Posts Tagged ‘PowerPoint Design’

Music to my ears

Thursday, May 28th, 2015 by Liz<

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Some seven years ago I joined Eyeful Presentations. Picture my office back then: a barn at the back of the MD Simon Morton’s house in the middle of nowhere. For a short while it was just myself, Simon and Zoe (our wonderful then book-keeper, now head of finance) working in that barn. Peace and quiet. How things have changed today, sitting here at Eyeful Towers surrounded by 25+ other Eyefulites, in a rather noisy yet wonderfully busy and truly lovely creative environment.

At the end of each busy week, Simon would appear with a beer in hand, offer me one (which I always declined, pre-drinking at work seemed wrong!) and set up what he liked to call our “Friday Jamming Session”. This really consisted of him playing his chosen songs very loudly and rejecting my choices! During these sessions, Simon used to repeatedly play one song to me (“Janet Jackson, What have you done for me lately”, oh dear!). After this song had played for what seemed like the 50th time, Simon would then start sharing stories with me of his week, or years gone by at Eyeful. As much as I disliked his music choices and THAT song, I did start to enjoy those Friday sessions, I would bring in snacks (Fat Fridays still happen at Eyeful!) and my notebooks soon started to fill up with inspiration from these chats.

Today, the tried and tested methodology Simon shares in his book really resonate with those early days for me and how it shaped my work life, and my approach to the world of Presentations. My 23 year old self literally had no idea that presentations, PowerPoint, message, communication, could be so interesting!

It was with his love of music and applying this to Presentations that really got me hooked. With such simple explanations and ways of thinking, he was sharing some really complex business messages.

This was what he was sharing with our customer’s day in, day out and still is to date.

Each genre of music brings with it different instruments, different tempos, moods, different audiences. In all genres, despite the differences in the aforementioned, there are many similarities.

They all have the same chords and musical notes to form their songs, they all have the same words and language to form lyrics with. Yet, the variations we hear are endless. Each great musician knows all of the chords, the notes, the words. Yet they choose not to include them all, used sparingly they will create greater melodies, emotion and resonate more with the audience. The pauses, the build-up, the crescendos, the lyrics that are given the “space” they need to mean so much.

All of this applies to your presentations. It is as much about what you don’t include, as the content that you do include. The message that you deliver needs to be relevant, powerful, link back into the original aims of your presentation (remember to always refer back to the Must-Intend-Like of your audiences and your presentation). Your content supports your message at all times, it doesn’t detract from your presentation but ensures it delivers it effectively as long as you are striking the right chord.

So as a fellow “presentation composer”, I ask you to consider putting your content to music the next time you start to prepare a presentation. And if this has really got you interested, why not find out more about our Message and Content training workshop, which will enlighten you in even more ways.  Your presentation will then undoubtedly hit all of the right notes.

Now all I have to do is hope that Simon doesn’t read this blog and start playing that song again. But, if and when he does (which inevitably he will, he’s like a dog with a bone at times, I suppose that is why he has made Eyeful a success!)  I know that he will have a proud moment knowing that not only did I listen to the song he played, but the message he was trying to get through to me each time he played it!

If you would like to start dancing to the tunes of Eyeful FM (we really do have a Spotify playlist entitled just this!), then please stay tuned to the blog by signing up below, or please get in touch, I would love to chat. Especially on a Friday afternoon around 4pm when I need to appear busy whilst avoiding THAT song!

PowerPoint Voted More Boring Than Washing The Dishes

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 by Matt<

A colleague recently sent me something incredibly offensive. No I’m not talking about rude pictures or naughty words…

Nope, it’s an article detailing “The 50 Most Boring Things of Modern Life” and what’s so offensive is that PowerPoint Presentations are on the list!

Now I understand that for many people, attending a PowerPoint presentation can be the equivalent of taking a dozen sleeping pills and slowly losing the will to live, before drifting off into the land of nod.

But come on! If a builder builds you a wall in your garden and 3 days later the wall falls down – you don’t blame the trowel the builder used or the wall itself, you blame the builder.

And it’s the same with a terrible presentation, don’t shoot the tool or the event, shoot the presenter!

(For legal reasons, I am NOT suggesting you shoot anybody. Looking at them distastefully will suffice)

Out of the 2000 adults surveyed, PowerPoint Presentations came in at number 38 with a share of 16% of the votes…

Just below PowerPoint in 37 was Gwyneth Paltrow and just above in 39 was Coldplay. So I guess it’s nice to see that something other than Jennifer Lawrence is getting in between Chris and Gwyneth.

