Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Eyeful Labs are Go!!!!

Friday, May 24th, 2013 by Simon Morton<

It would be fair to say that we are giddy as kippers here at Eyeful Towers and, for once, it’s not due to a sugar rush – Eyeful Labs is here!!!

We are proud to have created an immersive, innovative, imaginative environment which encourages our creatives, consultants and customers to stretch the boundaries of presentation possibilities (alliteration and exclamation mark tourettes are side effects of our excitement – sorry)!!!

We’ve flung open our doors and ordered extra teabags – stand by for a revolution….

Eyeful Labs is not about what works for our customers now, it’s about what will work for them in 5 years time, how they’ll stay ahead of their competition and why it’s important that they do.

We have one simple rule for each of the workshops, forums and webinars – forget everything you’ve been taught about business presentations.  Doing the same old thing is a situation with truly diminishing returns.

The Lab is an environment for presentation experimentation. Sometimes we’ll light up the room with inspiration, opening new presentation possibilities. Sometimes it will just go ‘pft’ – and that’s good too, because every ‘pft’ teaches us something new.

There are very few truly bad ideas – sticking your head in a lions mouth allows you to spot dental decay easily, it’s only a bad idea if you don’t live to ring the dentist. Eyeful Labs encourages our customers to take the risks that bring the biggest rewards, without fear of decapitation.

Many years ago we had a dream, a few weeks ago we had a mess and today we have Eyeful Labs.

If you think that you have what it takes (simple curiosity will do) to stand at the front as we race towards the future of presentations, drop us a line.

 

The Colour of Money

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 by Simon Morton<

Colour palettes have always been important in business and no self respecting company is without it’s hallowed ‘brand guidelines’.  Multi media exposure has only served to make the recognition and protection of brands more important than ever and colour can be a huge part of this.

Researchers (as is their want) have put a lot of time and energy into working out what effect colours have on consumers and produced some thought provoking results. One particular piece caught our eye and got us thinking here at Eyeful Towers, have a quick look and we’ll chat when you get back….

So it’s all about colour*….or is it?

I may not be a typical consumer, but we’ll start with me (write about what you know and all that)!

I love colour and have very few personal rules about what goes with what. I’m a firm believer that nature has clearly demonstrated that green goes with anything (and everything). I choose what I’m going to wear by what’s clean and ironed and I’m surprised that people presume I consider my hair colour (pink) when choosing outfits. I let my ‘better’ half choose carpets because I’m not really bothered (but not black , never again, OMG the crumbs and fluff never end). I have a bright yellow study and a battleship grey bedroom.

I did not guess the brands from their coloured buttons alone.

You may think that I have no taste at all, but that’s not relevant because I know that most of you will want to sign up to this declaration….

 

Picture2

So what does this mean for your presentations?

Does your presentation….

1)      Communicate your message?

2)      Engage your audience?

3)      Tell a story?

4)      Make your eyes bleed?

If you only answered yes to number four: colour is not the problem. You need some Eyeful love.

If you answered yes to them all: you need to think about colour. You need some Eyeful finesse.

*For those who think it is, here are some stats: In 2011 the UK population was 63.2 million, approx 9% of any modern population is colour blind and a further 13,000 UK homes (for various reasons I’m going to presume 1.5 people per home on this one) still have a black and white TV licence. And me. This means that in the UK there are at least 5,707,501 people on whom your carefully considered colour scheme may not be having the desired impact.

 

 

In Defiance of Gravity…The Apple Way

Monday, May 20th, 2013 by Simon Morton<

Modern tech is, for the most part, beautiful. When we use smartphones and tablets to present they’re often more than a tool – they’re a statement of our techie credentials.

Sleek lines, intuitive interfaces and portability are all key features, but as many once proud owners know the fragility of design that we all seem to love results in, well, fragility.

Over the years this has been approached in two ways;

Some smartphones have taken the Mr T approach and bulked up .The Casio G’zOne Commando is rated for complete water immersion, driving rain, dust, falls (up to four feet), vibrations, humidity, -13 to 185 degree temperatures, low pressure, salt fog, and solar radiation. It can survive being run over by a truck, a trip to the zoo  and relaxing in a Jacuzzi – but , let’s be honest, James Bond wouldn’t give it pocket space.

