Archive for the ‘Presentation Design’ Category

#PresentBetter – PowerPoint PowerHack: Removing White Backgrounds

Monday, March 27th, 2017 by Matt<

#PresentBetter – PowerPoint PowerHack: Removing White Backgrounds

If you’ve ever dropped a logo into a PowerPoint slide, you might have been left frustrated by its background colour standing out.

Well not anymore, as one of Eyeful’s senior presentation designers has another top PowerPoint PowerHack which reveals a little Photoshop style magic without
ever leaving PowerPoint…

Stay tuned for another PowerPoint PowerHack soon,

The Eyeful Team

THE 6 BEST TECHNOLOGY TOOLS TO HELP YOU PRESENT

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017 by Matt<

With Prezi being as popular as ever and PowerPoint presentation design advancing at a rate of knots never seen before, where does this leave the everyday presenter?

In days gone by, presenters had little more to worry about than very basic slides with animation on-click – (if your presentations are still like this – seek help now! – you’re in serious danger of getting left behind).

Today, presenters are faced with high end designs, super slick animation and interactivity that allows them to navigate around their presentation as if it were a website…

This is no bad thing. Presentations have moved on from bullet-point ridden, text heavy slides with more confusing content than clear messages.

Presentations with high quality design and powerful well thought out messages enable presenters to tell an impactful clear story that audiences understand easily, and are therefore more likely to follow the presenter’s call to action.

However, going from a basic bullet-point presentation to this kind of asset is like stepping out of your everyday saloon and jumping into a supercar – yes it drives well, yes it looks amazing, but without learning how to drive it properly, there’s a much higher chance of crashing!

A large amount of practise is a must (as with any presentation), advanced PowerPoint training sessions are an option, but there is also an entire range of tools to make live presenting that little bit easier…

Technology to help presenters…

PowerPoint Operator

Technically this isn’t a tech tool, it’s a person. A PowerPoint Operator is essentially a presentation designer who provides the presenter with the freedom to concentrate on their delivery alone, as the operator drives the presentation and performs the clicks out of sight of the audience…

The presentation control room for a conference we recently supported in Athens…

It is essential that the operator and the presenter are well rehearsed and in-synch. As long as this is the case, this set-up can work really well. However, if things have been left to the last minute and either party is unprepared, you could end up with an embarrassing out-of-synch experience.

Presentation Environments: Large conferences or any large event presentation.
Main Pro: The only option to give the presenter freedom from controlling their PowerPoint presentation.
Biggest Con: Costly. It’s the presentation equivalent of hiring a private chauffeur.

Presenter View

This is where the presenter drives the presentation themselves using PowerPoint’s excellent Presenter View window.

Presenter View can be displayed either on a podium based laptop (if the presenter wants to stand still) or on a tablet device (if the presenter wants to walk the room or stage).

Presenter View displayed on an iPad…

This fantastic tool gives the presenter some very useful information. It shows you which slide you are on, which slide is next and how long you have spent on the slide and presenting as a whole. All very useful information (especially if you are in a timed slot).

Having access to a preview of the next slide gives you chance to mentally prepare before clicking.

If you have trouble remembering your key points, the window also displays your slide notes where you could note these down. This means forgetful presenters no longer need to overfill slides with text.

The best thing about Presenter View is the fact that it’s a few snippets of useful information that is private to the presenter, the audience don’t see any of this, whilst the presenter retains full control of PowerPoint. Oh, and it’s free!

Presentation Environments: Large events and conferences, any presentation with a podium (suitable for a laptop) and even boardroom type meetings.
Main Pro: Gives the presenter lots of useful information. Can be tailored to what works best for the presenter’s style.
Biggest Con: It can make you lazy! It’s too easy to add your script and use it like an autocue, when really you should learn your presentation speech inside out.

Smartphone App

There are plenty of free apps around (JumiDesktop and Hippo LITE) that turn your smartphone into a touch-screen mouse. This means the presenter can be anywhere in the room and use their smartphone to drive the presentation.