According to the pole, PowerPoint is considered to be more boring than ‘buying socks’, ‘Washing the dishes’ and ‘Gardener’s World’.

Well that might be the case for some presentations out there and if you’re nodding in agreement, then you haven’t been to one of our customers presentations – and I think it’s fair to say the presentations we help them deliver are NOT boring…

 

If you want to give presentations that are well structured, engaging and that make the audience go WOW rather than ZZZ – then get in touch

Google, Loch Ness And Some Rather ‘Different’ PowerPoint Inspiration

Thursday, April 30th, 2015 by Matt<

Lock Ness

For years the Loch Ness Monster has been hunted by journalists and tourists alike, all eager to spot the mythical beast and get a great picture!

Well google has now taken it a whole heap further by sending their street cams to Scotland to map the entire loch.

You can literally head to google maps now and type in Loch Ness and instead of traveling around the roads of the loch, you can now drop onto the water itself and travel around on a boat – nice, if slightly pointless!

So if Nessy is real, the poor old dear doesn’t stand a chance of staying hidden now!

In all seriousness though it’s amazing how far people like to push technology and indeed the strange uses we find for things that weren’t actually created for that use.

For example, there’s the classic story of builders using their van engine to cook a bacon sandwich (not really advisable from a health & safety angle), right up to the ultra-modern testing of drones to deliver packages for Amazon.

We at Eyeful too, hold our hands up. We’ve done some pretty unusual things with PowerPoint over the years!

We’re all about pushing it to its absolute max and yes we create presentations so good you won’t believe they’ve been made with simple old PowerPoint, but this isn’t what I’m talking about.

There are actually some really useful things you can do in PowerPoint other than creating presentations.

On our designer’s innovation page you can find examples of both inspirational and slightly offbeat uses of PowerPoint.

We have some lovely animated videos, a Christmas gift picker and Jack has even created ‘Lil Phil’, a PowerPoint game!

For a bit of fun and an office round of Catchphrase, I created a PowerPoint soundboard of Roy Walker Catchphrase quotes and sound effects – which worked really well!

And we don’t stop there, that’s how we push PowerPoint at work, we also use it in some pretty weird ways at home too. For example I used it to design my decking project, whereas an anonymous colleague says he, “used PowerPoint for designing Valentine poems for previous girlfriends.” Who knew you could be romantic with PowerPoint?

Optimized-quiltpatternAnd finally, perhaps the best ‘odd’ use of PowerPoint, was by our designer Hannah, who has used it to design a patchwork quilt!

So if you ever need to create the layout of something, then PowerPoint can be a really handy tool to use, because it’s just so user friendly, you can re-size a slide into the same square or rectangle shape of a room or object and you alter the size and create a diagram to scale of whatever it is your creating.

Unfortunately, the easy to use nature of PowerPoint is also the reason there are so many poor presentations out there – and why PowerPoint gets such a bad rap.

If you’ve created any odd things with PowerPoint, perhaps you could share it with us? But, if the weirdest thing you’ve created is just your everyday slides, then my advice would be for you to go ahead and use PowerPoint as an unusual tool, design your decking, layout your lounge.

And when it comes to high stakes presentation creation, contact the experts who can create fantastically designed presentations – and lovely patchwork quilts.

Story Season – 6 Real Stories To Inspire Creativity

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 by Matt<

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Very Pinteresting Place Indeed

Monday, April 13th, 2015 by Matt<

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

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

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

On Pinterest we have:

The Board with Innovations

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

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

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

The Board with Awesome Animated Videos

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

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

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

The Board with the Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story Season – What Is Your Favourite Customer Story?

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015 by Matt<

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

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

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

Perfect image width is 675pixels

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

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

Has PowerPoint 2016 for Mac Been Worth the Wait?

Friday, March 13th, 2015 by Matt<

It’s amazing to think that PowerPoint was originally created for the Mac OS, back in 1987…

…When today PowerPoint is very much PC first and Mac second. This week we got our hands on a beta version of PowerPoint 2016 for Mac and put it through its paces.

It’s fair to say we normally get pretty damn excited about new versions of PowerPoint. But sadly when comparing this it to PowerPoint 2013 on the PC, there was nothing really new about it.

The Mac vs PC versions of PowerPoint have always been pretty similar, but the Mac one is always released later, I suspect it’s a case of nailing it for PC before handing over to the Mac team to develop.

PC                           Mac

Office 2003         Office 2004

Office 2007         Office 2008

Office 2010         Office 2011

Office 2013         Office 2016

But it’s never been released this late before!

