Posts Tagged ‘Keynote’

Eyeful iBook Goes Live

Monday, June 18th, 2012 by Justine<

We have often waxed lyrical in this blog about our frustrations when it comes to presenting on the iPad. But sitting back moaning and waiting for someone else to come up with a solution has never been the Eyeful way.

This, coupled with our unfailing belief that any piece of technology is only as good as the operator meant that we had to step up to the plate.

Our initial research bought us into contact with some really interesting people (which we’ll tell you more about very soon) and some useful software and insider tips.

So we’ve been subjecting our iPad to some considerable poking, prodding and swiping and accompanied it with just the right level of swearing, incredulity and optimism in order to shape it into the presentation tool that we always knew it could be.

The main challenges were (as always) self-set – we wanted to exploit the maximum functionality of both the iPad and Keynote along with all the other juicy elements that make up our Blended Presenting approach (video, PDFs…the list goes on).  At the start of our journey it seemed almost impossible but fortunately that has never been an off-putting factor here at Eyeful and we stuck to our brief until we had conquered it.

Once the final full stop was added we passed our fully formed and very fancy looking iBook around the office.  There’s no getting away from it – we were very much impressed with our little selves but it wasn’t until we started showing our customers that it really started to make waves.

The feedback on the Eyeful iBook has been amazing and its sparking real interest from companies who were beginning to feel that their iPad investment was failing them.

The excitement is such that we have decided to offer our regular blogistas the chance to have a peek, if you’re interested please drop us a line and we’ll send you a link.

Whether you’re nosey enough to email or not, it’s worth noting that as a way of sharing information across sales teams and engaging with customers and prospects the  iPad  is finally starting to live up to its full potential.

 

From Russia With Love – Should Western Presenters Be Worried..?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 by Simon<

I recently returned from a visit to our Russian office (http://www.eyefulpresentations.ru).  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting up with our growing band of Russian customers a few times recently but this last trip was special in a number of different ways.

Firstly because I think the trip was proof positive that our Presentation OptimisationTM methodology has truly become international.  Over the years we’ve made no bones about how it has successfully supported our customers in the UK, US and Europe…but Russia is a different proposition completely and yet it STILL works.

How is it different?

Well of course there are the obvious things – the language (one I think I will always struggle to comprehend – thank God for the power of finger pointing accompanied with a smile), the frankly incomprehensible (to me at least) Cyrillic alphabet and, most importantly, the business culture.

Russia, along with much of Eastern Europe, is gripped with an enviable entrepreneurial zeal.  Their collective hunger for development and engagement is everywhere but perhaps no more obvious at the local business school.  I was privileged to be asked to speak to an audience made up of MBA students and perhaps the most remarkable thing was the type of questions I was asked at the end of the talk.

I’m used to questions that pit PowerPoint vs. other slideware or ask for my views on the use of tablet PCs as part of the sales presentation process.  The questions I was asked after the seminar were a little more disarming:

Why bother presenting on screen at all?  Why not just talk through a brochure?

Why are bullet points so bad?

These fundamental questions were then followed up with more tech-savvy questions:

How do I use presentations to support our social media strategy?

What impact has The Cloud had on presenting in other areas of the World?

In short, Russia has skipped a step in it’s business presentation development.

The good news is that they have a very good chance of skipping that awful “Death by PowerPoint” phase that has dogged Western businesses for the last decade and actually jumping straight to the stage enjoyed by only a few enlightened companies in the West.  That is, the use of business presentations to deliver focused, engaging messages in an effective and memorable fashion on the audiences’ terms.

Reviewing the presentation projects we’ve completed to date makes for an interesting statistic.  Over 80% of the PowerPoint projects we have worked in Russia have included “repurposing” to other formats like Flash or Video with voiceover.  This is not the norm in the West and, to me, points to a thinking that is unencumbered with the incessant corporate PowerPoint prejudices we hear so much about in Europe and the US:

In Russia, they want their messages to engage with their audience whenever and wherever they may be.

In the West, we’re still debating which template to use.

So ultimately I’m left excited about Russian business people and their willingness to learn and try new things.  My original fears that Presentation OptimisationTM couldn’t travel have been disproved by their open-minded approach and entrepreneurial spirit – check out this post workhop interview as a living example.

My concluding point references a recent quote from LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner who said the following:

“Presentations are one of the main ways in which professionals capture and share their experiences and knowledge, which in turn helps shape their professional identity”

The willingness of the Russian market to understand and respond to the value of good business presentations is more in line with this thinking that the majority of business presenters in the West.  This thinking, coupled with entrepreneurial passion, should have a few in the West worried.

