The Curse of the Conference Call

July 31st, 2014 by Justine

Regular readers will know that we often talk about the Presentation Landscape and try to help our readers understand that presenting isn’t all about standing in front of an audience with a carefully prepared deck.

The best communicators understand that every business interaction is a presentation; even sharing new ideas informally can be more done more effectively if you apply some presentation best practice.

Before you dismiss that as unnecessary advice think about a child trying to persuade a parent to get them a puppy by arguing that it will help them be more responsible and get more exercise. These are not the reasons the child wants the puppy (those are mostly to do with cuteness), but they are the reasons they think their parents (the audience) will want to hear and will (please, please, please) respond to.

Childhood puppy requests should always be listened to with a huge amount of scepticism and it’s important that solid terms are negotiated before a parent even thinks about giving in, which tells us two more important things. Firstly that we have an inherent instinct to communicate in ways that will best engage our audience and secondly that even when we’re not doing business we’re using the same kind of skills and instincts.

So, presenting less formally or presenting without slides is easy because we can trust our instincts and rely on our natural ability to connect and negotiate.

Unfortunately this whole theory seems to fall flat on its face when it comes to conference calls.

It seems that once the people you are trying to communicate with are more than a few feet away all the things we know about engaging and negotiating are thrown out of the window.

Getting a conference call right is about understanding that it is part of the Presentation Landscape and not just an easy excuse to look busy. Rising to the challenge involves all the key presenting skills – know your story – know your audience – be clear with your messaging – make your call to action transparent and concise.

There are no revelations here, yet so many conference calls fail to achieve anything other than inactivity, annoying snapshots of people’s personal lives and uncomfortable silences. Unfortunately this is because they can easily fall into the same ‘no need to bother, it isn’t really important’ abyss that is also often home to Internal Presentations and without help, that’s where they’ll stay.

The clip below is both amusing and toe-curlingly uncomfortable to watch, but the sad thing is that at least some parts of it will ring true with anyone who has ever been on a conference call…

How we do business today means that conference calls are a necessity and businesses that work to understand where they sit in the Presentation Landscape and address the challenges they present will be better placed to take advantage of the opportunities they bring.

If you’d like to know how the creation of a great presentation can be beneficial to all your business communication simply download our free Sales Enablement Whitepaper or give us a call.

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Innovation from The Labs

July 29th, 2014 by Justine

It’s our job to get our customers excited about their presentations and to do that, we need to get excited ourselves.

Part of that comes from the time we take to get to know our customers, their businesses and their audiences and part of it comes from our natural (and slightly odd) tendency to get excited by presentations as a whole. The last (and perhaps most important) part comes from the time we take to let our minds wander off on any available presentation tangent and then tinker incessantly until we can bring our visions to life.

Until recently this process has taken place in a largely secretive way with our experts grabbing a few minutes between customer projects to fiddle about and see what they can come up with. While this process wasn’t nearly as grubby as I’ve just made it sound, we thought it was time to make the whole thing a little more proper.

So we set aside some time in the Labs for our dreamers and visionaries to bounce ideas off each other and then we gave them the opportunity to go forth and see what they could produce.

It’s fair to say that the whole endeavour is turning out to be a rather good idea, a room full of presentation enthusiast firing on all cylinders is truly something to behold and some of the mad ideas that have been batted around have turned into really interesting stuff – so much so that we’ve decided to dedicate a new page on our website to showcase the results.

The Innovation page forms an integral part of our latest web update (more of which I’ll be blogging about later in the week) and we’ll be updating the content every few months, so don’t forget to check back.

blog inn(Please note that neither Eyeful Presentation nor any of its employees or associates bears any responsibility for cessation of productivity and/or addiction brought about by the playing of Lil Phil – you have been warned!)

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Eyeful Presentations – On Standby During The Commonwealth Games…

July 23rd, 2014 by Justine

This evening sports and pageantry enthusiasts will be settling down to watch the opening ceremony of the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

As we know from the 2012 London Olympics the next 11 days will include much to educate and inspire audiences and athletes.

It’s easy to think of the Commonwealth Games as a poor relation to its bigger, brasher cousin the Olympics, but the challenges are the same on every level. Every athlete is trying to give their very best, every spectator is expecting to see sport at its highest level, every person involved in bringing it together is invested in its success and every sponsor is hoping to get the best possible ROI.

Which reminds me a little of how an important presentation comes together…

Here at Eyeful Towers we love a sporting event, and having fully recovered from The World Cup we’re gearing up to enjoy whatever Glasgow brings. To get into the spirit of the thing we’ve all taken a few minutes to find out which sports would suit us best via the entirely scientific channel that is the online questionnaire and the results have been rather interesting.

Should England need to fill a Hockey field in an emergency, we’re (apparently) more than able to help out. We can also (in a dire emergency) swell the ranks in Badminton and take on other Commonwealth hopefuls in both Wrestling and Judo… and we have in our midst a couple of the best disguised athletic throwers you could ever hope to meet.

