Posts Tagged ‘PowerPoint’

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

Thursday, 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.

Tech Season – The Presentation Landscape Scenario #2: An Educational Presentation

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 by Matt<

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

Scenario #2: An Educational Presentation (CPD Or Training)

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The first thing to do is to look at the outer ring and consider the environment you are presenting in.

In this instance the presentation is taking place in a classroom environment, to an audience of between 10-30 people who ideally the presenter or trainer would want to interact with, to support their learning.

So in the outer segment you would be sitting in the Interactive segment.

Then working inwards, you can choose from the relevant presentation delivery tools and choose the best one for your specific audience.

You could also consider a blended presenting approach. This is where you would create elements of your presentation in different formats, for example you might start off the presentation using a traditional linear PowerPoint before moving to a Flipchart to note interactions from the audience.

You could also consider using an interactive PowerPoint presentation. This is where the presentation can be set up with custom shows and hyperlinks and work a little like a website. The benefit here in a training environment is it allows for interactivity with the audience, perhaps asking someone to answer a question, to which you click on the answer and ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ is displayed.

Your training could also be supported with ELearning material. This is where you would add voiceover or a video presenter to your presentation material and convert this to a web format.

The benefit here being your audience can leave the training, but dip back into an online version later to refresh their memory or possibly take online quiz or test, the results of which would then be emailed back to the presenter/trainer for marking or feedback.

So, now you have some food for thought on what your final output could be, it’s time to decide what it will and plan it out. Once you’ve done this the software and tools required pretty much choose themselves.

Typical presentation tools in this interactive area are PowerPoint, Whiteboard and Web Presentation.

If you have any questions on how best to tackle any of the above, please feel free to ASK MATT! Just drop me a message at the bottom of this blog post and I’ll get back to you.

Or if you or a colleague will be giving a CPD presentation or delivering training in the future, be sure to give us a call on 0845 056 8528 when the time comes.

Tech Season – The Presentation Landscape Scenario #1

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 by Matt<

In last week’s Tech Season we explored the fascinating concept that is the Presentation Landscape.

To recap, the Landscape can actually be used as a rather handy tool to help you give your audience and end presentation environment some well needed due care and attention.

And to put this into context we’ve created three differing presentation scenarios to show how you could use the landscape when preparing presentations.

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Scenario 1: A Large Corporate Event Presentation

The first thing to do is to look at the outer ring and consider the environment you are presenting in.

In this instance the presentation is taking place in a large auditorium, to an audience of hundreds of people with little audience interaction.

So in the outer segment you would be clearly sitting in the Formal segment.

Then working inwards, you can choose from the relevant presentation delivery tools and choose the best one for your specific audience.

For example, a Large Screen would be the right option to deliver to a large audience.

Now you know what the final output is you can easily choose the best tool to create your supporting visuals with.

Typical presentation tools in this formal area are PowerPoint, Prezi, or Keynote – with PowerPoint being the most likely choice.

One thing to always remember if you’re creating PowerPoint slides for a large event, the AV company running the stage will probably be running the presentations in 16×9 format – but you never know, so always check before creating any presentation collateral.

Then make sure that everyone in your company who is responsible for creating slides has been briefed to create them in the same ratio and using the same template.

The last thing you want to be doing right before a large event is trying to convert everybody’s slides into the same ratio and template.

If you need any help with planning your presentations for a large event, please do just give us a call.

We are well versed in pulling together multiple presentations into one large, visually stunning, perfectly consistent and formatted presentation.

In fact you could say, Eyeful are the aspirin to your event headache!

We’ll have another presentation scenario example soon and stand by for more Tech Season articles.

If in the meantime you have a presentation to give and feel some expert advice may be in order, then just give us a ring on 0845 056 8528.

Tech Season – The Presentation Landscape

Monday, June 22nd, 2015 by Matt<

In this week’s Tech Season we look at a concept called the Presentation Landscape.

The Presentation Landscape is a fascinating concept that Eyeful’s founder Simon Morton came up with after spending many years working with customers and helping them to create more effective presentations.

It is a concept I absolutely love because it un-muddies the waters around presentations and the technology used to either create or deliver them.

And that is an important distinction to make here. The technology you use to create your presentation will not necessarily be the technology used to deliver it.

