Archive for the ‘General information’ Category

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.

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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

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APMP Audience Reaction

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 by Justine<

A few weeks ago Simon reported on his experience of speaking at the APMP UK conference. Simon mentioned that the audience were both welcoming and knowledgeable, but what did they think of him?

Well we’re pleased to say that the feedback was great and we can rest assured that when it comes to presenting we definitely practice what we preach.

So for those of you considering opting in to one of our training days or wondering exactly what Eyeful can add to your next presentation, here are the opinions of some of the attendees:

“Beautifully articulated, great slides.”

“Very engaging presentation with some very useful advice.”

“Fantastic, great way of looking at the subject.”

“Very useful and engaging – thanks.”

“Good presentation, compellingly delivered.”

And, with one attendee commenting that the only way the session could have been improved was with the addition of a ‘twirling bow tie’ we’re chuffed that the audience grasped our sense of fun too.

Simon shared a lot of new Eyeful thinking, which will be available to all in early 2014 with the publication of The Presentation Lab Book, so there’s no need to wait for the next time he takes the stage to find out more.

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Microsoft Supports ‘Eyeful Power’

Thursday, October 24th, 2013 by Simon<

When our chums at Microsoft were looking for a small (but perfectly formed) business to demonstrate how to win customers and then turn them into evangalists, they came a-knockin’ on doors of Eyeful Towers.

Microsoft Talking Business - Eyeful Presentations

Looks like our reputation for looking after customers large and small is making a bit of a splash.  Nice…

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Eyeful – (Officially) Smarta Than The Average Bear…

Friday, October 11th, 2013 by Simon<

There’s a very happy and proud bunch of Eyefulites bouncing around the halls of Eyeful Towers at the moment.  Honestly, the chirpy whistling and happy chuckles are echoing around the place…

And here’s for why – a very lovely and unexpected e-mail from those nice people at Smarta:

Smarta and O2 proudly announce that Eyeful Presentations is a winner of the 2013 Smarta 100, together with O2, and named among the 100 most innovative, disruptive and resourceful small businesses in the UK right now.

For those of you that might have missed it, previous winners of Smarta 100 include Naked Wines, Huddle, Funding Circle, Graze and Zoopla…all extraordinary names to be associated with.

Wowzer…what next?

Well, this is where you come in.  We need your votes to push up to the top of the pile and walk away with the gong (we know just the place for it in the office) – simply click below to register your vote (by doing so, you can wallow in the knowledge that you’re helping a very hard working bunch of people get one step closer to the biggest party London has seen since the Olympics).

S100_Winner

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Go Lloyd!

Monday, October 7th, 2013 by Justine<

With the Leicester Marathon rapidly approaching our brave runner (and superstar project coordinator) Lloyd Carter is on the final countdown.

Next Sunday he will be setting out in aid of The Teenage Cancer Trust and trying to beat his 2012 time of 3 hours 38 minutes.

Lloyd has already shared his thoughts on the agony of running the marathon itself but as the preparation ramps up we just wanted him to know that we’re all supporting him.

Despite a niggling knee injury Lloyd is upbeat about his chances of conquering the course and is very much looking forward to a couple of days of carb loading (which definitely sounds like my sort of exercise regime)!

Sponsoring Lloyd is an easy, simply click through this link to donate.

 

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When Is A Presentation Not A Presentation?

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 by Justine<

The quick response is ‘when there are no slides’ but we don’t agree with that at all. We’ve been banging on about the power of stories for a while now but this week gave us an unexpected and, if we’re honest, unwanted opportunity to prove our point.

Monday’s Autumn sales webinar was planned with the level of pernickety perfectionism that we’re (in)famous for here at Eyeful. We’d given the whole thing the same love and attention we give to customer projects, identifying key messages, building our storyflow then developing and scripting the story itself before creating the slides that bought the visual element to life.

Then just as our eager attendees were logging in for some sales enlightenment, the tech gremlins stuck – we could see our lovely slides but our audience couldn’t, and no amount of frantic button pressing at our end made the slightest bit of difference.

Many great presenters have faced similar issues and our intrepid MD Simon Morton wasn’t about to let this hiccup derail the whole enterprise, after all, if we’re right and the story is more important than the slides, it wouldn’t matter at all.

Or would it??

As someone who regularly gets sucked into the murky world of metrics I’m rarely impressed with statistics but here’s one that I’m very proud to share: only 2 attendees left the webinar when it became apparent that we were unable to placate the gremlins.

Any presenter would consider that a successful event, but when it comes to demonstrating the importance of stories it’s a resounding endorsement of our belief in the concept of ‘Stories Not Slides’.

Just to put the icing on the cake of this particular bout of smugness, the webinar was repeated later in the day and the tech gremlins were nowhere to be seen, yet all the complimentary emails received at Eyeful Towers were from attendees of the earlier session…..

And if that’s not food for thought on how a presentation can engage an audience through strength of story alone, I don’t know what is.

For the sceptics amongst you, here is the webinar in full.

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Why Apple always make an impact

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 by Justine<

This week is a big one for Apple. Yesterday they released iOS7 into the ether and tomorrow sees the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C go on sale in the UK.

But the products themselves are not the exciting part for us here at Eyeful.

Whatever you think of Apple products, it can’t be denied that when it comes to creating and sustaining a buzz about what they’re doing, Apple leave the competition far behind.

Apple products are distinctive but that’s not the secret, the secret lies in how Apple presents those products to the world. Apple have moved from niche market innovators to mass market providers by knowing and growing their audience.

There have been glitches along the way and even the late, great, Steve Jobs has contended with audiences that were less than enamoured with his message. But overall Apple has kept their audience on side by knowing what they want and communicating with them in a way they respond to.