It certainly takes some getting used to but, with enough practice, this option gives the presenter the same level of control as a mouse, along with the freedom to move around the room. It doesn’t however, provide any of the information that Presenter View does – but for some presenters, a simpler approach will be preferred.

Presentation Environments: Relaxed internal presentations and meetings.
Main Pro: Full mouse control in the palm of your hand.
Biggest Con: Only works when both the PC and Smartphone are on the same wi-fi network.

PowerPoint Clicker

The PowerPoint clicker is one of the oldest (and still most reliable) technical tools for presenting with. It’s a simple device that consists of forward and backward buttons, allowing you to move through your presentation in a linear fashion.

Most come with a built-in laser pointer too (how very 90’s).

Presentation Environments: Formal conferences and large events.
Main Pro: Really easy to use with a robust connection.
Biggest Con: Does not allow you to control interactive navigation.

Tablet Presentation

A tablet presentation is for those informal small meetings, that don’t necessarily involve a presenter and an audience. It’s more likely to be an informal meeting where a prospect reveals their problems to a sales person who reacts with their company’s solutions.

The sales person is equipped with an interactive tablet presentation which they can use as a sort of digital brochure to navigate straight to the supporting information or products that solve the prospects problem…

This basically removes the need for a cumbersome laptop, or a meeting with no visual support.

Presentation Environments: Informal meetings, especially sales conversations. Event booths.
Main Pro: High end presentation collateral in the palm of your hand.
Biggest Con: Not very good in meetings larger than 3 people.

Flipchart

High-tech this isn’t. But a flip-chart presentation is one of the most powerful types of presentation. Imagine you’re trying to get a really complicated message to an audience that you’re in danger of losing…

A series of well planned white-board graphics keep the audience engaged as you draw out your solution. This broken-down delivery method helps them to absorb the information steadily. Full understanding increases the chance of buy-in and presentation success.

Presentation Environments: Smaller meetings where the audience and presenter can have a discussion.
Main Pro: One of the most simple ways to deliver complicated information.
Biggest Con: Not everyone is comfortable drawing in front of an audience.

Remember, when it comes to using any technology to help you present, it’s not about choosing the tool you like the sound of. It’s about considering your audience and the environment you’re going to be presenting in. Once you’ve done this, the best tool to use will be obvious.

If you need any help with this, please do just pick up the phone and one of Eyeful’s expert presentation consultants will be happy to help…

WHAT DO YOUR (STOCK) PHOTOS SAY ABOUT YOU?

Thursday, March 16th, 2017 by Matt<

I love quirky journalism, especially when I can relate to it…

Sean Coughlan of the BBC has written a rather amusing article all about stock photography – something we know only too well here at the UK’s leading presentation design company…

In his article, he says…

“There is a place where no emotion is understated. A place that pioneered “post-truth” before it was discovered by politicians. A place where both triumph and disaster are met with… perfect dentistry. This is the land of stock pictures.”

If you’ve ever had the (highly frustrating) task of sourcing images for your presentations, you’ll probably have a wry frown as you nod in agreement with Sean’s take on this minefield…

To be fair to the BEEB, they don’t just mock stock photography, they have in the past taken an interest in presentation messaging and the fraught dangers of supporting imagery that either confuses everyone or simply looks awful…

They even looked to us for help on this matter…

As a presentation design company who create hundreds of presentations each week, we work with thousands of stock images and we have to say they aren’t all bad…

On any given stock website there will be pictures going back many years and trends change… a few years ago images (as bad as they are now) like ‘man in field’ were in-vogue on websites to brochures and everything in-between…


Landscapes are now all about dusky dramatic sunsets…

No longer should images be used where the people within them look directly (or pull stupid faces) at the camera…

The thing is, these images are still readily available on most stock image websites despite falling out of trend some time ago. And, unfortunately it is a cultural business problem, if a presentation creator thinks that an image like this is acceptable to use…

According to Pixabay this image has been downloaded almost 5000 times – why?

