Posts Tagged ‘PowerPoint’

The Good, The Bad And The Downright Great Of Training

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 by Liz<

rsz_boardroom

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.

Microsoft Updates Office Apps On iPad – PowerPoint Gets ‘Cold Sweat’ Level Functionality

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 by Matt<

And of course the one we are interested in is PowerPoint

New in Version 1.9.2
• New storage options: open, edit, and save your work to iCloud and other online storage services.
(requires iOS 8)
• Change slide layout: make your content pop by changing the layout of your slide.
• Insert from camera: insert pictures and videos from the camera right into your presentation.

Saving was previously restricted to your OneDrive so this is good and the ability to take a picture directly from the PowerPoint is cute, but hardly screams professional presentation.

But the ability to change the slide layout – well, anyone reading this who has ever had to change the layout of a presentation at the last minute is probably breaking out in a cold sweat.

Let me explain…

Changing the layout is for example going from 16×9 (widescreen) to 4×3 (Tv’s from the 90’s) or vice versa – and doing this has consequences…

In older versions of PowerPoint (pre Office 13) if you switch from 4×3 to 16×9, all of your slide content gets stretched… the other way and it gets squashed. Thankfully PowerPoint 13 and indeed the iPad app are pretty smart these days and they don’t do this. They preserve the slide content and don’t stretch or squash it.

However, you do still get issues where content that previously fitted together seamlessly, now doesn’t fit the slide size – which means going through the whole presentation and tidying your slide content – a tricky process, possibly on pair with trying to insert a contact lens, whilst on an aircraft during a sever bout of turbulence.

This also begs the question, why are Microsoft even giving you a task to do, that’s the PowerPoint equivalent of repeatedly poking yourself in the eye, anyway?

As surely, the very reason you have a PowerPoint on your iPad is that you will be giving the presentation in a conversational 1-1 style environment and thus the screen ratio isn’t really important, it’s not like you’ll be connecting to a projector for this type of informal communication.

rsz_1rsz_ipad v2

And if the deck is 4×3 it will pretty much fit perfectly on an iPad screen and worse case, if it’s 16×9 all that happens when you play the PowerPoint is some black bars are added to the top and bottom – which don’t really jar anyway, as the same thing happens when you watch a movie on your iPad.

The only reason you would really need to change the ratio, is if your presenting on a projector in a more formal environment – and if that’s the case, the PowerPoint file has no business going anywhere near an iPad!

The lesson here is – consider your presentation environment.

If it’s a formal area of the Presentation Landscape, so ‘1-many’ then you need to know what ratio the AV person needs your PowerPoint to be and have the deck designed properly on a computer, in the right ratio from the off – and hopefully in this day and age it’s 16×9…

If it’s an informal ‘1-1’ small conversational style meeting, then an iPad or tablet is perfect… and like I say, a 4×3 file would be perfect, but if it’s in 16×9 I really wouldn’t sweat it.

If you would like a technically perfect presentation either on a PC, a tablet, Prezi, or even on a Whiteboard – then give us a call on 01455 826390 or send us a message – I’m off to find my tape measure.

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.

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.

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.

Breaking News! New version of PowerPoint…

Friday, February 6th, 2015 by Matt<

 

PPT for Mac - CompressedSorry if I seem like an over excited 5-year old on the night before Christmas, but I’ve just heard there is a new beta version of PowerPoint to play with!

You may have heard recently how Microsoft have decided to skip Windows 9 and move straight to Windows 10 – apparently they have this great idea to integrate a start button?!

Well it’s not just Windows that’s getting re-worked, the full Office suite of Word, Excel and PowerPoint are getting updated too – and as Eyeful’s resident ubergeek you can only imagine how excited I am to put a new version of PowerPoint through its paces.

For many people reading this, there is a reasonable chance you are still running Office 2007 or 2010 – if it’s 2003 your IT department should bow their heads in shame. And you might not yet have tried out the rather excellent PowerPoint 2013 (see here my review part 1 and part 2).

Microsoft really made some waves with PowerPoint 2013 so I’m very eager to see if they read my PowerPoint wish list in a previous blog and actually implemented any of my ideas for the new version?

If you fancy road testing the new Office Beta – it’s a requirement to sign up to Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program and install the Windows 10 Technical Preview. The website categorically states you should…

Really know your way around a PC and feel comfortable troubleshooting problems, backing up data, formatting a hard drive, installing an operating system from scratch, or restoring your old one if necessary

And even says…

We’re not kidding about the expert thing. So if you think BIOS is a new plant-based fuel, Tech Preview may not be right for you.