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So, where do you start?

Newsflash – Presentations do not start by opening up PowerPoint. Those that do, are the presentations you hate giving and hate receiving even more.

The technology that would be used to create and deliver the end presentation is not where a presentation begins. It’s not an afterthought but a consideration for further down the line.

So you need to put the tech on hold and think long and hard about your audience, your message and your content.

The creation sequence is in 4 stages:

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Let’s assume you have read The Presentation Lab book, or at least our recent Story Season and thus you have considered your audience and worked out your message and story you intend to deliver.

If this isn’t clear to you, hold at this point and talk to Eyeful – our consultants are presentation messaging experts.

After stages 1 & 2 are ready, you actually just for a moment need to jump ahead to stage 4 and consider your live presentation environment and situation.

Your presentation delivery will sit in either the formal, interactive or informal area of the presentation landscape and it’s this which defines what the software and hardware options are.

Ignore this and you could end up presenting to ten people on a tablet device, sitting down over a coffee with a single prospect and pulling out a laptop and a projector. This isn’t just awkward – it’s plain daft.

So look at the landscape and choose the best and most relevant delivery software which then indicates what creation software you should use.

You can now get cracking on your support visuals.

So there you have it – the presentation landscape in all its glory. Use it wisely, keep it in a safe place and share it widely with colleagues who continually get their presentation technology confused.

If you haven’t already do follow this blog as we release more and more articles for tech season. This week we are releasing more blogs with examples of where differing presentation scenarios might sit on the landscape.

And next week we will start on the technology… there will be software reviews, technological tips and even a look at alternative technology such as using a phone to control PowerPoint.

And if you have any technical questions please feel free to ASK MATT! Just drop me a message at the bottom of this blog post and I’ll get back to you.

Or if you have a presentation to give and need some expert advice for any stage of the process just pick up the phone and give us a ring on 0845 056 8528.

Tech Season is Open

Friday, June 12th, 2015 by Matt<

After the excellent feedback we received for our recent blog series, Story Season, it got us thinking about the next logical thing to talk about that will help folk’s like you on the path to better more effective presentations…

And the next logical step? Technology!

PowerPoint has come in for some serious bashing over the years, phrases like ‘Death by PowerPoint’ and ‘PowerPoint is evil’ have been bandied about – some organisations have even banned PowerPoint.

I have my own thoughts on the small orange one and I’ll save these for later in Tech Season.

But if PowerPoint is so bad, let’s find out what else is out there and if there truly is a better option?

And that’s just talking about presentation production software, I’m not stopping there!

Over the next few months I’m going to be going into geek overdrive, I’ll be digging out new programs, apps, tools – any kind of technology that I can get my hands on that might help improve and make your presentation life a bit easier – from creating to standing up and presenting – I’ll thoroughly test them out and review their usefulness for you, I’m going to geek it up big time!

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Tech Season kicks off properly next week with an introduction to the Presentation Landscape, which will give you a full understanding of where technology sits when it comes to presentations. It might sound like the be all and end all, but technology only plays one or two parts in the presentation process.

So keep an eye out for this one, or drop us a comment below and sign up to be alerted to new blogs, as this information you don’t want to miss. If you can’t wait for the next blog to decide which piece of tech you should be using for your presentation just give us a call, we’d love to talk to you.

The Best Presentation Training In The World?

Thursday, June 11th, 2015 by Liz<

You heard it here first…. Eyeful’s really rather exciting, new and improved Training offering is about to launch!

Today, I hit print on a document that’s been 18 months in the making – but with the Eyeful website going through a complete rebrand, I was tempted to hold fire on writing this blog until the site goes live.

But in true Eyeful style, I’m just way too excited about what I’ve got to share, to wait until then.

So here it is…

The Presentation Lab book was released to critical acclaim last year and this amazing piece of collateral was too good not to share in more ways, so we’ve used it to inspire our all new modular training offering.

The training we’ve been delivering for the last decade was good, it was working well and was delivering real impact for our customers.

The kind of feedback we received was positive…

“Strategic, Focused, Challenging, Thought Provoking, Inspirational”

These were the things we heard most, which of course made us happy, very happy in fact.

But as the saying goes, if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards.

And the release of The Presentation Lab was just the impetus and direction we needed to start thinking and tinkering with our training packages.

