Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

All hail the weather presenters (pun intended)

Thursday, February 14th, 2013 by Simon<

There’s no doubt us Brits are a little obsessed with the weather.  From slavishly watching reports on impending snow-based gridlock to the fervent prayers for a summer with at least some sun, we’re hooked.

This puts the lowly weather presenter under a lot of pressure.  They need to clearly and succinctly share a lot of potentially technical information with their audience.  Their audience will all have slightly different agendas/interests depending on where they live or their travel plans.  Oh, and they need to do this day in, day out (on the hour in the mornings!) so keeping it fresh and engaging is also important.

A tough gig for any presenter…so how do they do it?

Spookily they rely on the 3 key facets of effective presenting that form the basis of our Presentation Optimisation methodology:

  • A clear message
  • The right content
  • Powerful and valuable visuals

Each and every weather forecast starts and finishes with the big message – it’s either going to be rainy, sunny, changeable…  Whatever the forecast, the message is delivered in such a way that the audience knows how exactly the weather is going to impact them (and whether packing an umbrella will prove to be a good idea).

That message is then supported by a level of content that demonstrates how and why the weather is behaving in a particular way.  As an audience, we nod sagely at talk of high pressures coming in from the east but the truth is that this content is shared to merely back up the important message (in the case of the UK, it’s going to rain).  Adding extraneous content merely gets in the way and runs the risk of confusing the message.

To push it over the line, TV presenters use visuals to demonstrate the key message.

The presentation genius of the weather guys and gals is here for all to see – rather than overly complex graphics of isobars and other meteorological clutter, they use simple icons* to help deliver the overarching message – it’s going to rain, don’t forget your umbrella. Visually, less is more when delivering a simple message.

Now apply this thinking to your business presentation…

Do you have a clear message?  Are you running the risk of confusing or reducing the impact of the message by cluttering up the presentation with content you simply don’t need?  Are your visuals helping you clearly deliver on your message or there to justify your content (hint – it should be the former).

Get this right and you’re on the road to what we call Presentation Optimisation…and a more engaged informed audience.

* It’s interesting to note that the BBC received a lot of grumpy letters and e-mails a few years ago when they moved away from their super simple weather icons to a more animated version.  If the animation is getting in the way of delivering a clear message (a la over engineered PowerPoint, Keynote and Prezi presentations), you run the risk of terminally confusing your audience.

Share and Share Alike

Monday, January 23rd, 2012 by Justine<

It would have been hard for any internet user to have missed the current controversy regarding file sharing. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) which are currently being considered by the US Congress have got a lot of knickers in a variety of interminable twists.

To cut a long story short (and delicately skirt around the intricate legalities) there is concern that if the legislation goes through a lot of the information that is currently freely available on the internet will become illegal and (possibly) disappear.


The internet inspires ideas, direction and content – all things that are vital to the creation of effective presentations.

At Eyeful we have always shared with the World, passing on information that has inspired us and helping to promote the sort of creativity that gets us excited.

Whether this sort of community spirit will become illegal remains to be seen…. but it will be a sad day at Eyeful Towers if it does.

To continue my grossly oversimplified version of events this will be a complete pain in the rear end.


If your search engine can only take you to information that has been uploaded by someone who understands every piece of possibly relevant legislation and has followed it to the letter, internet inspiration will be very skinny indeed.


You’re playing all the right notes…

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 by Simon<

Summertime in the UK means, amongst many things, countless repeats on TV.

Now we’re not the sort of business to grumble.  Indeed, sometimes the repeats on TV can be rather refreshing, such as the rerun of the classic Morecambe & Wise sketch with Andre Previn.

In this classic sketch, Eric utters the immortal line “I’m playing all the right notes…but not necessarily in the right order” (scroll through to 5:00 to jump to this…although we’d recommend enjoying the entire sketch).

All very amusing but what’s this comedy gold got to do with presentations?

Here at Eyeful we’re often called into companies to “rescue” their presentations.

As you can imagine, this can be a bit of a sensitive one to manage – despite their best intentions, the stakeholders in the business are bemused by the failure of their carefully honed presentation.

They worked hard – sweating over each bullet point, making sure all bases were covered in terms of hard facts and technical specifications and even passing it over to their design company to make the slides look pretty.