Ok then! I’m now off to find a VERY OLD computer to put the new Windows 10 and PowerPoint through its paces.

Watch this space for a full review.

 

 

An Open Letter to all Business Presenters

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 by Simon<

Hello you…

How are things?

We’ve been meaning to drop you a line for a while now but held off sending anything too close to the chaos of Christmas and New Year for obvious reasons. The festivities are now likely to be a dim and distant memory… as are the long list of New Years Resolutions (don’t sweat it – we think a little bit of extra padding looks rather good on you, if we’re honest). Now all of those pressures are out of the way, we’d like to ask you a favour… actually, three favours. And they all centre around that one part of your job that you find uncomfortable to the point of palpitations – business presentations.

Don’t worry – we’re not after the world… just three small things that will make all the difference to your presentation, and thus to your audiences.

1. Go on, go 16:9

Let’s start with an easy one – it’s time for you to move over to widescreen. Your laptop, your screen and your projector have all made the leap over to 16:9 ratio – it’s time you took the plunge too.

Have you noticed how old films and footage looks, well, ancient on TV when it’s shown in the old ratio and has big black bars down each side? Sorry to break it to you, but if you’re stuck using 4:3 ratio for your PowerPoint and Keynote, your presentations are going to look equally old fashioned.

But it’s more than simply keeping up with the Joneses. Blog picMaking the move over to 16:9 gives you more room to play with on your slides – create white space and let your slide breathe! Use the extra width to develop visuals that engage your audience! Heck, deliver slides that look like they belong in this decade!

If you’re responsible for stuff like corporate PowerPoint templates at your workplace, sort it out pronto and your colleagues will love you forever more. If you’re one of the users stuck with ye olde PowerPoint 4:3 template, harass the marketing team until they see the error of their ways (perhaps send them a link to this blog to speed things up) and make the move over. If they dig their heels in, whisper in their ears that the default ratio on the latest version of PowerPoint is now 16:9 – the world has changed and it’s time for them to catch up.

 

2. Don’t lose your nerve

We’ve spotted a bit of a pattern on important presentations. At the very start of the process, presenters (yep, you) are full of good intentions. You embrace the concept of ‘less is more’ both in terms of content on a slide and slide count, full of vim, vigour and determination that this time it’ll all be different – no bullets, valuable visuals and a clear audience-centric message. It’s shaping up to the best presentation you’ll ever deliver – happy days.

The problem is that as time marches on, you start to lose your bottle. You start to sprinkle a little more detail here and there, sticking in a complex diagram to demonstrate that you’ve really put the hours into the research and tweaking your message so as not to rock the boat.

Often, because the stakes are so high, you make the fateful mistake of opening up your presentation to committee. This truly is the death knell to any chance you had of developing a powerful presentation. By all means, call upon your colleagues for feedback and collaboration but never EVER rescind control – it’s your presentation… own it.

Collaboration = good

Committee = unmitigated disaster

Now don’t get us wrong, friend – we know that standing up and delivering a presentation this important is gut-wrenchingly stressful but don’t fall into the trap of compromising and diluting it as D-day approaches. Go back to the ideas that were the catalyst for version 1 of your presentation – the structure and message, the carefully chosen supporting content and the simple but effective visuals. Granted, they may not have been perfect but they’re likely to be a much purer more focused set of slides than the watered-down, ‘safe’ and ultimately homogenous presentation you’ve ended up with.

Go on – be brave, have faith and don’t compromise (your audience and your message deserve it).

3. There’s more to life than PowerPoint

Granted, this one might require a small leap of faith (call it a leapette). PowerPoint is not the only tool available to you as a presenter. There – we’ve said it…

Presentation Landscape WheelArmed with nothing more than a good understanding of your audience, a strong message and structure and, when required, the ability to visualise key elements of your story, you can deliver a presentation armed with nothing more than a pen and napkin/whiteboard/notepad.

If you wish to get fancy, you might want to dust down the tablet you were given a couple of years back in a pique of technological excitement (it’s not just for Angry Birds). Or you might want to try the multitude of other options out there (Prezi, Powtoon, Keynote, SlideRocket…the list goes on).

We’ve never had so many options to consider as presenters so have a look around and see what works for you and your audience…and what doesn’t. And it’s this last bit that is soooo very important. Whatever option(s) you choose, it is imperative that it works for your audience.