Now is the time to step out of the “old way” and re-think your presentation strategy…before an overseas competitor does it for you.


Another bite of the same Apple…..

Monday, March 12th, 2012 by Justine<

Before I go any further I think it’s only fair to state that I personally am continually underwhelmed by the iPad.

It has not even scratched the surface of laptop functionality and has consistently failed to be the business tool it promised. Not only that, but the continued rollercoaster of promise and disappointment, is rapidly becoming the bane of this particular bloggers keyboard. We want a portable tablet that supports widely used business software with an intuitive interface. What we have had so far in my (slightly jaded) opinion is:

iPad - a huge iPhone with inferior graphics and interface that doesn’t make calls or take pictures.

iPad2 – a huge iPhone with inferior graphics and interface that doesn’t make calls.

new iPad  (not 3) – a huge iPhone that doesn’t make calls.

Even I will agree that there has been progress and, indeed, Eyeful has been at the forefront of getting the most from the iPad. But I’m still gobsmacked by the response every time Apple launch (or even threaten to launch) another itineration. The build-up to the ‘new iPad’ was phenomenal; speculation was rife to the point where even if the new iPad had been able to cook, clean and make a cup of tea, someone, somewhere would have been disappointed.

Post launch even the most ardent Apple-istas seem to be struggling to hide their disappointment behind the Retina Display hyperbole.  But hold on one moment – I think I have identified the key plus point. The launch of the new iPad  has reduced the retail price of the iPad2 – so cheer up everyone, if you fancy an iPad2 you’re now one step closer to getting what you’ve paid for.

Office for iPad – The debate continues

Friday, February 24th, 2012 by Justine<

Whilst on one of his regular cyber trawls our MD Simon Morton has decided to pitch in to the Office for iPad debate. We’ve been keeping a keen eye on this for a while now as the story continues to unfold (or not) like a 1950’s espionage paperback. In fact, since Simons post the plot has thickened further still.

Whatever your view on the claims, counterclaims, rumour and denials the more cynical amongst us may be starting to whiff the very merest hint of an astonishing ‘treat ‘em mean and keep ‘em keen’ maketing ploy…..

The article that prompted Simon to contribute can be found through this link but in many ways his response speaks for itself.

As a company of presentation geeks, we’re watching this one with interest…here’s why:

When Apple released the iPad, there was a huge amount of hype and anticipation around how this new technology would revolutionise the way business people would present information to each other.  In many people’s minds, gone were the days of Death by PowerPoint as we used this fancy new technology that would allow people to interact with the presentation in a non-linear fashion.

Then Apple released the Keynote app…

Nothing short of awful.

Yes, it was cheap but the lack of functionality coupled with dire integration with the most basic of PowerPoint files (which, despite protestations from the Apple crowd, remains the presentation weapon of choice for the vast majority of the corporate world) meant that the expensive toy with so much potential was left wanting.

Simple elements such as “custom shows” were not supported – the net result was many business people were simply moving Death by PowerPoint to a new, less flexible platform.

The failings of the Keynote on the app resulted in the release of a gazillion “PowerPoint readers” for the iPad.  The vast majority of which are awful (trust us – we’ve tried them all…).

At this point, Microsoft have a choice:

1. They can snigger behind their hands and laugh at how their users are trying to escape them but keep getting foiled because Apple hasn’t created an app with the functionality they deserve to make the most out of the technology everyone has rushed out like lemmings to buy.

2. As Kit explains beautifully, they can wake up and see an opportunity to steal some of the thunder from their competitor by creating a series of apps that REALLY work for the business community.  Who would own the customer’s heart & head then..?  The hardware manufacturer or the app developer?  My money’s on the latter.

Let’s hope they go for option 2 – we could then finally see the revolution in business presenting that has long been needed.

 

 

PowerPoint iPad App? Tech Concorde

Monday, December 5th, 2011 by Justine<

Whispers have emerged this week that Microsoft is planning a release of their Office suite as a series of apps for the iPad.

The initial reaction at Eyeful Towers is easily summed up as ‘and about time too’!

The iPad is THE tablet device and despite the best efforts of its competitors the iPad is de rigueur for the mobile business community.  It’s remained steadfastly immune to its own limitations.

So this has all the hallmarks of a win-win situation for Apple, Microsoft and most importantly for those of us that have always been in the middle of their corporate manoeuvrings.

