Posts Tagged ‘The Presentation Lab’

NATIONAL STRESS AWARENESS MONTH: 5 STEPS TO REMOVE PRESENTATION PANIC

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 by Matt<

We all know that sinking feeling you get when an email request from your big boss arrives asking you to present at the next quarterly meeting.

A positive and polite response “certainly, I would love to”, masks an inner monologue that screams “are you kidding me?!”.

You have two choices…

You can either hide in the stationery cupboard hoping that the presentation goes away (which it won’t), commit career suicide and refuse to present, or you can take a deep breath and meet this challenge head on like you do every other.

Take that breath, because we have your back.

At Eyeful we are used to presentation SOS requests heading our way and we tackle these by following a structured and sensible approach that is about using the time wisely and to maximum impact.

5 Steps To Remove Presentation Panic…

Step 1 – Prioritise your workload

Assess your to-do-list and push back anything that can be until after the date of the presentation.

Now assess honestly how many hours you can dedicate to your presentation preparation before dividing your time up percentage wise in the following 4 steps…

Focusing and prioritising your time will help to keep you calm and you’ll create a better, more effective presentation at the same time. It’s win-win.

Step 2 – Create A Message For Your Audience

Allocate 35% of your time early on to consider your presentation objectives (Must, Intend, Like).

Write these down and they will help you to identify the content and visuals that are truly engaging your audience and point them in the right direction.

Now profile your audience, a quick and easy way to do this is here in our free Presentation Healthcheck service.

An audience heatmap

With your objectives clear in your mind and your audience in focus (with an audience heatmap), you will now have some strong ideas on how to best to share your message.

Get this down on paper as a storyflow, which is essentially the flow of the presentation in a list of chapter headings. Share this with some trusted colleagues and ask for honest feedback. Listen and action accordingly.

Don’t be tempted to keep changing it as you will burn time. Trust your instincts.

Step 3 – Plan Your Content

Review the storyflow against the slides you have and remove anything that doesn’t support your message. Don’t forget to make sure you have a call to action that it is aligned to your objectives and key message.

Work your way through the slides removing as many words as you can and highlight any gaps in your story.

A presentation storyboard

Sketch out new slides that need to be created on paper and again ask colleagues for their honest feedback. Planning a storyboard on paper easily allows you to see what works and what doesn’t easily and quickly.

Once this is done you can start to create your final presentation…

Step 4 – PowerPoint Presentation Design

 

Firstly, go for some quick wins. You can easily swap text based content out for images or diagrams? PowerPoint 2016’s new Icon functionality makes visualising key messages a lot easier too.

PowerPoint’s new icon tool

Always play your presentation through making sure titles and colours are consistent and that all the animation works as it should.

Step 5 – Rehearse

When deadlines are tight there will be a huge temptation to forgo the practice stage and work on the creation of your presentation right up until the last minute. But you must fight this.

Working on your presentation into the late hours the night before is not advisable. The last thing you want to be doing is heading into your presentation in a tired state with unfamiliar slides.

Presenter rehearsing to an empty room

You must leave at least 10% of your time for practising delivering your presentation. Doing this on your own is fine, but if you have access to a tripod you could video yourself on your phone and review yourself. This is a great way to self improve before testing your delivery out in front of your colleagues.

Follow these 5 steps and when you present you will come across more authentically, look more professional and give all the hard work you’ve done the best chance to succeed.

Best of luck.

THE IMPORTANT INGREDIENT MOST PRESENTERS FORGET

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 by Matt<

Eyeful’s MD Simon Morton has been talking to Grant Leboff of Sticky Marketing again this week…

This time he’s been discussing a really important part of presentations, that most presenters don’t even consider – the objectives…

In his acclaimed book, The Presentation Lab, Simon goes into great detail about a really useful technique we use all of the time on our client’s presentations, called Must, Intend, Like…

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Get the lowdown on it now from Simon and Grant in just 5 minutes…

If Must, Intend, Like is a technique you think could give your presentations some much needed direction, then check out ‘Objective Setting’ in our suite of modular presentation training

Story Season – A Prologue

Monday, February 9th, 2015 by Simon Morton<

Occasionally the team at Eyeful Towers gets a bee in our collective bonnet. A couple of years ago we went all out to stem the overly effusive praise for Prezi* and a while before that we were getting ourselves hot under the collar about the curse of OSMCs (Old School Management Consultants).