Which, by my reckoning, makes us exactly the kind of team playing, tactically astute, ready to get stuck in, self-disciplined, multi-talented people you’d want helping you with your next presentation…

Whatever triumphs and tribulations the Commonwealth Games brings, you can rest assured that we won’t be waiting in vain for a call to step in, we’ll be concentrating on what we do best – helping our customers make lasting connections with their audiences.

Commonwealth Stadium

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Internal Presentations – How To Make The Difference

July 22nd, 2014 by Justine

The second webinar in our 2014 Summer Season focused on the often neglected area of Internal Presentations.

It’s really tempting to think that Internal Presentations aren’t important, after all most of your audience has to be there and their expectations are probably low, so why waste the time and effort?

Getting it right begins with understanding that you’ve already invested in your presentation, 20 employees away from their desks for an hour has a tangible but hidden cost and wasting that hour will not help you demonstrate any ROI…. Take an Internal presentation to a conference and that hidden investment can be huge.

Internal presentations also have the power to set the standard for communication within your organisation and setting that standard high will have a positive effect on how your team communicate with each other and, more importantly, with your customers and prospects.

Not only that but a clear, engaging, well delivered Internal Presentation can even tame that trickiest of beasts – office gossip.

To find out more about why Internal Presentations matter and how you can use them to communicate much more than simply the information they contain click below to hear our Internal Presentation webinar.

If you’d like to know more, get in touch and one of our specialist presentation consultants will be happy to show you just how effective your Internal Presentations can be.

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The Words That Took A Man To The Moon (And What He Said When He Got There)

July 21st, 2014 by Justine

Today is the 45th anniversary of the Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.

Whether you believe it was one of the greatest examples of just what the human race can achieve or prefer to think that it was flung together in a back lot in Hollywood, there is still much for the modern presenter to think about.

While the motivation behind landing on the moon was largely scientific it became something much more, getting to the moon was about showing off – which nation would have the ingenuity, resource, finance and let’s be honest, sheer kahoonies to get there first?

The stage was set seven years earlier when US president John F Kennedy gave his address at Rice University on the Nation’s Space Effort. You may not be familiar with the speech in its entirety but I’m pretty sure there’s a phrase you will probably have heard “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard”.

This one sentence played a large part in swaying the American public into believing that the moon was an important goal, a justifiable use of limited resources and a profoundly patriotic endeavour – one sentence allowed a nation to dream and mobilised vast resources to achieve a goal with little or no quantifiable ROI.

If every sentence was that powerful, I’m sure that presenters everywhere would need to be more thoughtful about what they said.

But the linguistic inspiration doesn’t stop there.

At 02.56 GMT on July 21st 1969 Neil Armstrong used just 12 words to convey an event and a feeling that no-one listening could begin to comprehend (and one of those was lost in transmission). “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind” is an oft quoted phrase because it achieved what all great communication aims for – complexity through simplicity.

Only 12 people have actually walked on the moon, yet many of us feel some connection with, and understanding of, the experience because those words encapsulated the whole thing so graphically.

If every sentence had that power to create that depth of empathy and emotion, presenters everywhere would need to be more careful about what they said.

Words themselves have no power at all, but the phrases that marked the beginning and the end of the race to the moon share something that every presenter can use to their advantage.

Both phrases were delivered with an integrity and an intensity that connected with their audiences emotionally.

Emotional connections are often dismissed as being a bit ‘touchy feely’ – they’re borderline new age gobbledegook and not at all business like. But in the race for customer engagement addressing your audience on an emotional level can make a huge difference to how they relate to you and your product or service.

Here at Eyeful we’re at the forefront of understanding the why and how of emotionally connecting with your audience. The Presentation Lab book has a whole chapter dedicated to achieving this (page 210) and we’ve developed a methodology we call Audience Heatmaps to help you find the right balance.

Not every presentation will have the power to loosen the purse strings at Congress or inspire a million children to dream about rockets, but you can make a difference to your audience, simply by understanding them better.

Simply pick up the phone or drop us a line to find out more…

moon

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Sales & Marketing Presentation Secrets Revealed

July 14th, 2014 by Justine

Our Summer Season of webinars is well underway.

It’s a couple of weeks now since we kicked off with our first session focusing on the intricacies of Sales and Marketing presentations.

Eternally rubbish at keeping great ideas to ourselves, we shared the latest in presentation thinking and gave attendees some practical advice on how to develop, create and deliver Sales and Marketing presentations that get the job done.

For those of you who were unable to join the webinar live, we’ve released a recording of the whole thing that you can peruse at your leisure, all you need to do is grab a cuppa and a biscuit and click on the video below.

There are still opportunities to take advantage of our caring, sharing nature by attending our webinars on Technical Presentation and Event Presentations. All webinars are free to attend and further details and registration links are below.

Technical Presentations are always challenging because they tempt presenters into including every minutiae of detail, mostly because they think that’s what the audience will want. This creates presentations that fail to engage, meaning that most of that carefully collated information misses its target completely.