And we spent a lot of time thinking. In the Labs, on the drive to and from work, at the weekends and on the odd sleepless night too.

And so, here it is, our new and improved modular approach to Presentation Training.

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We’ve focused the training on 4 key areas.

Story Using Story to engage with your audiences.

Visuals Using Visuals to deliver results.

Delivery Tools Using the right Delivery Tools in the Right Way for maximum impact.

Bitesize 90 minute bitesize “lunch and learn” sessions.

Each subject area contains flexible modules that allow you to focus on the areas that you need the most, and not have to sit through a day’s worth of training just to get to that part.

The modules in each area compliment and strengthen each other, providing the most flexible approach to the training you receive.

We’ve painstakingly spent the last 18 months listening to your feedback and created a new offering in line with what you need.

We’ve put this program together with you in mind, we’ve looked at all types of training that’s out there, taken inspiration from the best ideas and mixed these in with our own methodologies, creating a blend of modules that will give presenters like you, the very best chance of presentation success.

Because we always want to deliver more to you. That’s just what we do, what we are in fact all about!

This is a very exciting time for Eyeful and if you think your team could benefit from seriously upping their game when it comes to creating presentations, then follow our blog and keep an eye out over the next week or so as we release more in-depth information around each of the subject areas.

If you just can’t wait and would like to book into the labs whilst we still have summer availability, then please do get in touch.

We would love to chat.

The 5 Levels of Audience Reaction

Thursday, June 4th, 2015 by Matt<

Are your presentations not hitting the heights you would like? Are hard earned opportunities falling faster than Felix Baumgartner?

Perhaps a clue as to where you’re going wrong can be found in a fairly obvious place…

Here at Eyeful, we bang on a lot about the importance of your audience, because well, they are kind of important – not much of a presentation is it, if nobody’s there?

And your audience’s reaction could well give you a clue as to if you are going wrong…

The 5 levels of audience reaction:

1

Level 1 – Death (By PowerPoint)
Warning Signs
Silence – just you, the hum of the projector and a sudden awareness that everybody in the audience has ‘passed on’ – you have quite literally taken their will to live. Well done.
General Causes
Severe, acute boredom, possibly down to a presenter with all the communication skills of a traffic warden.
Solution
Run. Make a ‘you’ shaped hole in the wall and head for the hills.

rsz_12Level 2 – Complete or partial suspension of consciousness
Warning Signs
It begins with the gentle thud of smartphone on carpet, closely followed by the dulcet vibration of the soft palette and just a very teeny tiny amount of drool.
General Causes
Boring content and slides that look that they were cobbled together in the           car park.
Solution
Ask the PA person to turn your mic volume to max, lots of Coffee and possibly 20cc’s of adrenaline – for the audience, not you.

rsz_13Level 3 – Agitation
Warning Signs
Wide eyes with a stare that says, “I’m going to hurt you, bad”.
General Causes
Overkill, inaccuracies or false information…
Solution
Prepare to defend yourself by any means necasary; a strong umbrella is good, if you have one of those small pocket ones – forget it. Grab a chair or a laptop, an iPad will do, but it’s more offense than defense.

 

rsz_4Level 4 – Blank. No inclination of love, hate or a wish to kill you where you stand
Warning Signs
There is none, this is why it’s so scary.
General Causes
It’s hard to say for sure, poor presenting technique, mixed up messages, poor slides, no call to action – any of these could be to blame.
Solution
Back out of the room very slowly & quietly, avoid any sudden movements and do not under any circumstances make eye contact.

 

rsz_5Level 5 – Delirium
Warning Signs
A smiling, grinning, euphoric state coupled with the inability to think or speak clearly.
General Causes
An infectious disease / an amazing presentation with strong clear messages and outstanding visual design.
Solution
Check you are not in close proximity to the outbreak of any diseases. Upon receiving the all clear, pat yourself on the back for contacting Eyeful and having a world class presentation created.

 

In the event you didn’t contact Eyeful and you completely and utterly winged it, then we applaud you.

If you would like a presentation that achieves the heady heights of a level 5, without leaving it to pure blind luck or a serious contagion – then simply click here

The Winning Edge Feature Life After PowerPoint

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 by Matt<

Are you baffled by presentation technology or do you have a total over-reliance on using PowerPoint all of the time?