But let’s not forget that there may be casualties as well. Many iPad users have adopted the likes of Keynote, Prezi, Brainshark and SlideRocket in an effort to get the most from their iPad investment.   If Office Apps really are on the horizon, they may be facing some choppy waters in the days ahead.

It is possible for two giants with different cultures to collaborate effectively?

The British and the French built Concorde without even agreeing on the unit of measurement on the plans. The Brits built their parts using imperial measurements whilst the French used metric – and the whole thing fitted together to give the world its only supersonic airliner (a feat cited by NASA boffins as harder than putting a man on the moon).

(As you know by now I love to stretch an analogy as far as it will go and I think this one will go the distance).

Concorde was not grounded because of a failed collaboration or even because of a dreadful accident. Concorde was grounded because no one could work out how to use it properly in the modern world, because it was inefficient and expensive when compared to video conferencing and because there is no place for extravagance without specific returns.

There is no point celebrating this collaboration of behemoths if all it produces is a gazillion versions of Death by PowerPoint so let’s see this as a chance to turn over a new page and use this opportunity to its full potential.

 

Getting Your Message Across – Is Technology The Answer?

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 by Simon<

Technology is a funny old thing – it can be used both as a force for good (the internet and the wonders of Google) and a force for evil (phone hacking and old “friends” contacting you via Facebook).

Much the same can be said for our old friend, PowerPoint – in the right hands, it’s a force for good (engaging, informative presentations) or a force for evil (Death by PowerPoint* anyone?).

* For the uninitiated, Death by PowerPoint is where audiences are bombarded with slide after slide of meandering messages delivered via bullet point after bullet point – in many ways, it’s similar to Death by Water Torture but not as much fun.

Despite the fine balance between good and bad, we continue to embrace technology in all aspects of our life, sometimes blindly.  In an attempt to stand out and differentiate ourselves or simply find a plausible excuse to play with a new “toy”, the world of presentations is bombarded with new technology.

On an almost weekly basis, the Eyeful studio is sent shiny new software promising to “change the face of business presenting technology”.  These innovations break down into 3 distinct groups:

The vast majority sit in the “so what?” category.

In our opinion, re-inventing PowerPoint or Keynote with little additional functionality makes little sense yet companies across the World continue to beaver away in their labs!

A smaller number sit in the “great idea…but how would you ever use it?” category.

Prezi (http://prezi.com) is a great example of this – it’s a slick, interactive and highly animated way of sharing information that, on the surface, looks great.  Unfortunately, as soon as you take it out of the studio and start using it with business audiences, the cracks start to appear.

Compatibility is an issue, maintaining a corporate look is painful and the high level of animation brings on waves of nausea in the audience.  No matter how bad your PowerPoint presentation, we wager it’s never resulted in the audience vomiting!

Sadly, by far the smallest group is made up of innovations that can be used effectively out in the field.

They can be simple – for example, a tool that allows you to convert a presentation into a web-friendly Flash format with voiceover so that your audience can view your presentation again when the time is right (consider it your own corporate iPlayer!).

Of course, they can also be sexy

The sleek lines and clever technology behind the iPad and similar tablet PCs may set the heart beating faster but sadly their effectiveness as a presentation tool is limited.

In terms of tablet PCs, our advice is to proceed with extreme caution – engaging presentations can be delivered via the iPad but only after some extensive tweaking!  Don’t fall into the trap of equipping your team with expensive technology until you know it’s going to deliver the results you need (or at least spoken to us to understand the limitations!).

And finally, some of the innovations can be blindingly obvious!

For example, some of the new features in PowerPoint 2010 (conversion to video, chapter settings, animation format painting) were long overdue and poorly explained.

However, as with all good things in life, once you start using them, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them.

In short, the world of presentation is awash with technology.

Some innovations will support you in engaging and communicating effectively with your audience…however the majority will simply get in the way and, at worst, confuse and bemuse.

The key is to understand what you are looking to achieve and only then start browsing the web for relevant software or gadgets.

Whilst tempting, don’t get blinded by the clever advertising and, as ever, if in doubt speak to an expert!

An Open Letter to Steve Jobs

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 by Simon<

Dear Steve, 

We’re writing to you for three very distinct, and we think important, reasons.  But before we dive into the detail, can we say you looked an awful lot better at your last gig and we sincerely hope your recovery and recuperation continues at as fast a pace as possible.

The corporate world has certainly missed you.

But onto the reasons for the letter.  First things first – the iPad is fantastic.

And we mean really fantastic – it has changed the computing landscape immeasurably. I’m sure you already know this…but we wanted to share.

Sadly the other two reasons for the letter are a little less positive.