If sourcing images for presentations is something you need to do, we implore you to apply a common-sense approach that seem to be beyond most people (at least 4782)…

The Eyeful guide to stock image websites is a good place to find imagery…

Or, if what you really want is a powerful presentation that persuades your audience to follow your call to action… Then you really ought to get in touch with the presentation experts…

 

 




TECH UPDATE: HOW TO USE POWERPOINT’S NEW ICON TOOL

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 by Matt<

It’s nice when something you wish for comes true and once again it has!

A loooong time ago, I spent a little time dreaming about just how great PowerPoint could be and created a wish list of how PowerPoint could evolve…

Historic PowerPoint Review – part 1

Historic PowerPoint Review – part 2

Sadly, the Random Bars transition still exists, but on a more positive note my wish for Morph did come true as well as a brand-new feature which allows users to insert icons into slides…

Icons are a very important part of presentation design according to Alex Warwick, one of our senior presentation designers here at Eyeful…

“Icons play a vital role as a visual representation of content which help the audience to more efficiently understand, navigate and interpret information. Icons support content or communicate on their own by drawing attention and helping to differentiate and structure content. Icons are widely used because they effectively combine function with being an aesthetic element in design.”

How the new icon feature works…

Alex is a big fan of this new functionality…

“In the past, the options to use icons were only available to users who have additional software like Adobe Illustrator or who would go through the testing process of downloading an icon online and having to convert the file type to make it compatible with PowerPoint. With the new Insert Icons feature any level user of PowerPoint can recolour and resize hundreds of useful icons in their presentations.”

The new icon feature is available for some users of Microsoft Office 365 right now, but as with all Office updates the feature will be rolled out in a staggered manner across all Office users.

Remember, icons aren’t just a way of making your PowerPoint presentation design look better, it’s all about making it easier for your audience to understand the message you’re trying to get across (I wonder what the icon for that would be?).

For a more in-depth conversation about your presentation’s messaging, just give us a call on +44 (0)1455 826390 and have a chat with one of our expert presentation consultants…

ARE 3D PRESENTATIONS THE (NEAR) FUTURE?

Thursday, October 27th, 2016 by Matt<

News has broken that a forthcoming update to Microsoft’s famous paint program, means that 3D presentations are on the horizon…

Now before everyone gets dizzy with excitement let’s hold our horses. Right now this is just news, the updates are ‘coming in early 2017’ and if other Microsoft PowerPoint updates are to go by such as Zoom and Presentation Designer, they won’t blow your socks off just yet.

But hey, let’s not get too downbeat. The business world is more than ready for this type of PowerPoint presentation design and if you really want to know how this will improve your presentations, then follow this blog.

We’ll test it out, figure out how it works and create an example of 3D used in business presentations.

As teaching kids how to do this on the latest Surface is all well and good, but if your PC is 5 years old and you’re as time poor as the rest of us, you’ll need to know how you can realistically use 3D…

My Bloody Valentine 3D

Is a warning to all! An average movie, shot in 3D ready for the initial wave of 3D movies back in 2009…

Stick a load of 3D content in your presentation might make you look cool for 5 minutes, but like with any other graphic, animation or video element in your presentation it needs to help tell your story and inspire the audience to follow your call to action – otherwise, what’s the point?!

I asked Eyeful’s CEO Simon Morton his thoughts on the matter and his thoughts were on the same lines as my own…

“Cool technology like this and HoloLens are exciting…but will only really have an impact when people see beyond the novelty and add value to their presentations because of it. How does 3D aid storytelling? Can this provide a deeper engagement with audiences because of enhanced understanding and not just their interest in the cool tech? Once we have the answers to this (and Eyeful is perfectly placed to explore the options and potential benefits), we can get truly excited. For the minute, it’s cool…but that’s as far as it goes…”

So for now enjoy the prospect of one day using elements of 3D to help share your presentation messages and when the time comes we’ll show you how it could make your presentations even better.