Well, let us un-muddy the water for you.

Eyeful’s MD Simon Morton has written an article on ‘Life After PowerPoint’ in the May/June edition of The Winning Edge magazine, where in a case study style piece, he carefully explains the situation one of our customers found themselves in…

“A quick review of the existing decks identified the issues – it was packed to the rafters with data, statistics and legal caveats that did little to build need or instil confidence in the solution for the prospect.”

“All of this would be troublesome on small ticket sales, but with an average order value of over
£2m – it was quickly becoming a major issue.”

Simon goes on to detail how we worked together to help the customer resolve this, using a combination of technology and aiPad Man blended approach – which lead to some great results…

“In terms of cold hard facts, average order values have started to move up and there is a sense that the ‘box shifting’ ethos of old has been swapped for a more value-added partnership.”

To get the full story of how Eyeful helped achieve these results, check out the latest issue of The Winning Edge, or click here to see a copy of the review on our website.

The Winning Edge is a member only magazine of the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management. Here you can find lots of information with tips on sales and marketing and where you can sign up to receive the latest issues of The Winning Edge.

To find out what the best technological approach would be for your presentations, just drop us a line.

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!

The Good, The Bad And The Downright Great Of Training

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 by Liz<

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A few months back, I was pushing my son Niall in his pushchair, and dragging my 5 stone boxer dog up a hill towards home and near the summit I found myself getting out of breath – I’m only 30 and I’m exhausted, I thought – this is embarrassing!

Enough was enough and it was time to do something about it and get fit.

I found an insanity class and signed up. During my first session I felt like I was going to simultaneously pass out and vomit – But I went home and decided it actually felt good – I felt good.

Fast forward 6 months…

All was going well, I’d been going twice a week and I’m feeling well on the way to getting fitter and I’m feeling pretty good in myself.

But then, disaster…

My insanity class gets permanently cancelled – which to my surprise I was pretty upset about – I should have been relieved!

But determined not to give up, I sought a new Monday night class and go along expecting the same positive experiences I’ve had over the last few months – but, it was AWFUL.

On arrival the instructor quickly asks me if I have done the class before and takes my money before squeezing me onto a badminton court with over 40 other people, where we battled for space, where people were bumping into each other, getting kicked and elbowed along the way – if I’d have wanted body combat I’d have signed up for that!

I left the class feeling that not only had I not received any attention or value for money, but the whole experience was a waste of time.

As we are soon to launch Eyeful’s new presentation training modules, as Head of Training, I thought it important to make sure we incorporated all the good experiences to our own offering and totally avoid the bad experiences that made my most recent training so poor.

My old class was good because, the instructor welcomed me properly and took the time to understand what I needed to get out of the class, rather than just grabbing my money and sending me straight in…

Eyeful’s offering is unique, well rounded and it’s modular approach gives us the option to fully review your needs and understand what you need to get out of the training whilst also tracking progress. We will do this via a variety of methods, pre-course “flip the classroom” learning material, post-course access to resources and a trainer that makes time for you before, during and after your training experience with us.

My new class was poor because I was shoved into a room with more than 40 other people with just one trainer, who wasn’t able to offer any individual help or advice or feedback to people.

At Eyeful we limit our training to a maximum of 6 people for each session – ensuring learners individual needs are given the attention they deserve. In turn, providing an opportunity for feedback throughout.

My old trainer found out where I was weak or strong and tailored elements of the training to ensure that not only I, but each of the 10-15 people attending got the attention they needed. To me, it felt like she was joining me on my fitness journey, she was there to support and motivate me. I felt I was getting a return on my investment.

Eyeful’s training will be the same. Our modular structure will ensure that individual people or teams can attend courses that are relevant to them, increasing their presentation strengths across the board and literally go on a journey towards delivering the perfect presentation.

I might just recommend to my new instructor that he comes along to our course on Understanding Your Audience. It might just give him the motivation and direction he needs to change his training ways and deliver a better experience ensuring that his customers return – because I sure won’t be.

If you like the sound of Eyeful’s presentation training then stay tuned to the blog and sign up below or get in touch, as we release more details on how you or your team can get on the path to delivering perfect presentations.