Archive for the ‘General information’ Category

A Personal View on Eyeful Europe

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 by Simon<

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.

The Lee Jackson Book Review

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 by Simon<

The fine people of Yorkshire have a reputation to uphold. Purveyors of great tea (a ‘proper brew’), birthplace of the Yorkshire Pudding and a pride in their bluntness.

To mangle a quote from Frances Hodgson Burnett:

“It is a Yorkshire habit to say what you think with blunt frankness”.

So, it was with a little trepidation that I received a video review of The Presentation Lab from venerable presentation expert and full time Yorkshireman, Lee Jackson.

Phew… Thank you, Lee.

If you want to know what all the fuss is about (and what it is about the book that makes the likes of Lee burst forth with compliments), download the first chapter here for free (and then order via the usual outlets).

Last Year’s Halloween – An Apology

Friday, October 31st, 2014 by Simon<

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.

Flying The Flag For Powerful Presentations…in Germany

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 by Simon<

It’s with a whole heap of excitement that we formally announce the arrival of our German website – http://www.eyefulpresentations.de

Eyeful Germany Website HomepageWhile we’ve been hard at work improving presentations across Europe for some time (and making quite a few friends along the way), this new development allows us to focus on the specific presentation needs of German businesses, large and small.

As part of this development, we’re delighted to welcome Thessa Roderig into the Eyeful family. Thessa not only shares the same unbridled passion for powerful presentations as the rest of the Eyeful gang but also has the unique insight of seeing it from the customer’s side of the fence.

Her experience of working with the Eyeful team on an important presentation proved so powerful that she’s decided to support our growth across Germany.  Frankly, it’s the best endorsement we can think of!

To learn more about this exciting news, check out the Podcast below or pop along to our sparkling, box fresh website here.

Trust in Training – The Holy Grail?

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 by Sally Bailey<

We’ve been talking about trust a lot recently. Once the flurry of storyflows, storyboards and design concepts have died down, we’ve figured that the success of our presentation projects come down to this one simple thing – Trust.

Trust needs to be present before a client, no matter how confident they are, steps up on stage to deliver a presentation we created with them. Trust underpins the month/year/career-shifting pitch made by a nervous salesperson. Trust sits at the core of an internal presentation that communicates the need for change.

Eyeful Labs - Bubbling UnderTrust is equally important in training and coaching. It forms the backbone of any successful programme – delegates who ‘believe’ grab hold of their new skills and ideas and make the most out of them. Delegates who didn’t quite cross the threshold merely process their expenses and tidily place their course materials on the shelf next to their desk (‘shelf development’ over ‘self development’).

So how do you get it? If only it was as easy as waving a magic wand and ensuring the trust and belief of delegates but the reality is somewhat different. Trust has to be earned. There are no shortcuts or tricks of the trade – just bloody hard work.

However there maybe one exception…

Our Eyeful Labs training would seem to have an unfair advantage due to the topic in hand – presentation engagement. The quality of most presentations is, put frankly, awful – we’re typically starting from a pretty low standard in the first place. As such, by providing a simple, straightforward and logical way of improving the engagement between presenter and audience, we’re onto a winner from the word go. The very nature of the Presentation Optimisation means that improvements are obvious, discernable and repeatable.

Eyeful Labs’ combination of simplicity and process, coupled with huge (personal) leaps forward in terms of clarity and engagement means that trust is easier to win than most. The net result is that delegates are more willing to adopt Presentation Optimisation in the classroom and then have the confidence to ‘give it a go’ as part of their day to day lives, witnessing for themselves the improvements.

This trust creates a good habit that is hard to break, which is good news for presenter and audience alike. What’s not to like?

Sales Enablement is Failing Sales Teams

Monday, October 20th, 2014 by Simon<

A lot of noise has been made over the last few years around the topic of ‘Sales Enablement’. We’ve added our own 10p’s worth to the debate in the past and then continued to look on with a mix of amusement and bemusement.

The amusement comes from the reinvention of something that has been around since the dawn of mankind (or at least, since man started selling stuff to their fellow man). Call it what you want but Sales Enablement, in it’s most basic form, is the development of sales tools to help sales people, um, sell.

Apologies to any sales or marketing execs who are currently sat with chests puffed out with pride – the fact that you’ve moved with the times and converted your sales collateral to work in a new ‘easy to access’ format isn’t revolutionary, it’s merely keeping up with The Joneses.

Perhaps more importantly, the bemusement comes from companies large and small missing out on a huge opportunity. All too often the excitement, investment and time spent on delivering on a ‘Sales Enablement Strategy’ overshadows the real need of sales teams. They’re not after gizmos (although I’ve yet to meet a salesperson who doesn’t like a new tech toy) – boil it down and they’re after story, structure and clarity of messaging. They want tools that will allow them to beat the competition, close the deal and take home the commission.

Frankly salespeople don’t care what platform, operating system or colour sales tools come in – they just want it to help them deliver the deal. It’s as simple as that.

Here at Eyeful we’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with companies of all sizes across a range of industries. When the topic of ‘Sales Enablement’ is touched on, sadly a definite pattern is starting to emerge. Businesses are focusing their investment in the Delivery Mechanism (tablet sales enablement tools, fancy apps or training their sales teams to become slick ‘TED’ like presenters) without recognising that they are inadvertently recycling the same trite, unconvincing and generic content. It’s a little like remaking a bad movie – if it was boring and lacklustre in 2D, it’s going to be equally boring and lacklustre in 3D.

We implore sales and marketing professionals to take a step back and think beyond the hype and quick wins that Sales Enablement promises. If businesses took a moment to review the message and content they are dishing out in various forms, the more effective this whole ‘Sales Enablement’ bandwagon might be.