Other attempts have been of a more aftermarket effort. Anyone hoping to make their smartphone or tablet look like it’s been wrapped in a recycled truck tyre has plenty of options and replacement screens (along with the associated embarrassing/hilarious/plainly stupid explanations) are a revenue/entertainment stream all by themselves.

Now Apple are doing it their way.

They currently have a US Patent Pending  for the tech equivalent of a cat. A device that will sit inside your smartphone or tablet, detect when it is falling and reorientate itself to land in the least damaging position.

Using the level of tech usually associated with a lunar landing craft (thrusters included) as an over engineered reaction to the weakest link in the tech chain, (Home Sapiens),  is undoubtedly as Bond worthy as it can be.

 

fly phone framed

Now to find a way to apply it to buttered toast…

Team Eyeful grows again… Ladies & Gentlemen, introducing Louise Cramp!

Monday, April 8th, 2013 by Simon Morton<

We never sit still here at Eyeful Towers – our world is always evolving and expanding to cope with new customers and new technologies.

Indeed, it was pointed out over Christmas drinks that in 2012 we recruited 10 new staff across the teams at Head Office, opened 2 new global offices (in Russia and Ireland), grew the business by 30% and increased our product offering.

All rather exhausting if you think about it for too long…

So, to make sure we deliver all this new work with the now expected “Eyeful way” we’ve added to our renowned Project Management team. Here to introduce herself is the lovely Louise Cramp:

Hi I’m Louise, the new(ish) Project Manager in the delivery team.

Project Management is in my blood; I love organising, planning and delivering tasks, whether its work related or planning our next adventure in the sun!

I’ve spent quite a bit of time working in the hospitality sector, so I’m use to an ever changing, fast pace environment. From what I gather, I should be right at home at Eyeful! I always strive to exceed the customers’ expectations and work hard to achieve my goals.

It’s great to be part of such a fresh, progressive company – bring it on!

We’re very pleased to announce that Louise is fitting in really well and taking everything we throw at her in her stride.

The Curse of The Consultant – Content Cramming

Monday, February 25th, 2013 by Simon Morton<

“A consultant is someone who takes the watch off your wrist and tells you the time”

We’ve all heard the jokes about management consultants.  Depending on your experience, you either nod knowingly and tut quietly to yourself or politely laugh and wonder what all the fuss is about.

Ultimately, the “old school management consultant” (or “OSMC”) style associated with high fee, high profile companies – you know the ones we’re talking about, they specialised in confusing charts, thick reports and having a slightly supercilious air about themselves – became a figure of fun…and thankfully are now few and far between.

Whilst the expensive and ultimately flawed report may well have found it’s way into the shredder, the OSMC’s influence can be felt in companies across the land.  And it’s not good news.

Many OSMC’s were judged on the amount of data they produced.  The thinking was clear – more data shared, the more comprehensive the study…and ultimately the more valuable for the client.  Makes sense in a twisted sort of way…and so ramping up the content became the norm.

The problem is that this profusion of content slowly found it’s way from the OSMC’s usual weapon of choice, the verbose Word document, into other forms of communication including the lowly PowerPoint presentation.   What you end up with is something like this:

And the creation of such horrors is where the rot really sets in*.  Businesses were faced with a dilemma – if management consultants were the clever ones who we should all look to emulate, then shouldn’t we all be creating similar looking complex slides…even though whenever we present them, we’re faced with a sea of confused/unengaged faces?  Tricky.

To make matters worse, many OSMCs made the leap from running big-ticket projects to running the companies.  And cluttered, overly complex slides became the cultural norm in companies across the World.  Need proof?  Look no further:

It’s something we battle with day-in, day-out…and it would seem few companies are immune.  From globe-straddling mega-businesses to fast-growing start ups, they’re all having to fight hard and think harder against creating overly complex slides.  I guess that’s why Eyeful exists…

If you were to take away just one message from this heartfelt rant, this is it – when it comes to OSMCs, everything they tell you about presentations is wrong.

Step away from the content and embrace the message.

* Somewhat alarmingly, this slide was only produced in 2009, thus proving the influence of the OSMC lives on!

