With new web updates on the horizon, we’ve been reflecting over old content and it’s been really interesting to take a close look at some of our old stuff to see how it stands up in today’s presentation landscape.
Fortunately for us it would appear that along the way we have indeed created a few great things (and, thank heavens, nothing bad enough to be hailed as ironically amusing).
Part of what made Eyeful Presentations the game changing company that it is today is that we laid out our aims and specialisms from the beginning and we’ve stuck to our guns.
We’re really rather good at presentations and while we’ve developed how our work can support and inform other parts of a sales collateral suite, we’ve never wavered from our original intent: improving business communication – one presentation at a time.
We’ve also stood by our intention to maximise ROI for our customers and ensure that no repurposing opportunity is left unexplored.
And we’re rather proud of practicing what we preach.
First aired in 2008 and briefly revived in 2012 here’s something from the Eyeful vaults that has stood the test of time much better than my wardrobe – and could even be erring towards retro chic….
It’s a little while now since I dabbled in art but today the ever informative internet has thrown up another instance where art can help us to understand presentations better.
Scientists have confirmed that Picasso’s The Blue Room is actually painted over an earlier image of a man with a moustache. This is not an unusual phenomenon, many artist did this as part of the creative process and to reuse expensive materials, indeed Picasso’s own Woman Ironing also hides a moustachioed gent (but Picasso’s penchant for hirsute men is not what we’re here for).
While it’s easy to assume that the original image was painted over with something better and was therefore inferior and not worth investigating, it’s important to remember that newer and better are not the same thing.
Fashions change in art as in everything. Anyone who’s ever bought an old house will know that peeling back layers of wallpaper can be a real journey through tastes that time forgot (and then remembered – and then forgot again). Sometimes things are replaced for nothing more than whimsy and in the case of a struggling artist I suspect that hunger or impending homelessness could also be great motivators to produce something more marketable.
Presentations are subject to the same kind of trends and pressures, often with similar results.
First there were the text heavy slides that included every minutia of the information that we wanted to share in painstaking detail. Then bullet points came along, allowing us to dispense with the standard rules for forming coherent sentences without a second thought.
It’s not that long ago that we all got very excited by clipart and merrily inserted images hither and thither, thus making the whole thing prettier.
Then there were transitions, animations, imbedded videos, motion paths – the list goes on and on. As each new thing arrives it is greedily incorporated into presentations and as its star wanes it is replaced.
But somewhere in amongst all this ‘improvement’ is every presentations ‘moustache man’.
He’s been painted over a hundred times but he’s still important because he’s the reason you have a presentation in the first place.
The problem is that as presentations become more and more advanced they can become more and more removed from their purpose. We’ve seen many variations on this over the years and the results vary from the plain ugly (Presentationstein) to the gravely misguided.
While art conservators employ the latest high tech to find out what’s behind the old masters getting to the heart of your presentation will be much easier, all you need to do is look at it through your audiences’ eyes and ask a few simple questions:
Does my presentation have a natural flow or story?
Is all the content relevant and necessary?
Do the visuals support that content effectively?
Is there a clear call to action?
If any one of these things is missing, obscured, or unclear it might well be that it’s been painted over and the result of this can also be demonstrated by art.
Whilst cleaning a 17th century painting of a coastal scene, restorers found a beached whale that had been painted over. While it’s easy to understand that a painting without a dead animal as its focus would be eminently more market friendly, restoring it did explain the ‘hitherto slightly baffling presence of groups of people on the beach, and atop the cliffs, on what appears to be a blustery winter’s day’.
Whether removing, enhancing or replacing content is for the best aesthetically is always going to be a matter of opinion, but when that process interferes with the integrity of your presentation, and prevents it from making sense, you’ve got real problems.
If you’re worried that your presentation message might have got lost along the way, we’ll be more than happy to help you, simply get in touch to find out how.
Most people have a healthy level of scepticism when it comes to statistics; we all know that they can be made to prove just about anything, sometimes by simple omission and sometimes by malevolent manipulation.
We also know that statistics can be a huge snoozefest for audiences; slide after slide of numbers is one of the best ways to disengage an audience and with so many options for graphics available there’s no excuse.
But graphics aren’t a panacea and getting it wrong can cause more than just disinterest.
There are two significant hazards to negotiate when it comes to visualising statistics and either can easily capture the unwary or expose the unscrupulous.
First off there is an old nemesis of ours which involves running fast and loose with the properties of the x and y axis on a graph. Failing to give either axis a scale or making the two scales widely different can lead to some stunning misinformation (there’s an excellent example of this in The Presentation Lab book on page 155, for those of you with a copy to hand).
