Archive for the ‘Presentation Skills’ Category

The Curse of the Conference Call

Thursday, 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

Tuesday, 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…

Wednesday, 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

Tuesday, 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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Sales & Marketing Presentation Secrets Revealed

Monday, 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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Inside Eyeful Labs

Wednesday, 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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Because We Love CPD Presentations…..

Friday, June 20th, 2014 by Justine<

We admit to being eternal tinkerers here at Eyeful, we are more than happy to put in an extra bit of effort to make sure that every customer presentation is as effective as it can be, partly because happy customers are important, but also because it bugs the life out of us when it isn’t.

But the tinkering doesn’t stop there; we just can’t help ourselves when it comes to our website either and we’re so excited about our latest round of updates that we’ve decided to release a small part of it early to give you a taste of what’s to come.

We’ll soon be launching new pages for Sales & Marketing Presentations, Event Presentations, Internal and Technical Presentations but first of all there’s loads of new stuff about our old friend, CPD Presentations.

As the only specialist presentation company that has a dedicated CPD consultant, it’s a subject that’s very close to our hearts.

We’ve long had a great relationship with RIBA and have shared our thoughts on effective CPD presentations through their website and by speaking at their events but we know that there are many more people out there struggling to hit the right balance with CPD presentations.

In the past we’ve likened getting CPD presentations right to experiencing a low flying Spitfire and lamented the lack of love that they tend to receive, and now we’ve righted some of those wrongs by giving them a whole section of our website.

We’ll keep you updated as other exciting stuff comes online but if you’d like to chat to us about CPD (or indeed any other kind of) presentations simply get in touch and we’ll be happy to demonstrate just how pernickety we can be!

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Surviving (and Thriving) in Business

Friday, May 16th, 2014 by Justine<

There’s been a bit of a buzz around Eyeful Towers this week surrounding the TV phenomenon that is The Island with Bear Grylls.

Bear is well known for his extreme survival shows but this is about 13 ordinary blokes who have been left on a desert island for a month with 6 knives, minimal survival training and, it would seem, very little common sense.

Fortunately for the debate about which of us would make it through, the website for the show includes a quiz that aims to demonstrate whether you would survive or thrive, and finding out which of us could cut the mustard has revealed some interesting stuff.

Aside from the revelation that some of us would fail to even survive (and are glad of the opportunity to find this out without ever having to consider our own toe nails as a source of protein), the show and the quiz got me thinking; if the modern life leaves you ill equipped for survival, is there any place for survival skills in modern life?

When faced with an important survival decision, experts use the acronym S.T.O.P. (Stop, Think, Orientate and Plan) and it occurred to me that this was not so far removed from the advice we give our customers when it comes to creating an engaging presentation. Also, while I have no evidence to support the hypothesis that a poor presentation ever resulted in anyone starving to death, the quality of your presentation can make a difference to whether your business simply survives or continues to thrive.

The ability to capture, kill and cook a Caiman crocodile isn’t going to make a great difference in a modern business environment but the ability to capture, engage and influence an audience certainly will.

And that’s where we can help.

We happen to know a thing or two about the importance of understanding your audience and can offer some great ideas about how to communicate in the ever changing presentation landscape, we can even train you to be more savvy when it comes to the technical side of designing and delivering your presentation.

Any one of the team here at Eyeful can help you create a presentation that will enable your business to thrive, but if you need to take one of us to a dessert island for survival support you’ll need to choose wisely!

the island

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Join us at The Presentation SuperSummit

Friday, May 9th, 2014 by Justine<

SuperSummit is a new online platform designed to allow busy professionals to attend the type of event that they’d love to have time for without ever having to leave their desks.

To celebrate their international launch they have brought together the world’s leading presentation and public speaking gurus for a Presentation SuperSummit and our MD Simon Morton will be among the illustrious speakers.

Simon will be taking attendees ‘Inside The Presentation Lab’ at 16.00 on Wednesday 14th May as part of a week long programme that includes 18 sessions all aimed at improving your presentations.

The list of speakers during the week includes: Peter Arvai, CEO & CoFounder of Prezi; one of the biggest presentation platforms with 50 million users. Amit Ranjan, CoFounder of SlideShare; the no.1 platform for users to upload and share publicly or privately, PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and Adobe PDF Portfolios. Jeremy Donovan, Group Vice President of Marketing at Gartner Inc. and author of Amazon’s no.1 bestseller “How to Deliver a TED Talk” and Bill Hoogterp, Founder of Own The Room whose clients include Sheryl Sandberg and Reid Hoffman.

