and, more importantly, what you loathe) and we’ll continue to develop it with you very much in mind.

Between us, we can make presentations truly deliver.

On behalf of audiences everywhere, thanks for taking the time to have a mooch,

Simon

The Eyeful Rebrand – The Designer’s Perspective

July 24th, 2015 by Alex Warwick

With the decision made to update our website and training offering we thought it was the perfect time to give Eyeful in general a complete brand overhaul.

This would also help to better capture and promote the essence of Eyeful with an expression of our company evolution.

In our industry we understand the huge importance of branding and how keeping a brand fresh and updated is vital.

Our product and service offering have always been kept up to date by constantly pushing boundaries and optimising our offering and over the last 10 years this has seen us grow into a world leading presentation company.

Our own branding though simply didn’t keep up with the evolution!

So after a decade of having one colour palette and an ever changing corporate font, we are hugely excited to release an all new brand image that will help communicate who we are and why we are unique.

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Idea Phase
We started off using our delivery team innovation sessions to come up with new concept ideas for the Eyeful Website. Some great ideas went into the chosen design, which was then lovingly crafted and fined tuned into our new website design. This then ultimately became the brand look and feel for the whole of Eyeful.

The Font
2aWhen The Presentation Lab book was in early development there was a debate amongst the designers whether to use Gill Sans or Myriad Pro as the book font. A test page was shown around the office and a vote was taken that saw Myriad Pro win. So this font would now be used for all of our new branded materials. With a great weight variety and easy to manage functionality across multi-media, it was the perfect choice.
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The Hexagon
A decision was made to use a hexagon as a primary design feature. We had used hexagons in The Presentation Lab Book to add a consistent chemical/DNA structure look to our diagrams and realised the practical potential and aesthetic value of the shape. We added shades to give depth, while keeping the design contemporarily flat and uncomplicated. The hexagons will now form part of Eyefuls DNA.

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The Colour
The importance and influence of colour on a brand is key to a cohesive brand identity. Like the Eiffel 65 song everything about our brand was blue. We needed to address this to implement a full vibrant palette that would help communicate our brand more effectively.

5We added a complimentary dark and light blue to work with our core Eyeful Blue that remains unchanged. The cool colours were set symbolising security, trust, loyalty and intelligence so we needed to add in colours from the warm side of the spectrum, the pink does this job symbolising health, happiness and playfulness. We also added in the yellow to the warm side of the new Eyeful colour spectrum symbolising energy and creativity. Lastly we decided on a couple of neutral colours for backgrounds and text. These would be the dark and light greys. So now with the basics of a good solid flexible hexagon shape and a colour scheme to match our brand values (Eyefulocity) we needed to add some uniqueness and freshness to the brand.


The Long Shadow

The freshness and modernity of our brand would come from a recent design trend of using long shadows. In a Design world that values flat and simplicity the single colour long shadow has become a key ingredient in giving depth to flat icons. So with a trusty angle of 45 degrees and a darker edge to the hexagon for the long shadow to bleed into, we have created a fresh and current design feature in our brand.

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The Bubbles
Lastly, as a designer I always feel in a branding world of consistency and repetition that a touch of non-conformity and chaos can add a great deal to symbolise imagination and inspiration. The Presentation Lab book was again the go to place to find the perfect design feature. The Lab’s bubbles were chosen as they are a very flexible and fluid design feature that could be used to create a uniqueness across all of Eyeful’s branded material.

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Conclusion
Spearheaded by our completely new and refreshed website, our new look and feel now reflects a renewed understanding of our brand. And we are over the moon to have brought it bang up to date and befitting of our cutting edge presentation services. We hope you like it!