TIME TO GET YOUR GEEK ON… ANNOUNCING THE PRESENTATION TECHNOLOGY LAB

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 by Matt<

If you’ve ever worked on a presentation into the late hours, with stress levels rising and motivation getting lower and lower, which eventually leads to a deep everlasting feeling of…

“I HATE [insert here the name of any presentation technology that drives you insane]”

Then you’d be joining a pretty big club! It’s also why we are very happy to announce our brand new training course, The Presentation Technology Lab…

This is the place to get a little technology rehab from our expert consultants and amazing presentation designers.

In the Lab you’ll be able to forget your frustrations and make presentation software such as PowerPoint and Prezi work for you, not against you, as we reveal and demystify the latest technology.

Like all of our presentation training, this course is about getting you to Think, Act and Deliver Presentations Differently…

THINK

rsz_a_formal_presenter
Open your mind with sage advice and industry insight from an Eyeful consultant who’ll start off the day by putting technology into perspective with The Presentation Landscape.

Understanding the differing requirements of formal, informal and interactive presentations will really help you to choose the most appropriate technology for each presenting environment.

This crucial building block will give you a completely fresh approach to creating your presentations in the future.

ACT

rsz_prezi
We’ll give you the keys to the world’s two best presentation creation technologies, PowerPoint and Prezi, as an Eyeful Prezi expert provides the insider knowledge on how to develop the most engaging presentation (without overdoing the zoom).

You’ll also receive advanced PowerPoint training from a senior presentation designer, who’ll reveal their top ten PowerPoint Powertips… which are the tricks and techniques they’ve discovered over years of designing presentations for some of the world’s biggest brands.

DELIVER

rsz_office_lens
Once you’ve mastered how to build great presentations, we’ll show you how to share them securely across your organisation with our trusted cloud management platform…

Before finally putting the best presentation delivery technology into your hands… as you learn how to make presenting easier and more effective with tech like iPads, Clickers and Smartphone Apps – you’ll learn what’s best and what’s best avoided…

The Presentation Technology Lab isn’t just a presentation geek-fest…. it’s about learning the best technology available, the right time to use it and how to make it work to your advantage.

If you’d like to discover the secrets that make Eyeful Europe’s leading presentation agency, then book into The Presentation Technology Lab here…

HOW TO APPLY FASHION TRENDS TO YOUR PRESENTATIONS

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 by Matt<

It’s London Fashion Week later this week, so we thought we’d do something a little different and hand the blog over to Eyeful’s most fashionable presentation designer Ms Lorna Boyer, who was very eager indeed to write an interactive article all about how you can apply fashion trends to presentations…

So here is Lorna’s take on presentation trends for Autumn and Winter 2016…

If you fancy applying a little fashion to your presentations, just get in touch

3 BIG PRESENTATION NO NOS FOR 1 VERY GOOD REASON

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 by Matt<

An email from a colleague hit my inbox the other day asking me for some ideas on what we could do to help a potential customer with their web presentation…

I clicked the link, Chrome loaded the URL and there in front of me was a standard click-through presentation. Metaphorically speaking, the palm of my right hand smashed into my forehead as presentation alarm bells rang aloud…

No number 1…
Don’t not upload linear click-through presentations to the internet and expect to get any traction off the back of them. What are presenters hoping to achieve here? I’ve just finished a webinar or a meeting, so here you go…here are my slides…No, people.

No number 2…
Don’t just email presentations to your audience. The risk of leaking confidential material is one thing, but do you really expect them read to it? No, they won’t.

No number 3…
Don’t print your presentation out and hand it out as a leave behind. This happens. A lot. I see so many presentations arriving for a Presentation Healthcheck that are overloaded with so much content that a live audience wouldn’t stand a chance…The reason presentation designers have done this? “…but the printout won’t make any sense without all of the content on the slides” No, they are missing the point.

Why so harsh?
Look, we know that an enormous amount of hard work goes into creating presentations, that’s why this presentation design company exists. All of this hard work can mean that it’s tempting for presenters to create a set of slides that covers all bases, but actually ends up being ineffective over all formats.