The second one is fairly blunt and to the point. Sort out Flash.

Imagine our horror having waited, like a pre-pubescent school boy outside a model agency, for the iPad 2 to launch only to find that Flash STILL wasn’t on there! It can’t be that hard, surely, to sit down with Adobe and thrash something out.  By doing so, you’d make a lot of people very happy. 

Finally, we’d like to chat about the Keynote app (we’re using the term “app” in the loosest sense of the word – it’s so lightweight!). As a man with a reputation for high impact presentations, you must realise how Neanderthal this version of your presentation software is.

Eyeful - Support iPadYes, we know your presentations owe more to storyboarding and structure than simply elegant visuals, but what’s the deal with promoting bullet points?  It feels like it’s taking corporate presentations back at least 5 years.

What makes it worse is that this is so alien to Apple’s usual modus operandi.

The opportunity to build on a device that is screaming out to be used interactively in the presentation space is utterly wasted. Introduce easy interactivity into the Keynote app and we might be getting somewhere.  PowerPoint does it really well – are you up to the challenge?

The opportunity still exists (just), so please do something about it and give the World a presentation tool that matches the game-shifting vision of the iPad.

Who knows, maybe together we could drive the next shift in the way presentations are delivered and shared? Now, that really would be a legacy… Get in touch if you’d like a chat.

Yours sincerely,

The gang at Eyeful

Eyeful logo Small (Reflected)

Presentations 2.0 – This Time It’s Personal

Sunday, February 27th, 2011 by Simon<

We’re the first to get all huffy when someone comes along with a vaguely new idea and call’s its 2.0.  However for the fast evolving world of the presentations, it’s actually rather fitting – the landscape of today’s presenter is changing forever.

We’re lucky to live in a time when technology shifts are intensely fast.  Whilst this gives us many benefits (such as the stargazer app on just about any Smartphoneit really is very good), it also brings us plenty of potential issues or opportunities, depending on your point of view.

Presenting is no different.

The traditional “once written, always used” linear set of slides to click through to tell your story is no longer good enough. Even if you are a mighty fine presenter, this simply doesn’t cut it anymore.  People expect and are increasingly demanding more.

Firstly your delivery channel has to be right. Just because everyone else is using PowerPoint, does it mean you should?

blender with logos (reduced)Of course not – you need to assess the best way to deliver your presentations to each of your audiences. Regular readers will notice that we started banging on about something we call Blended Presenting (click here for the lowdown on this very exciting new approach).

And secondly audience participation has changed radically.

The social media boom has had an enormous effect on the art of conference presenting. At a recent event we took a visual count of a plenary session and over half the people had laptops or Smartphone’s fired up.

What used to be seen as rude is now the norm – you should now ask people to put phones on silent not turn them off!  Recognise this as a huge opportunity to get people engaged – you’ll get more out of the presentation for you and for you audience. 

So Presenting 2.0 is real and not just a hyped up phrase we’ve coined to look “bleeding edge”.  Look around you and you’ll see the signs everywhere…

It’s really just presenting but in line with with the demands and expectations of our modern times.  It can also really help elevate you to the next level as a presenter…if you let it.

Sales Kick Off Presentations – Getting That Elusive ROI

Sunday, January 16th, 2011 by Simon<

The Christmas break seems such a long time ago.  By now, your days are likely to be overflowing with meetings, strategy sessions and reinvigorated marketing campaigns.  Busy, busy, busy…

A fair proportion of our Blog readership are also likely to be sweating about an upcoming Sales Kick Off event.  At the time of booking the date out in everyone’s diary, it seemed such a good idea – an opportunity to gather the troops and fire them up as you launch into a new year.  The venue’s booked, the travel and accomodation has been arranged and the presenters have been informed. 

But with the date now looming, what state are you in?  Typically companies fall into one of two groups:

  1. Organised, co-ordinated and in control
  2. The frantic, confused and downright disorganised

If you’d place yourself firmly in Group 2, worry not – you’re not on your own.  From our discussions with companies of all sizes, lack of structure and focus for sales events is a common issue. 

Audience clappingAs you’d expect, we’d recommend focussing on developing a cohesive set of presentations that ensure your message really packs a punch to your eager sales audience (oh, and just to be clear, by message we don’t mean simply rolling out this year’s quotas and budget). 