So with such a delay, I was expecting to see something new and improved, rather than just a very late re-hash. But sadly, a rehash of PowerPoint 2013 it is.

So putting my personal view to one side, how good this program actually is and how much it will make your presentation creating life that bit easier will depend on your point of view…

If you are a loyal Mac user who is currently using PowerPoint 2011 and will definitely continue with Office for Mac then there is good news, because the new version is leaps and bounds ahead of the previous…

Visual Layout – this has changed a lot, it’s sleeker and the default screen ratio has moved from 4×3 to 16×9.

The menus have improved, the home tab now has some useful buttons for adding pictures, shapes and text boxes. This is really useful as these are probably your 3 main tools all handily grouped together – you don’t even get this in the PC version!

Inserting images now gives you direct access to iphoto and Photo Booth.

When CMD clicking, the format shape window now appears locked to the right, rather than appearing over the top of the item clicked on which is handy.

Template Structure – is the same as the previous version and is built the same as the PC version, meaning files can be worked on both new and old versions and across operating systems.

The Eyedropper Tool – this is a game changer. When you go to change the colour of an object you can select the eye dropper and hover over anything on the slide and the eyedropper will pick up the colour. So if you see a colour on a webpage or another document you like, you can copy and paste this into PowerPoint and use the Eyedropper to get the exact colour in just one click.

Auto Alignment Tool – Now upgraded so that when objects are dragged around the slide, lines appear showing you the alignment to other objects on the slide.

The Yellow Diamond – if you insert a rounded rectangle and alter the curvature of the corners, the elements showing you have the shape selected, vanish – giving you a clearer view.

The Combine Shapes Tool – a great feature that allows you to create unique shapes by either cutting one shape from another, or alternatively by combining them together.

Animation – has also been improved a lot, we now have the animation preview option, so rather than having to wait for all the other animation to play through, we can start at any point – a great time saver.

Motion Path Ghost – another awesome upgrade here, a tool that shows you exactly where the object’s animation will end.

So plenty of new features to keep Mac disciples happy.

However this new version of PowerPoint for Mac is just as much about what it doesn’t have as what it does. As the features that are missing when compared to the PC version (out for 2 years now) is just astounding.

There are a whole host of really key features missing:

The Quick Access Toolbar – is there, but it doesn’t seem to be customisable like it is on PC.

Selection Pane – a key tool to be able to hide objects on a slide and thus get to other objects layered behind – on PC for years, but still no sign of it for Mac users.

Custom Shows – miss the show and return function.

Animation – the timeline visual representation is missing, making it much harder to work with animations.

Save as Video – on PC you can save to WMV or MP4. On Mac it’s not even an option.

Some other less important features missing are:

Online Pictures – uses Bing to search for Creative Commons online images (use with legal caution) and insert directly into the slide.

Screenshot – a handy tool for inserting an image of any program you have open.

Photo Album – a tool that allows you to select a folder containing multiple images and load them all onto separate PowerPoint slides in seconds.

Zoom – in presentation mode on the PC, you can hit a magnifying glass and zoom directly into around 25% of the screen.

So it really does feel like Mac users of PowerPoint have been an afterthought.

It’s not all doom and gloom, if Mac is where your heart lays, then it is a good step forward. But when it comes to serious presentation creation, then your life will be harder than your colleague (or competitor) that has the PC version.

To put the difference into context, I asked one of our designers what he thought the impact would be if the Eyeful design team switched to using PowerPoint 2016 for Mac…

The knock on effect would be huge. We could manage without some features, but things like not being able to convert to video would be a huge loss for many of our clients. And things like not having a clear animation timeline the selection pane missing, would really slow production time. It would take us so much longer to do things that it just wouldn’t be a practical option to even consider switching. Jack Biddlecombe

If you are an ardent Mac user who is fed up of struggling with PowerPoint, then grab a cuppa, ditch the mouse and give Eyeful a call – we can take the hassle away and create you a stunning presentation, with clear content and messaging.

Story Season – Blockbuster presentations are just a few takes away

Thursday, March 12th, 2015 by Matt<

Movies and presentations aren’t that different.

OK, so maybe you’re not up for crashing on the sofa with a bag of freshly made popcorn and watching your latest pitch presentation with your better half BUT as we continue our journey through Eyeful’s Story Season, I’m going to show you how using what you already know about movies can help you create better and more structured presentations in the future.

The movie topic we’re going to explore is the Synopsis stage, or when it comes to presentations, what we at Eyeful call the Storyflow and the Storyboard.