As we’ve said time and time again, if your prospect’s response to your pitch is ‘cool slides’, you’ve failed. Never let the temptation of cool technology or fancy aesthetics get in the way of your audience engaging with your message. And if you’re using the ‘Sales Enablement’ tag to merely add lipstick to a pig of a sales presentation message, you’ve missed a golden opportunity…and your competition is poised to make the most of it.

The Story Behind Presentation Optimisation

Friday, May 23rd, 2014 by Justine<

Ten years ago Eyeful Presentations was a mere gleam in the eye of our MD Simon Morton.

Right from the beginning Eyeful was unafraid to ask awkward questions and challenge traditional presentation thinking.

Being the stroppy new kid was great, but when it became apparent that what we were doing wasn’t only different from everything else it was also more effective at engaging audiences it was time to grow up a bit.

The business was growing and as more Eyefulites came on board it was increasingly important to pull all the rebellious thinking together into something that sounded just a little less radical. After all our customers are serious people, with serious messages and it’s important that we can be serious too (but only when we need to).

Presentation Optimisation was a term born to describe how we create business communication that has real impact – a sort of tourist guide for the Eyeful customer journey.

But like any good child that’s been loved and nurtured Presentation Optimisation has grown to be so much more than a catchphrase. It informs everything we do and develops to encompass every new technology and keep pace with the ever changing presentation landscape.

It sits at the heart of our business and continues to be the edge that we (and our customers) use to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Here, one of our specialist consultants, Sally Bailey, explains just what a difference it makes….

Reaping the benefits of Presentation Optimisation is easy, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

The Extraordinary Eyeful Easter Egg Hunt

Monday, April 28th, 2014 by Justine<

You know us best as purveyors of presentation perfection, but sometimes we’re just a lot of silly people looking for chocolate.

It’s All About You….

Monday, January 20th, 2014 by Justine<

Or Is It??

Sometimes a news story pops up that really gets us thinking. Often as not it’s something that makes us look at presentations from a new angle or gets our juices flowing about communication in general and last week threw us a corker.

Chen Guangbiao is a Chinese businessman who has created a business card that is causing quite a few raised eyebrows.

We’ve chatted about business cards here before and the important part they play in making a first and (hopefully) lasting impression. But the reason we’re so interested in Chen Guangbiao is that he has provided an outstanding example of a couple of mistakes that we help our customers eradicate in their presentations.

You can see this tome of self-promotion in all its glory here but I’m more than happy to share his listed achievements:

Most Influential Person of China
Most Prominent Philanthropist of China
China Moral Leader
China Earthquake Rescue Hero
Most Well-Known and Beloved Chinese Role Model
China Top Ten Most Honorable Volunteer
Most Charismatic Philanthropist of China
China Low Carbon Emission Environmental Protection Top Advocate
China’s Foremost Environmental Preservation Demolition Expert

And yes, they are all listed on his (average sized) business card along with more contact details than you could wish for….and a photo.

All of which carries us seamlessly to the subject of content cramming.

There are people who believe that the more information you share, the more informed your audience will be. On the surface there seems little to argue with here but the Human brain has many amazing qualities including the ability to shut off completely when overloaded. We know that busy slides are a sure fire way of disengaging an audience – if you can’t be bothered to pick out the important bits, why should they be?

Moving on….as mind boggling as his list of achievements is, it’s not immediately apparent what he can do for me. To be fair he does also include his job title (and it’s more informative than some I’ve come across) but by the time I’ve waded through that far I’m not sure that I’m still interested. It’s easy to be dismissive but his egocentric synopsis is exactly the same as using the first four slides of your presentation to introduce yourself, your head office, your executive board and your organisational organogram. You run a real risk of your audience switching off before you get anywhere near the point of your presentation.

Both these mistakes can be avoided by taking the time to understand your audience, if you can give the information they need in a way that they can easily relate to their circumstances, then you’re on the right track. If you can also get under the skin of their motivation and make that the centre of your messaging then you’re onto a winner.

So where does that leave us when it comes to assessing the merits (or otherwise) of this particular rectangle of card? Well I can only say this…if the point of this card was to create an online buzz that got bloggers, experts and pundits talking about it, then success has been achieved. Unfortunately for Chen I can’t help feeling that we weren’t exactly his target audience and that by not taking the time to work out who was and why they might want do business with him; he’s missed a real opportunity.

If any of this strikes a chord with you or (and this one’s purely for our own personal amusement) you have a business card that can rival Chens please get in touch, we love to chat.

Eyeful Welcomes New Project Manager

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 by Justine<

Eyeful Towers has recently welcomed another Eyefulite into the fold. Amy Wesson has joined our Project Management team and is settling into the Eyeful way of life.

Amy has recently returned from a year in Australia so along with a new job she’s also adjusting to our chilly weather.

We caught up with Amy to see if her first couple of weeks have lived up to expectations…

“Everyone has been so welcoming and good humoured in the face of the million questions it feels like I’ve asked them! I love the relaxed atmosphere in the office, it’s all about customer service here – we’re able to give the best of our skills to every customer without having to worry about the mountain of rules and regulations I’ve experienced in previous jobs. It’s a professional environment but it’s a really creative one too and that makes it a refreshing place to work. Eyeful Towers is a great place to work but, for me, a beach view would make it absolutely perfect!”

Our Project Managers are the glue that holds every project together and it’s a role that has occasionally been likened to juggling kittens, but we’re sure that Amy has the skills needed to keep our customers happy.

Welcome Aboard Amy!

Amy