Apple product launches have become events in themselves, they appear seamless and unforced but it has been well documented that behind the scenes it’s a different story. Every technical part of the show has a back-up for its back-up and every word and action is rehearsed and rehearsed before the audience even knows the event is taking place.

Apple uses a very simple presentation formula: the product, the presenter, the slideshow and the audience.

There are very few people who would refuse the opportunity to make the sort of presentation impact that Apple does, indeed many have tried to emulate them and failed because the simplicity of it all can be intimidating.

But just like the production, the simplicity of the presentation belies its true nature.

You might think that as a presentation design company we’re about to have a five minute rant on how much more exciting the slides could be, but you couldn’t be more wrong. The slides are the least important part of the presentation, without a powerful, engaging story and a presenter who knows what they’re doing the slides would be useless, however visually fantastic they were.

The thing is we’re not just a presentation design company, we’re a presentation consultancy company too. We help our customers get right down to the heart of their proposition and understand their audience because that’s how engaging stories are born, the slides that tell those stories are simply a means to an end.

Apple demonstrates to everyone just what a difference this approach can make and you don’t need a multi million pound budget to achieve it either, just a little Eyeful expertise can make all the difference.

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*Other Search Engines Are Available

Friday, September 6th, 2013 by Justine<

It useful to give things names, ‘kettle’ is so much more convenient than ‘that thing you put water in, that makes the water boil when you switch it on’.

But occasionally a name becomes more than a way of identifying something; sometimes it takes on a life of its own.

For a people this can be something of a double edged sword, I doubt that either Heath Robinson or Fred Karno would be thrilled to know that their names have been forever connected with over complication and ineptitude. But when it comes to brands the story is very different.

There are a select few brands names that have not only become synonymous with their use but also successfully shed their capital letter and made the transition to dictionary term.

Originally named the ‘The Electric Suction Sweeper Company’, Hoover were not the first company to design or patent a vacuum cleaner – in fact they were almost 50 years behind the pioneers – but they were the first company to take their product into the mass market and engage with an audience that needed their product. Precisely when and why people stopped vacuuming with a Hoover and started hoovering is lost in the mists of time but the terminology persists. We all know it’s called a vacuum cleaner but we’ll refer to it as hoover, whatever brand it may be.

This phenomenon is also home to some notable companies that almost made the cut, Xerox was very close to replacing the word ‘copy’ in offices around the globe when the company themselves launched a campaign to stop this happening and, in light of where I’m going with this, I can’t think of a single reason why.

For the stationery obsessed among us (and I accept this could just be me) ‘post-it’ and ‘sharpie’ currently stand on the cusp of greatness. In my world things are mended with superglue, cut with a stanley knife and stuck with sellotape – yet all these things are still trademarks.

These products have not been randomly chosen through the fickleness of human nature for this elevated level of brand awareness. They’ve achieved this honour by following the simplest of rules, they’ve all successfully identified, communicated and addressed a need.

But whatever these companies have achieved there’s one that overshadows them, there’s a real giant in this category and that’s why we’re here – Google*.

Google is a company that stands out from the crowd in an area that didn’t even exist 20 years ago. Their market leading search engine turns 16 next week, not old enough to drink, smoke, drive, or vote across most of the globe but already one of the most recognised brands around.

Like Hoover they weren’t the first but like all the others mentioned here, they were the company that identified a simple, accessible, solution that worked for their audience.

Google said ‘we know what you need and this is how we can make it happen’– The result? Google isn’t just a company we’ve heard of, or a resource we use, it’s a thing we do.

We’re sorry to say that we don’t have the secret to achieving this, if we did you might be spending this afternoon enjoying an ‘eyeful’ from a potential supplier (which is a double entendre too far for anyone). What we do have is the expertise to help you connect with your customers, clearly and engagingly and that’s where it all starts.

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Lloyd takes on the Leicester Marathon

Monday, September 2nd, 2013 by Justine<

As regular readers will know we recently adopted The Teenage Cancer Trust as our partner charity.

While most of us have been focussing on maximising cake based charity opportunities one of our project coordinators has put us all to shame.

Lloyd Carter has signed up for this year’s Leicester Marathon and on October 13th he will be giving his all to raise as much as possible for our charity.

As proud as we are that he’s signed on the dotted line, we did have a couple of burning questions when it came to why…..

Lloyd first ran a marathon last year but was no stranger to life on the hoof

“I had always done a bit of cross country running and quite enjoyed it so, when my waistline started to indicate that life was treating me a little too well I decided to put in some extra miles.

Marathon running seemed an obvious progression, I enjoyed the training and it was an excellent way to justify an extra pudding now and again!”

Lloyd successfully ran the London Marathon in 2012 but apparently failed to scratch the itch and also ran the Leicester Marathon a few months later.

So Lloyd, what is so great about running a marathon that makes you want to do it a third time?

“Nothing. There is nothing great about actually running a marathon. It’s horrific. Its hours of mental and physical torture disguised as arduous repetition. It’s the worst combination of suffering and boredom imaginable but I love the training and being completely in control of achieving such a milestone is an amazing feeling.

The build-up is exciting and I thrive on having such a solid goal to work towards. And once I have finished the race the euphoria is amazing, it makes the horror of the actual running completely disappear, it’s a personal achievement like no other and raising money for charity makes it even better.”

The good news is that we can all experience the benefits of anticipation, goal achievement and universal loveliness (without any of the horrors of running) by sponsoring Lloyd in one of the following blister free ways:

Just Giving – click here to donate.

Text giving – to donate £10 text LCEP99 £10 to 70070 – to donate £5 text LCEP99 £5 to 70070

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