The topic that has become the focus of our attention? Stories.

Now don’t get us wrong – we LOVE the smart use of stories and story structure in presentations. They’ve formed some of the most compelling, engaging, passionate and memorable presentations ever created. The use of ‘story’ in presentations makes a lot of sense – get it right and you’re onto a good thing…

Yet there’s a problem…and it’s not too dissimilar to the Prezi fanboy postings that created such a fuss back at Eyeful HQ.

Our issue is that people understand the IDEA of story in presentations but have little or no sense of how to INTEGRATE them into the finished product.

The net result is lots of noise, opinion and phrases like ‘narrative arc’ being thrown around with little real understanding…and minimal improvement to presentations.

Well…we’ve had enough. So over the next 6 weeks we’re going to share our views on the good, the bad and the plain confusing of story in presentations. In weekly instalments delivered via the Eyeful blog and LinkedIn, we’ll ask the people on the front line to share their experiences, look at the science behind it all and provide valuable ideas and structures for business people just like you.

In short, Eyeful’s Story Season will help you step back from the hype and take time for figure out how it can truly help you, your presentation and, most important of all, your audience. We think that’s something worth sharing…

* In summary, Prezi is great when used appropriately and designed sympathetically BUT it is far from the presentation panacea so many people proclaim it to be. Nuff said.

The Eyeful Gift Picker Guide

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 by Simon Morton<

You braved the Black Friday crowds yet came out with nothing more than a few bruises. You scouted the net on Cyber Monday, contributing to servers falling over left, right and centre yet your shopping basket remains empty.

There’s no doubt – finding the right gift for your loved ones at Christmas can be stressful however the team at Eyeful bring good tidings! We’ve created a Gift Picker that will point you to some very fancy present ideas for your nearest and dearest. Simply click here to download the PowerPoint show (yep…PowerPoint!) and let the shopping begin!

The Technical Stuff

Yep, this was all done in PowerPoint by Hannah, one of the lovely and rather talented Eyeful Design Team. We could bore you with the incredible clever way we used triggers and hyperlinks…but it’s Christmas and you should be either getting drunk with colleagues at the company party or dressing a tree in tinsel whilst listening to Michael Buble’s Christmas Album.

Tell you what – why don’t you book yourself on one of our technical training days and we’ll tell you all about it then? In the meantime, enjoy the eggnog (and stay away from the photocopier).

A Personal View on Eyeful Europe

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 by Simon Morton<

The launch day excitement regarding Eyeful Germany has slowly subsided here at Eyeful Towers. The pre-launch fine-tuning, spell-checking and frantic conversations about foreign language Search Engine Optimisation has given way to a post-launch zen-like state.

This short breather has allowed me some time to ponder Eyeful’s growth overseas. Frankly, an international presence was never part of the plan – a quick glance at what could be loosely described as a business plan from 10 years ago makes no mention of expansion overseas whatsoever.

So why, after 10 years, have we ended up with presence in North America, Russia, Ireland, Holland and now Germany? Some of it was grabbing hold of the opportunity when it arose (Russia and Ireland), some of it was planned (Holland) and some because our customers demanded support over there (North America).

Some of these international experiments have been a great success, some less so. The difference? An appetite to challenge the status quo and push presentations forward – some parts of the world have it, some don’t (yet).

Which brings me to the excitement I personally feel for our expansion in Europe. Despite differences in language, cultures and (for the foreseeable future!) currency, the UK feels more aligned to the countries of Europe than anywhere else in the World. In much the same way as when I started working with Sander in Holland to build out a team of presentation experts back in 2011, expansion of our offering into Germany doesn’t feel like a ‘land grab’. It’s deeper than that – it’s more akin to building the team than breaking new ground.clogs

In my opinion, much of this comes down to culture. We’ve been lucky enough to work with some huge European based brands over the years and have spotted a pattern around a shared culture.