Not you – your audience.

Playing with new technology is always fun but if the net result of your experimentation is a presentation that bamboozles your audience or leaves them thinking more about the animation effect you used rather than your message, you’ve messed up.

So there you go…three simple changes to the way you approach presentations that will make all the difference. A difference to the way you engage with your audiences, a difference to the clarity and impact of your message and a difference in the results you’re likely to get from all your hard work. What’s not to like?

Have a wonderful 2015…

The Eyeful Team x

Time To Take Your Tablet…

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 by Simon<

I freely admit to getting very very excited when Apple launched the first generation iPad. Yep – I was one of those geeks lining up, anxious to get my grubby geeky hands on this shiny new tech. I foresaw a revolution in the way presenters engaged with their audiences – goodbye stilted one-way presentations governed by a laptop, hello interactive and intimate conversations aided by technology rather than being hampered by it.

How wonderfully naïve…

Yes, there were headlines aplenty heralding the fact that large organisations had equipped their salesteams with iPads. Yet dig a little deeper, ask the direct question and most would admit to never really getting presentations up and running as they had hoped. It wasn’t their fault – the lack of an elegant PowerPoint on iPad tool (Keynote was alien for most business users, conversion to PDFs seemed a cop-out, while apps like Slideshark were fiddly and never quite ticked all the boxes) meant that the promised new age of presenting spluttered, staggered…and then conked out in many organisations.

Don’t get me wrong…iPads were proudly unveiled in meetings in those early days but only to demonstrate how technically savvy an organisation was. It was about showing off the latest tech but heaven forbid you actually use it to share information or engage an audience…

The net result? Legions of salespeople used their iPads as bigger version of their phones – great for email, contact management and Angry Birds.

Fast forward to the present day and (whisper) we might finally be getting near the Promised Land. We now have a fully functioning PowerPoint app that will work well on iPad, Android and Surface tablets, we have audiences that have got over the giddy excitement of seeing a tablet device for the first time and we have presenters who now recognise that sometimes less is more.

Office Apps

So when to use your tablet? Consider the following:

Where on the Presentation Landscape are you..?

We now present in a range of different environments and to a range of audiences as part of our everyday life. The cosy chat with an audience over a coffee is different to standing up and orating at a conference…and the tools we employ for these different engagements need to reflect this.   We coined the phrase ‘Presentation Landscape’ in The Presentation Lab (available online and from booksellers of repute) to demonstrate the difference between Formal presentations (think: conference or bid pitch), Interactive (think: account management sales review) and Informal (think: sharing information over a coffee).

Your tablet fits very nicely into Interactive and Informal presentations but can be a bit of a handful in Formal environments. You can boost the presentation power of your tablet further by making it interactive and turning it into a toolkit, something the latest version of the PowerPoint app makes easier than ever. Happy days…

Tech or No Tech?

No matter where you are on the Presentation Landscape, sometimes it’s better to simply step away from the technology and engage your audience differently. As business people, we have fallen under the spell of technology and now firmly believe that a presentation isn’t a presentation without a set of slides or jaw-dropping animations to accompany it.

It’s time to step away from the tech and find other ways to engage your audience. Hard copy visual documents can be powerful, engaging and provide a strong structure for the presenter to lead the audience to their conclusion (great for small formal groups and interactive presentations). Consider sketching out your ideas (whiteboard for formal presentations, back of a napkin for the cosy coffee conflabs) or demonstrating your product rather than showing slides that talk about it.

Yes, we understand how much you love your tablet…but sometimes you’re better off without it.

Fit To Drive?

Presenting via a tablet is a completely different skill to delivering a laptop presentation. Outside of the technical differences (limited shortcuts, the fact that an innocent swipe of the screen can spell disaster for a nervous presenter), we need to be aware of the different form of engagement that comes with tablet presenting. It’s more intimate, both in terms of seating position and presenting style. Naturally this has its benefits in terms of engaging and building rapport with an audience however it can also spell disaster in the hands of a clumsy, underprepared presenter.

Ask yourself the question – do your presenters know how to deliver a tablet presentation confidently and effectively? Educators are ahead of the curve here – they understand that using tablet technology is a powerful way of engaging their student audiences but recognise that the technology is only part of the solution. Take time out to coach them on what good looks like – not only will your presenters be forever grateful but, more importantly, your audience deserves it.