Yet the presentation failed to hit the mark.  Why?

Just like a piece of music, a presentation needs to flow and connect with an audience.  This requires a cohesive message and a strong structure to allow it to move forward elegantly.

If you think of your presentation CONTENT as MUSICAL NOTES, it all becomes obvious.

In music, it’s often as much about which notes you take out as what you leave in – too many notes just creates a noise.  Much the same goes for presentations – too much “freeform content” will detract from the message.

To quote Charles Mingus:

“Anyone can make the simple complicated.  Creativity is making the complicated simple”.

Next time you’re creating a presentation, think of Eric at the piano facing an exasperated “Andrew Preview” – are all your “musical notes” necessary?  If so, are they in an order that will appeal to your audience?

We Love “The Onion”

Sunday, July 24th, 2011 by Simon<

You’ve got to love “The Onion“, the news source with it’s tongue firmly in it’s satirical cheek…

From the frankly shocking “Project Manager leaves suicide PowerPoint” report from back in 2005 to the more recent “Wow Factor Added to Corporate Presentation” scandal, they’ve always raised a smile here at Eyeful Towers.

So imagine our excitement when they combined both PowerPoint AND Infographics:


Amidst the outbreak of wry smiling and knowing nods, it raises an important point.

We’ve ranted on about the overuse of wild animation in the past (this Toy Story 3 inspired entry is well worth a read) and implore users of PowerPoint, Keynote and especially Prezi to approach with caution.

That said, I’m off to work on the double-ripple dissolve transition.

Nice idea, chaps…

Our Matt – BBC Radio 1 Superstar DJ!

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 by Simon<

One of the longest standing members of the Eyeful gang is “Audio Producer/PowerPoint Technician Matt“.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen Matt turn his hand to all manner of fancy new presentation technologies.  When it comes to presentation re-purposing options, this man is in a class of his own…

Throughout this time, he’s managed to maintain his passion for audio production and broadcasting.  This makes sense when you realise that in a previous life, Matt was a broadcaster of some repute working with a wide range of radio stations and production houses. 

Once a radio geek, always a radio geek…

So you can imagine the excitement at Eyeful Towers when news came through that Matt had been asked to go to BBC Radio 1 to contribute to a live evening show. 

Like proud parents, the Eyeful gang waved Matt off as he travelled down to the “big smoke” to experience both the excitement of presenting to a nation and the taste of the infamous BBC coffee. 

Here’s what happened…

Our Matt at BBC Radio 1

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Matt…we’re proud of you!

It must be silly season again – the BBC on PowerPoint Presentations

Monday, September 27th, 2010 by Simon<

Let me set my stall out early – I love the BBC.

I admire its reason for being (ref. Lord Reith – to educate, inform and entertain), am a fan of much of its output and am proud that a big chunk of the planet turns to the BBC World Service when they want the news. 

I do, however, have one beef.  The lazy, easy swiping of PowerPoint.  It would seem all you have to do is mention Microsoft’s PowerPoint to an editor with 2 minutes to fill and they’ll launch into a knee-jerk attack on the software.  

BBC video

Sadly, as in this example, the Beeb’s attack on PowerPoint won’t be based on any real understanding of the issues facing people using the software – a lack of planning, a misunderstanding on how and when to use it or, possibly more importantly, the ingrained cultural issues around the software in some large organisations. 

Nope – they’ll simply drone on using their favourite phrase, “Death by PowerPoint”, to attempt to form some empathy with the audience and then launch into the next 90 seconds of trivial clips of people falling into a coma in a lecture theatre or meeting room.  It’s not only rather patronising…it’s lazy.

So come on BBC – next time you report on PowerPoint (and yes, I implore you to – it’s far from perfect), engage the brain and think bigger. 

Offer ideas and examples of how it’s delivered ideas in a clear and impactful way (the majority of TED talks include the odd slide or 2), demonstrate how the quality of presentations has improved over the years (just look at the news graphics from 10 years ago as your own proof point) and celebrate how audiences have changed in line with the technology…and vice versa.

Oh, and whilst you’re at it, give us a call.  The last slides I saw delivered by a BBC employee were diabolical.