The Sales Kick Off is your opportunity to clearly communicate with one of your most important stakeholders so make the most of it

To this end (and to hopefully offer some inspiration for those in need!), we’ve pulled together a short Podcast on what to do (and not to do) when preparing your Sales Kick Off event presentations.  Simply click below to listen.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Considering the huge investment companies make in pulling together their sales team for Kick Off meetings, it’s amazing how many of the presentations are thrown together at the last minute with little consideration of joined-up messaging or how they resonate with the audience.  Don’t fall into the same trap…

PowerPoint Sins – The Step-by-Step Guide to Absolution

Sunday, September 26th, 2010 by Simon<

I was recently asked for an interview by the fine people at Indezine.com (a veritable treasure trove of presentation and PowerPoint hints and tips) regarding PowerPoint sins.  Indezine did such a fine job at distilling my rant into a useful article, I thought we’d also add it to our own blog:

Indezine: What according to you are the highest ranking PowerPoint sins?  Tell us about them

DEvil-StickerWe’ve seen an interesting increase in the perception of PowerPoint sins over the last few years.  Phrases like “Death by PowerPoint” are now commonplace and with high profile media stories surrounding hideous PowerPoints slides being used by the likes of the US Military, fuel is frequently added to the flames.

The most glaring “PowerPoint sin” is the use of too much text on a slide.  This, combined with a blizzard of bullet points, will strike fear into the heart of most audiences.

Coming a close second are the aesthetic crimes people commit – the clichéd stock images (we’ve banned “shaking hands” in our studio!), redundant clipart (duck hitting computer with mallet springs to mind) and downright inconsistencies with fonts, templates and colour schemes (normally down to some careless copy and pasting by the user!).

Controversially, I’d suggest that these are the least of the PowerPoint sins and certainly the easiest to fix.

More telling is the lack of thought that goes into presentation planning.  We believe that most “Death by PowerPoint” occurs as a result of a lack of structure and/or focussed message.  This is the result of the presenter either not understanding their audience or, even worse, not particularly caring if their message is of any relevance to the poor people in the audience.

This lack of focus is often seen in sales pitches where the majority of the presentation is dedicated to telling everyone how big and successful the company is whilst forgetting to explain why their product or service might be of any value to the comatose audience sitting in front of them.

This usually manifests itself in slide after slide of financial charts, pictures of their impressive Head Office and, in one particularly shocking example, a full organisational chart with pictures of each member of the board!  The audience must be silently screaming “SO WHAT?!  THIS IS IRRELEVANT!!”

Finally, carefully planning your presentation (a process we call Presentation Optimization) allows you to think differently about the medium to use.

  • Does your PowerPoint need to be linear?
  • How about building in interactivity to help build engagement with your audience or allow you react to their questions?
  • How about using something we call Blended Presenting by which we mean applying different mediums at different points, for example moving from PowerPoint to Whiteboard to build further engagement with the audience?

So in short, PowerPoint sins run much deeper than simply banning bullet points!  It’s about re-thinking the entire purpose and process of your presentation and building up from there.

Indezine:  To not sin at all, that may be possible if people knew they were doing so – but most users just don’t give that sort of attention or thought to the slides they create – how can they be educated?

We get ourselves very hot under the collar when it comes to the value attributed to presentations.  Eyeful’s 2010 Business Presentation Survey highlighted the continually important role presentations play in sales pitches, internal communications and financial reporting.

Yet despite this, presentation decks are normally created in-house with little or no expertise.  We call this the Presentation Paradox and have even created a White Paper highlighting the gap between the impact quality presentations have versus the typical investment made.

The Presentation Paradox

So how to address the issue and educate purveyors of poor PowerPoint?

Your first step should be to watch the people who deliver focussed, compelling and effective presentations.  Steve Jobs is the stock answer to this and yes, he’s very good…but in his position, he should be!

But don’t just follow the superstars – look how “normal” people in your own business or industry deliver their presentations.  What works?  What doesn’t?  Write down your thoughts and incorporate them into your next presentation.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to speak up!  Bad presentations have sadly become the norm because audiences have not made their feelings known.

Audiences deserve better than the typical “death by PowerPoint” presentations that are inflicted upon them – it’s that simple.  As a result, we’ll often approach speakers after conferences, not to pitch our services to them but to offer feedback on what worked as well as what elements might benefit from new ideas or a different approach.  To date, presenters have taken this feedback on board gladly (for this read no-one has punched us yet!) because everyone wants to improve.

Finally, we’d recommend downloading a new eBook, Beating Death by PowerPoint in your Business – http://www.eyefulpresentations.com/beatingdeathbyppt

Share it freely with your colleagues and perhaps through a collective effort, we may be able to drive the quality of presentations up a couple of notches.  We can only try!