Successful companies don’t create their own advertising…or presentations

Monday, February 18th, 2013 by Simon Morton<

As a child, you got the sense that Christmas was around the corner when the ads for toys came on the TV.  The gawdy ads for plastic rubbish worked a treat as my parents will pay testament to – my toy cupboard was filled to the rafters with toys and games which promised so much in the advert but delivered so little once unwrapped.  Aaah, the power of those clever advertisers…

Now a lot older, greyer and (at a stretch) wiser, advertising still plays an important role in parting me from my cash.  Now the objects of my desire are grown up things like audio equipment, furniture and (shudder) lawnmowers but the effect is the same – aspirational, engaged and willing to nag mercilessly until the product is purchased.  Damn, those advertisers are good…

Great advertising grabs hold of us, no matter how old we are.  It demands attention, pulls on the heartstrings and engages it’s audiences in powerful, almost magical ways.

So who is responsible for these perfectly formed 30 second segments of loveliness?  The short answer – experts (although you might like to call them advertising agencies).  Importantly, an advert is rarely the creation of the company who’s goods it is designed to sell .

Whilst somewhat cliched, let’s take Apple as an example.  Their powerful “Think Different” campaign in the late 90s is often referenced as the turning point for what had previously been a slowly fading business.  “Think Different” was a call to arms for Apple, elevating Steve Jobs from maverick to expert business leader and the arbiter of all things cool.

So who came up with the concept?

  • Steve Jobs?  Nope.
  • The army of marketing experts working within Apple at the time?  Nope.
  • This watershed marketing slogan and associated campaign was the brainchild of an outsider – the creative agency TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Outsiders have the ability to see through the inevitable internal noise of a business and it’s thinking.  They’re in the enviable position of being able to play Devil’s Advocate, point out the Emperor’s New Clothes or simply declutter the whole mix of content, opinion and research to a point where the message is loud, clear…and, most important of all, relevant to the audience.

Steve Jobs and Apple knew that successful companies don’t create their own advertising – they left it to the experts (and continue to do so).

From advertising to presentations…

Think of your next presentation as an opportunity to deliver a rich, multi-layered and hugely focussed advertisement directly to your target audience of 1.

How much would you pay for such an opportunity: a 1-to-1 chat with the person who has the money, authority and need to purchase your goods?

With this in mind, consider Apple.  Just as they recognised that moments like “Think Different” are just too important to leave to chance and that working with the experts is the right thing to do, smart companies are starting to recognise that their presentations deserve the same respect.

All hail the weather presenters (pun intended)

Thursday, February 14th, 2013 by Simon Morton<

There’s no doubt us Brits are a little obsessed with the weather.  From slavishly watching reports on impending snow-based gridlock to the fervent prayers for a summer with at least some sun, we’re hooked.

This puts the lowly weather presenter under a lot of pressure.  They need to clearly and succinctly share a lot of potentially technical information with their audience.  Their audience will all have slightly different agendas/interests depending on where they live or their travel plans.  Oh, and they need to do this day in, day out (on the hour in the mornings!) so keeping it fresh and engaging is also important.

A tough gig for any presenter…so how do they do it?

Spookily they rely on the 3 key facets of effective presenting that form the basis of our Presentation Optimisation methodology:

  • A clear message
  • The right content
  • Powerful and valuable visuals

Each and every weather forecast starts and finishes with the big message – it’s either going to be rainy, sunny, changeable…  Whatever the forecast, the message is delivered in such a way that the audience knows how exactly the weather is going to impact them (and whether packing an umbrella will prove to be a good idea).

That message is then supported by a level of content that demonstrates how and why the weather is behaving in a particular way.  As an audience, we nod sagely at talk of high pressures coming in from the east but the truth is that this content is shared to merely back up the important message (in the case of the UK, it’s going to rain).  Adding extraneous content merely gets in the way and runs the risk of confusing the message.

To push it over the line, TV presenters use visuals to demonstrate the key message.

The presentation genius of the weather guys and gals is here for all to see – rather than overly complex graphics of isobars and other meteorological clutter, they use simple icons* to help deliver the overarching message – it’s going to rain, don’t forget your umbrella. Visually, less is more when delivering a simple message.

Now apply this thinking to your business presentation…

Do you have a clear message?  Are you running the risk of confusing or reducing the impact of the message by cluttering up the presentation with content you simply don’t need?  Are your visuals helping you clearly deliver on your message or there to justify your content (hint – it should be the former).

Get this right and you’re on the road to what we call Presentation Optimisation…and a more engaged informed audience.

* It’s interesting to note that the BBC received a lot of grumpy letters and e-mails a few years ago when they moved away from their super simple weather icons to a more animated version.  If the animation is getting in the way of delivering a clear message (a la over engineered PowerPoint, Keynote and Prezi presentations), you run the risk of terminally confusing your audience.