Unfortunately, this approach seems to have become acceptable – to present text-heavy slides, print minimalist slides with no context, or just email an enormous data-heavy presentation because hey, ‘it’ll do’.

Well it won’t do any more.

You can’t just send, upload or share a PowerPoint Presentation which is designed to be delivered by a presenter, because it just wouldn’t make any sense without the presenter’s input to put the whole thing into context.

Context is king…

You know what? Sharing your presentation content isn’t wrong, it’s just the way it’s being done that is misguided.

So here’s our thoughts on what you should be doing…

Online Presentations
Maybe you have a presentation about one of your products which you want to share on the relevant webpage of your site. Great idea, but the presenter still needs to give the audience the full picture.

The easiest way to do this is to turn your presentation into a video, complete with narration from the presenter…providing the all-important context for each slide…

Here’s a presentation we turned into a video for our homepage…

This is great for website visitors, but you could also host this video presentation on a hidden web page and share the link with the people you’ve just presented to. In this way, they (or important people who couldn’t attend) can dip back into your presentation after the event.

Email Presentations
Suddenly your video presentations can also be powerful marketing assets too. You can use them in your campaigns by including a thumbnail in your email which hyperlinks back to the page where your video is hosted. A great way to re-use your presentation and a great way to drive traffic to your website.

Here’s a presentation we created for an email marketing campaign to Creative Agencies…

PDF ImagePrinted Leave Behind
The more traditional way of creating a printed leave behind is still effective, but a better way to approach this is for you to reformat your existing PowerPoint presentation design into an A4 document with the presenter’s words as copy.

Then print and bind this professionally; as not only do you get to reuse all of the hard work that went into your presentation, your audience gets full context and the designed document gives you an even greater professional image too…

Here’s an extract from one of our training presentations where the slide graphics have been recreated as a PDF…

 

576bf0ee4170e44003dbae21Interactive Multi-Purpose Presentation
This is our brand new presentation concept where we could create you a single all-encompassing PowerPoint file, complete with strong messages and great minimalist design that the presenter can stand and deliver. But the very same file can be printed or hosted online and shared via email too.

As built into the design of each slide would be a ‘more information’ button which gives access to the presenters copy similar to this example…

 

Go forth and share…

So now you know what not to do, why you shouldn’t do it and what you can do instead! So go for it, make your hard work, work even harder…

If you need any help, you know where we are…

THREE THINGS PRESENTERS SHOULD AVOID AT ALL COSTS

Friday, February 19th, 2016 by Matt<

You might have heard the recent news that Eyeful have joined forces with Microsoft…

“Microsoft decided to join forces with a UK company with a global remit to improve the quality of business presentations, Eyeful Presentations (that’ll be us, then). It makes perfect sense – the creators of the world’s most popular presentation tool working alongside the people who quite literally, wrote the book on the formula behind powerful presentations, The Presentation Lab.”

We work with some of the biggest brands in the world most days, creating business presentations for them that deliver serious results. But this relationship is a little different – Microsoft didn’t want us to just create them a PowerPoint presentation design, they wanted to dip into all our years of experience and into the expert thinking that has gone into our modular presentation training

They wanted to serialise some serious presentation expertise for the people who need it most – the millions of business presenters and presentation designers out there who use PowerPoint and all the other Microsoft tools on a daily basis.

One subject that came to the surface during the creation of this video series, was the fact that there are a few common pitfalls that hamper many presenters and should be avoided at all costs!

The Presentation Paradox

the_presentation_paradox

Or more simply put, a lack of respect for the presentation opportunity.

This is about where businesses invest in all the areas before the presentation, hiring their people, marketing budgets – all the time, effort and money that goes into getting the opportunity to present booked in the diary.

Then when it comes to the crunch time, they either invest little effort (or completely the wrong effort) into the presentation itself. It all spells a missed opportunity due to simply not recognising and respecting the value of the opportunity itself.

Avoid being a part of a Presentation Paradox.