Irrespective of language (the majority of our Presentation Optimisation engagements are carried out in English but many aren’t) there was a common understanding that the work we were doing was important, valid and relevant. European customers truly recognise the value of great presentations and are hungry to look beyond our undoubted design skills to something more involved and ultimately satisfying*. It’s no coincidence that the concept of The Presentation Landscape came from a tour of businesses in Holland.

Hence the excitement as we open up new opportunities in Europe – the shared enthusiasm for great presentations is infectious. It’s driving us to raise our game, throwing more time, energy and resources at innovating on behalf of our customers. Europe is awash with businesses that want to push audience engagements past the trite ‘storytelling’ and ‘lipstick on a pig’ techniques of old and grasp new approaches such as Blended Presenting. Their hunger combined with our insight and experience can only benefit audiences across the Continent.

Our experience shows that Europe is ready for the challenge…and so are we.

* It’s interesting to note that sales of The Presentation Lab in Europe dwarf those across the rest of the World. Some of this could be attributed to local marketing (our own and the publishers) but I wager a general appetite to think beyond PowerPoint slide design also has a part to play.

Last Year’s Halloween – An Apology

Friday, October 31st, 2014 by Simon Morton<

12 months ago, we reported on the downright petrifying monster that is Presentationstein.  Frankly, we were rather pleased with ourselves in what we saw as a public service, bringing the abuse of previously loved presentations into focus.  More importantly, we hoped that our spotlight on this important issue might help alleviate some of the suffering felt by business presentation audiences across the world.

We thought we were doing the right thing…but we were wrong.  And we apologise.

12 months on, we recognise that this simple, well meaning blog caused undue anxiety to companies large and small. Marketing departments descended into chaos as they scrambled to identify the cause of Presentationstein within their own business.  Sales leaders woke up in a cold sweat, recognising that their hotch-potch approach to presentation collateral had caused the untimely death of prospects and the shrinking of pipelines.  The list of business people impacted by our thoughtless exposé seems endless.

Again, please accept our sincere apologies if you were one of the business professionals affected by this video.

With time comes clarity and so this year, we’ve taken the bold editorial decision to run the same video report but with the following important warning:

The following video contains information, scenes and images that are likely to disturb business professionals.  If you are of a sensitive disposition or having a nagging doubt that your presentation isn’t quite up to scratch, you may wish to find a friend or colleague to grab hold of before watching.

The good news is that after reference to an acclaimed book on the subject and a series of counselling sessions conducted by trained professionals, many businesses are now delivering their messages with renewed clarity, heightened levels of audience engagement and powerful messages.

Presentationstein is no more…and audiences have never been more grateful.

The blog, of the blog, of the book….

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 by Simon Morton<

We’ve always been big on sharing here at Eyeful.

You’ve seen the website, received the newsletter and enjoyed the blog, the luckiest amongst you are armed with an Optimised Presentation and pretty soon you’ll all be able to read the book.

Simon has finally been persuaded to try and trap his wit and wisdom between the covers of an actual book. No really, it’s true, it’s got an ISBN number and everything….

The Presentation Lab: Learn The Formula Behind Powerful Presentations can be yours to own later this year, but there’s no need to wait for Christmas to see what it’s all about.

As if the prospect of writing a book were not daunting enough, Simon is throwing open the creative process for everyone to see how it evolves.

He will be sharing the agony and ecstasy of the writing process through dedicated blog and Twitter feeds.

We can’t promise that it’ll always be plain sailing, and it may need a parental guidance sticker at times, but it is guaranteed to be interesting!

The blog and Twitter feeds will allow you to experience the kind of DVD extras not usually associated with book writing (and somewhere along the way we may discover a reason for this…) – enjoy!

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