The Second (Working) Day of Christmas

Friday, December 7th, 2012 by Simon Morton<

We are really proud of the creative bunch that inhabit our design studio. Not only do they WOW us at work, they go home and create little gems like this….

Created in After Effects (which isn’t a software package we use at Eyeful) we hope you enjoy Jack’s Christmas treat. We just wish that his desk was this tidy every day!!

You can visit the Eyeful Presentations YouTube channel by visiting www.youtube.com/user/eyefulpresentations

More tomorrow….

 

The Presentation Summit – A Short But (Very) Sweet One…

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 by Simon Morton<

Following on from yesterday’s blog, those very nice people at The Presentation Summit have offered our blog readers a bit of a bonus – money off your registration!

Simply use the following code when registering to get yourself a very pleasant $75 discount on the normal rate – EYE75

Hope to see you there…

PowerPoint 2013 – The Übergeek Review – Part 2

Friday, August 3rd, 2012 by Matt<

The Innovation continues….

Game Changing Animation Pane

I had hoped and dreamed for an animation pane with a scrub bar so that I could view animations from a chosen part of the sequence only.

Well, there isn’t a scrub bar but Microsoft have certainly upped their game in the department of animation preview. Now when you are creating a long sequence of animation you can either select a point in the pane to start from, or you can use CTRL to select any animations in the pane and preview only these! FANTASTIC!

Hours and hours of painful animation previewing will be consigned to history as this fantastic new tool makes PowerPoint designer’s lives across the world that bit easier!

And if that wasn’t impressive enough there is another great upgrade to animation, this time to motion paths. To make a shape arrive at exactly the position you want it has always been a highly skilled and fiddly task. PowerPoint 2013 now creates a temporary copy of the object you are adding a motion path to and projects a preview of exactly where the object will be when it has travelled along the motion path. This is the sort of functionality that encourages designers to dream up ambitious schemes so it’s all good!

Other Design Upgrades

The auto alignment tool that really improved in 2010 has been upgraded, the automatic guides now highlight the equal spacing between two objects, saving time on distributing later.

The yellow diamond when altering the edges of a rounded rectangle for example, has improved as the circles and lines around the shape disappear allowing you to see what you are doing!

The selection pane looks much better now, but works  in much the same way, now with the ability to drag objects into position.

In my PowerPoint dream, I hoped for the combine shapes tool to be a part of the ribbon and they are now indeed there along with a couple of new additions to this small family of commands which sits nestled in the Drawing Tools tab.

Copying objects across from an open PowerPoint 2010 deck is OK, the objects keep all of their attributes apart from animation.

Outside of Design

Microsoft’s big push for Office 2013 is the functionality linked to SkyDrive, pushing people to save documents here as opposed to locally on their machines. This is really useful as you can now start a document on one PC then continue on another PC or a mobile device without the need for emailing a different version back and forth.

Another new function is in presenting mode you can hit a button and zoom straight into a particular area of a slide. This is useful for highlighting content to your audience but I think caution will be needed; if you’re using this all the time it may be that your slides are too cluttered and too much of this could leave your audience dizzy a la Prezi.

Overall the thing that you really notice is that everything seems to happen much quicker than in previous versions.  This is apparent throughout PowerPoint2013 but to satisfy myself that I wasn’t imagining it, I did a quick test.

  • Inserting a piece of music into a slide PowerPoint 2010 = 9.5 seconds
  • PowerPoint 2013 = less than 1 second

The suspected improvement is real and significant (to the point that I am unembarrassed about using a stopwatch in the office)!

And finally some of with the things that haven’t come true from my PowerPoint 2013 hopes… there is still no ‘Insert Icons’ ‘Insert Silhouettes’ buttons and the animation ‘Random Bars’ is still there!

Still you can’t have everything!

In this PowerPoint übergeeks opinion PowerPoint 2013 is a worthy successor to 2010 and has taken some big steps forward in functionality. It’s not the huge leap we had from 2003 to 2007 but there is a lot to be said about not fixing what isn’t broken.

PowerPoint 2013 means that PowerPoint users across the land can save even more time and work with less stressful animations leaving them extra energy to let their imaginations (and their storytelling skills) run wild!

Thank you Microsoft! It finally feels like we are on the same page…