Posts Tagged ‘PowerPoint’

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:

rsz_presentation_stages

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.

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.