Unlike a traditional summit, attendance is free and you’re able to easily cherry pick the sessions that you’d like to hear.

No transport to organise, no hotel to book and no cost means there’s no excuse not to join in….

Click here to find out more.

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Spam Strikes Again

Monday, March 10th, 2014 by Justine<

Having a successful blog brings its own rewards, but there is a downside too.

Spammers love a comments box and trawling through nonsensical comments to find the genuine ones is a daily tribulation. As I’ve mooted before spam does have its uses and recent spamming trends have highlighted another way in which it can help us all be better presenters.

To be fair some of the gobbledegook is quite amusing and I now have an encyclopaedic knowledge of where to buy a wide variety of pharmaceuticals, niche pornography and ‘replica’ designer goods. This, in turn, has given me a handy social barometer in that should I ever be called upon to access this bank of information, I’ll know it’s time to get my coat.

Most of these spam comments are high on enthusiasm and extraordinarily low on punctuation and grammar, but there is one spam message that appears again and again like a horror film villain that refuses to lie down on the off chance of a sequel.

This particular miscreant believes itself to be a master of disguise but for anyone used to filtering this sort of nonsense it’s easy to spot, here’s an excerpt for the un-initiated:

 

{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more

than {three|3|2|4} hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.{It’s|It is} pretty worth enough for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my view}, if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made good content as you did, the {internet|net|web} will be {much more|a lot more} useful than ever before.|

I {couldn’t|could not} {resist|refrain from} commenting.{Very well|Perfectly|Well|Exceptionally well} written!|

{I will|I’ll} {right away|immediately} {take hold of|grab|clutch|grasp|seize|snatch}

your {rss|rss feed} as I {can not|can’t} {in finding|find|to find} your {email|e-mail} subscription {link|hyperlink} or{newsletter|e-newsletter} service. Do {you have|you’ve} any?

{Please|Kindly} {allow|permit|let} me {realize|recognize|understand|recognise|know} {so that|in

order that} I {may just|may|could} subscribe. Thanks.|

{It is|It’s} {appropriate|perfect|the best} time to make some plans for the future and {it is|it’s} time to be happy. {I have|I’ve} read this post and if I could I {want to|wish to|desire to} suggest you {few|some} interesting things or {advice|suggestions|tips}.

 

As you can see there is some scope for personalisation here but no amount of ‘delete as applicable’ can disguise its true nature and because some spammers can’t even be bothered with that, I can tell you that in its pre personalisation entirety it runs to an impressive 1858 words.

I’m sure that this format can lead to thousands of permutations, but I can state with confidence that they are all as rubbish, formulaic and soul destroying as each other.

It all amounts to a lot of effort that communicates nothing and singularly fails to achieve its goal – in this case my pressing of the ‘approve comment’ button.

This is, of course, my cue to segue gracefully into the subject at hand, presentations in general and more specifically the dangers of sticking to what you know.

Here at Eyeful we’ve seen thousands and thousands of presentations and we know that presentations of the insert name/company/product genre are still alive and kicking (until we get our hands on them that is).

A presentation that you’ve been using for years is not the same as a successful presentation. And a presentation that is almost identical to your competitors is even worse.

Audiences are savvier than ever and business is much more competitive. Your potential customers will know exactly what your competitors are offering and your presentation needs to show them exactly why they should spend their money with you.

Presentation software and hardware has moved forward in leaps and bounds and there is no excuse for relying on old formats or wasting valuable resource on the latest tech just because it looks good.

Fortunately for business everywhere we’ve got some tricks up our sleeve that can help your presentation stand out from the crowd. Presentation Optimisation is a proven way of creating presentations that have real impact and Blended Presenting can help you make connections like never before. There’s also technical PowerPoint and soft skills training and The Presentation Lab Book to get your presentation juices flowing.

Sales pitch over, this is the real world and there’s no point spending time and money fixing something that just ain’t broke. Which is why we’re always happy to provide a free* Presentation Healthcheck to anyone interested in what we do.

We know that floating in a vast sea of mediocre presentations there are a few things of real beauty and if your presentation already shines we’ll send you on your way with a gold star and a pat on the back.

So, if you’re worried that your presentation might have a certain spamminess or that your presentation delivery might not be as good as your competitors them drop us a line and we’ll help you connect with your audience in a way that insures their approval.

Presentation healthcheck

*completely and utterly free of charge and obligation – like free things used to be.

 

 

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