Join us on Wednesday 16th July at 12 noon (BST) to find out how understanding your audience and managing data can help you connect, click here to register.

Internal Presentations are often considered unworthy of attention, the audience is required to attend and is expecting very little (other than an email free half hour). The standard of internal comms influences how your people communicate to others both in terms of content and quality, so skimping on effort here can have a huge knock on effect.

Join us on Thursday 17th July at 12 noon (BST) to find out why internal presentation matter and how they can add value to your business in ways you never expected, click here to register.

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Out With the Old…

July 11th, 2014 by Justine

With new web updates on the horizon, we’ve been reflecting over old content and it’s been really interesting to take a close look at some of our old stuff to see how it stands up in today’s presentation landscape.

As we’ve said before new isn’t always better and telling the difference between the next big thing and the latest one hit wonder can be a challenge, but it’s also true that great things wear well.

Fortunately for us it would appear that along the way we have indeed created a few great things (and, thank heavens, nothing bad enough to be hailed as ironically amusing).

Part of what made Eyeful Presentations the game changing company that it is today is that we laid out our aims and specialisms from the beginning and we’ve stuck to our guns.

We’re really rather good at presentations and while we’ve developed how our work can support and inform other parts of a sales collateral suite, we’ve never wavered from our original intent: improving business communication – one presentation at a time.

We’ve also stood by our intention to maximise ROI for our customers and ensure that no repurposing opportunity is left unexplored.

And we’re rather proud of practicing what we preach.

First aired in 2008 and briefly revived in 2012 here’s something from the Eyeful vaults that has stood the test of time much better than my wardrobe – and could even be erring towards retro chic….

 

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Inside Eyeful Labs

July 9th, 2014 by Justine

Just over a year ago we launched Eyeful Labs, our immersive, interactive, presentation environment, designed to help our customers explore new ways of thinking about and delivering presentations.

In that time the Labs have grown to be much more than we, or our customers, ever expected.

They have become the place where presentation innovation, creative inspiration and the spirit of exploration come together with an Eyeful dose of ‘give it a go’ (and a soupçon of scientific insanity) to explore all things presentation.

Presentations are often the least loved and most abused part of any business collateral package and Eyeful Labs is our way of changing perceptions and giving presentations the time and resource they deserve.

At first, many visitors were unsure exactly what to expect (and to be completely honest so were we). But it soon became apparent that our combination of readily accessible presentation expertise and limitless coffee was hitting the right spot.

Soon customers were experiencing the effects in the best way possible and going on to action positive change in their businesses.

Today the Labs are a real hive of activity with customers, consultants, designers and presentation enthusiasts all adding to a mix that is pushing the boundaries of what presenters and presentations can achieve.

It’s a hectic, challenging, stimulating and provocative place to be, it’s The Presentation Lab bought to life – and we love it!short reel 2

To find out how your presentation thinking can benefit from a trip to The Lab, simply get in touch and we’ll help you explore the possibilities.

 

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Wise Words and Valuable Visuals

July 1st, 2014 by Justine

A while ago we blogged about Winston Churchill and took presentation inspiration from some of his oft quoted gems of wisdom.

There is no doubt that Winston Churchill had the power to inspire and it appears that, 49 years after his death, that power is as strong as ever.

One of our specialist presentation designers decided to pick up the baton and explore how Churchill’s wisdom could be brought to life using our old friend PowerPoint and some carefully chosen visuals.

The result demonstrates perfectly how choosing and using visuals with skill and restraint can make messages more powerful than the words alone.

Avoiding the temptation to ‘over egg the cake’ is key here, the images and transitions are understated and simple; they support rather than overshadow the messaging.

We’ll leave the last words on the subject to the great man himself:

“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope.”

Winston Churchill

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Customer Care the Eyeful Way

June 27th, 2014 by Justine

Successful companies need to master two things, a great product and great customer service.

Some companies approach this through a process that should strike fear into the hearts of consumers (and business owners) everywhere and is most charitably described as ‘managing customer expectations’.

All too often this actually means lowering customer expectations so that they’ll be impressed by whatever they get.

We do things a little differently here at Eyeful.

Many of our customers’ approach us with presentations that they know are failing visually and while we’re more than happy to help them spruce things up in the short term, the value that we can add goes much deeper.

Anyone who has experienced our full Presentation Optimisation service will know that while our slides are indeed gorgeous they are also engaging and effective – two things that all great communication needs to be.

So we’ve got the great product part licked, what about the customer service bit?

Well over 80% of our customers return to us, presentation after presentation, and that’s because we work hard to raise, and then exceed, their expectations.

Right from the first panicky phone call we let customers know exactly what’s possible by taking the time to understand their business, their audience and their objectives before we even start work on their presentation.

For some customers the whole thing can seem a little bemusing, having brought in their old banger for an MOT, it’s a little disconcerting to drive off in a brand new Ferrari – and with their wallet intact.

Here one of our specialist presentation consultants, Sally Bailey explains how we build and maintain great customer relationships.

Finding out what a bit of Eyeful love can do for your business communications is easy, just get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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