Presentation Myths To Avoid

presentation_myths

PowerPoint is the child of the devil and it’s PowerPoint’s fault all my presentations are rubbish.

Erm… our research suggests if a person can only make a rubbish PowerPoint, they can generally only make a rubbish Prezi…

My PowerPoint is the presentation, not me.

A PowerPoint without a presenter is like a movie on mute…

My presentation looks good, so it’s good right?

Wrong.

The 10, 20, 30 Rule (Max 10 slides, talk for no more than 20 mins, use a font size of 30).

Does this actually make sense to anyone?

Quick Fixes To Avoid

Make every slide a full image with little to no text.

Creating your presentation by grabbing slides from other people’s decks.

Using someone else’s presentation, or worse still using a generic company presentation and hope that it works for your specific audience or goal.

There are lots of myths, lots of quick fixes out there on the internet, lots of programmes and apps to try and make the presentation creation process quicker and easier.

But to make a successful presentation that really works, really engages with your audience and is effective in getting results – then there is no hiding from the fact that work is required – not necessarily harder work, but definitely smarter work…

So if you would like to work smarter when it comes to presentations, check out the Microsoft and Eyeful Video Series as there is literally no better place to start.

HOW TO USE MORPH

Thursday, February 11th, 2016 by Matt<

A quick tech update from Eyeful Tower’s here for all users of PowerPoint…

Morph is now available to Office Insider users of Mac.

If you’re not sure what Morph is, or how to use it, please allow me to elaborate…

You may have heard in our PowerPoint 2016 review last year, that 2016 wasn’t really anything to write home about…

Well since it’s release, Microsoft have released a couple of nifty updates, our favourite being the new Morph transition.

Now you might be thinking, “really? A good PowerPoint transition?” and I wouldn’t blame you!

There are now 49 transitions in PowerPoint 2016, with perhaps 5-6 suitable for business presentations. Random bars wasn’t a good look in 2003, let alone in 2016.

Morph though is different.

Morph isn’t really a transition at all, it’s more of an automatic animation button. For example, say you have a square on a slide, if you want to make that square larger and move position on the slide, then before Morph you would need to apply a grow animation and a motion path.

If the shape is growing a lot bigger, it would pixilate horribly and to fix it you would need some pretty advanced PowerPoint training to make the whole process smooth.

Morph simplifies this somewhat. Instead of applying lots of animation, you simply start with the small square on a slide, then copy and paste the slide, before re-sizing and positioning the shape on the following slide – apply the Morph transition and hey presto, Morph does all the hard work and smoothly transitions the shape growing and moving position…

There are pros and cons to using Morph though. You can end up with a lot more slides and the transition only works if playing the presentation in PowerPoint 2016.

So if you spend time creating a rather awesome morph sequence, make sure when it comes to presenting the computer has PowerPoint 2016 – otherwise, nothing happens!

Here’s an example of a recent Morph video I created in PowerPoint 2016. This is an infographic created to highlight the results of our recent State Of The Nation, business presentation survey…

This video was created from 1 image, copied over multiple slides, with the image in a different size and position on each slide.

rsz_slide_sorter

There is absolutely no PowerPoint animation applied to this, just the Morph transition – and this is the result!

Not bad eh?!

If you’re now excited to start playing but you find Morph is missing from the Transitions tab, I’m afraid it’s not available quite yet to everyone globally.

If you have a PC, the release is underway so keep an eye out for an Office Update notification and if you have a Mac, you’ll need to be an Office Insider

To make sure you are an Office Insider, go to the Help menu and choose Check for Updates, here you can switch AutoUpdate on and choose to opt in for preview builds of Office.

If creating presentations is something you get excited about, check out our suite of presentation training modules, where we can prescribe you a fully tailored course to meet your exact needs…

We can help with story structure and flow, storyboarding and visualisation, right the way through to some highly advanced presentation design and delivery skills.

Our flexible tailored approach means you only upskill in the areas you need, to find out more check out the modules here or just give us a ring on 01455 826390…

I’m off to play with Morph!