Take a moment out and think…

If you were going to make a movie you wouldn’t just grab some actors and a camera and go shoot something without a story, without a script and no general direction. The same goes for presentations – the last thing you want to do is start off by opening up PowerPoint and trying to plan as you go along creating slides. It’s a recipe for disaster and will eat up more time than a Star Wars marathon.

So where does the road to silver screen success begin?

A movie generally starts with an idea for a story. Someone has a dream, gets inspired by real events or simply somehow has a great story idea that makes them so excited and driven that they just have to get it out of their head and down on paper.

A presentation starts in much the same way – an idea or vision.

At some point in time, somebody, somewhere came up with an idea, be it to sell something, to change something or perhaps to teach something…

Generally speaking this spark of creativity will inform the goal of the presentation – it’s what you the presenter (or your company) want to happen as a result of giving the presentation.

Back in Hollywood, the screenwriter gets the idea down on paper in the form of a synopsis, which is literally a written map of the story as a whole – where it starts, who the characters are and the journey they go on to wherever it is they end up.

I once read that a good movie should always take the audience on a journey – would it hurt to apply this to an audience who are expecting death by PowerPoint?

The flow of a presentation can be planned to take the same celluloid journey.

In our very own Simon Morton’s book, The Presentation Lab he details an entire chapter on business storytelling and offers an example of a simple story structure:

This structure is as old as the hills and has formed the basis of storytelling for centuries. As such, there’s no wonder that it has been successfully applied to both presentations and movies for many years.

Compare and Contrast

By way of an example, let’s look at the recent Hollywood blockbuster, Gravity, and in parallel, review the structure of a booking software sales presentation created by Eyeful.

The story flow of a standard sales presentations in Putney and that of a Hollywood Blockbuster set a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away are in reality, not that different.

Importantly this example should have demonstrated that using stories in presentations is not complicated and that they don’t mean that your presentation need to start with, “Once upon a time…”!

What Happened Next?

The combination of story and presentations is a powerful one – go forth and make it happen.

You can use the synopsis structure above as a guide to creating presentations in the future and make sure when you leave those hard earned meetings you’re on the walk of fame – not shame.

If you would like some Hollywood style help to get your presentations ‘in the can’, get in touch and one of our story obsessed team will be on hand to bring your next blockbuster to life.

 

 

 

Stars in their Slides

Thursday, March 5th, 2015 by Matt<

Vince Vaughn - CompressedHollywood movie star Vince Vaughn appears to be lining himself for a future career as a stock photography model!

Yeah – I’m not convinced either!

Basically it’s a publicity stunt for his new movie “Unfinished Business” which is due to hit big screens soon.

He and his co-stars have featured in about dozen stock style images which are being released on istock for free, editorial only use.

They’re a nice bit of fun to look at and a clever idea to promote the movie – which I hadn’t heard of – but I can’t imagine where on earth an Eyeful designer would put these in a presentation?

Don’t get me wrong, stock images most definitely play a part in presentations

But you must ask yourself when to use them and when to avoid? The key is common sense – if they look cheesy and bad – then AVOID at all costs! It’s pretty simple. If they look good – and some do look really good, and as long as they support what you are saying and have the right visual subtext, then go ahead and use.

I asked Alex, one of our designers for an example of a good stock image…

“I like this image, it has a clear platform to add items to and a blurred background of a coffee shop/pub/restaurant. I used it in a presentation that was about food logistics, the slide needed colour and the presentation used similar generic images with no branding. It fitted the bill perfectly.

Clichéd images are lazy and harmful to the overall story when badly used. But some images can tell a story on their own and are very powerful. Good stock photography should not be underestimated.”

 

Finally as important as it is not to use poor images in your presentations, maybe someone should tell the director, Ken Scott that rubbish slides shouldn’t be in Hollywood movies! I spotted the offending slide in the trailer for the movie! Let us know if you spot it too!!

So, if you need help with your next blockbuster presentation just pick up the phone and while our professional work their magic you can sit back and maybe even enjoy popcorn and a movie.

Most B2B presentations are failing (and here’s why)…

Thursday, November 13th, 2014 by Jayne Thomas<

The vast majority of B2B presentations are not fit for purpose – scary but true.

Leaving this key sales tool unloved is a sure fire way to miss out on opportunities, damage your reputation and give your competitors the advantage. Ignore your presentation at your peril!

Eyeful’s Simon Morton is here to share some tell-tale signs that you could be missing out on sales as well as giving a few ‘insider secrets’ on turning up the sales power of your presentation.

Not sure if your presentation is fit for purpose? Simply contact us for a chat or download our Sales Enablement Whitepaper.