There’s a huge temptation to use this as a way of making statistics look more impressive than they are, but this is something that presenters do at their peril because, as we may have mentioned before, audiences are not stupid and if they spot a little dishonesty, they’ll expect a big one too.
The second hazard comes from our very human tendency to see patterns where there are none. It happens at a very basic level with shapes; clouds that become sharks, rabbits, or Mick Jagger’s lips for example. And because we’re hard wired to recognise faces from an early age we’re all partial to a bit of pareidolia (and why not, when you can sell a chicken nugget that looks like George Washington for $8000).
We all know that a cloud isn’t a shark and that the nugget isn’t George Washington but it’s hard for us not to see these things.
So, when a graph like this appears before us we immediately see an obvious correlation.
But look a little closer, do you really think that cheese consumption is relative to death by bedsheets?
The obvious answer (putting aside any notions of fatal cheese dreams) is no.
Making data visually appealing is easy, but keeping it honest while you do so can be much harder. Fortunately, our team of specialist presentation consultants and designers is on hand to help you avoid falling victim to dodgy visuals, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.
Being one of the best presentation consultancy and design companies is about having the best people and we’re always excited to welcome new talent here at Eyeful Towers.
2014 is turning out to be a big year for us and with new challenges on the horizon our team at Eyeful Towers is growing again.
So without further ado, here are the latest members of the Eyeful family (L to R) Lorna Boyer, Hannah Clarkstone and Harri Kaol.
After initially advertising for one designer to join our in-house team we came across two outstanding candidates and never able to let great talent walk away, we employed then both; Lorna’s background is in graphic design and photography and Hannah is a graduate in Multi-Media Textile design.
Harri has left behind a world of underfloor heating and plumbing to take up the challenge of project management and appears, thankfully, to be suffering from very few u-bend withdrawal symptoms.
We’re really chuffed to have them on our team as we pursue our aim to rid the world of Death by PowerPoint – one presentation at a time….
While most of the world is spending the beginning of 2014 obsessed with slimming down after Christmas excess, here at Eyeful we’re excited about expanding.
Our head office team in Desford is looking for two people to join our eclectic and occasionally eccentric team as we enter one of the most exciting phases of business growth so far.
Our HQ team consists of a delightful bunch of creatives who give their very best to every project and form the hub of a worldwide team that delivers fantastic presentations and outstanding customer service.
We are currently looking to recruit a PowerPoint Presentation Designer and a New Business Generator to join the team and full details of both vacancies can be found here.
So, if you think you’ve got what it takes to be part of a rapidly growing, world leading, specialist presentation team – we want to hear from you.
Regular readers will know how we love to wrap serious messages in seasonal frivolity.
So without further ado, here’s a Halloween offering about one of the scariest (and least effective) of presentation shockers….Presentationstein
Turn the sound up, sit back and prepare to be horrified at what could well be happening to your presentation…
P.S. If the whole thing looks spookily familiar, simply breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth thinking happy thoughts until the panic dies down…..then get in touch and we’ll help you lay the monster to rest.
Here at Eyeful we love to push the boundaries of PowerPoint because, in the right hands, it can create some truly amazing presentation visuals.
Whilst much of the world is happy to blame PowerPoint for poor presentations we believe that’s akin to blaming cars for speeding. The brilliance (or otherwise) of a presentation is not about PowerPoint (or Keynote, or Prezi, or the infamous napkin) it’s about getting the best from whatever tool you’re using. And, if we may say so ourselves, when it comes to squeezing every ounce of brilliance from the seemingly mundane, we’re just the people for the job.
Here’s an example of what happens when we give one of our PowerPoint aficionados the seed of an idea and the opportunity just to have fun.
No story, no compelling message and no structure, just the chance to make PowerPoint work that little bit harder as well as play around with some video clips of cute cats. Happy days.
This week Disney has been trialling its ‘interactive cinema experience’.
For those of you not up to speed, the idea is that film goers take their iPad or PC into the cinema (or the front room) and using the Disney Second Screen app they can enhance their cinematic experience.
The app can best be described as live time DVD extras, each movie has an interactive reel full of behind the scenes info, games and trivia, which runs concurrently with the film.
Apparently we’re all going to love trying to concentrate on two things at once.
Without opening the whole ‘multi-tasking’ debate I’m a little sceptical that anyone (especially children who are the initial target audience) can successfully achieve this. And on a side note it would also be sad to see the last ‘mobile free’ bastion disappear, ‘sorry I was in the cinema’ is practically the only viable excuse left for being incommunicado in a modern, tech hungry, world.
We all know that a lot of the tech advances that start as entertainment filter through to business users and maybe this is one that will actually work better for business than it does for kids.
Recently John McCain was caught playing poker on his smart phone in a senate committee meeting. Despite the fact that I personally feel that anyone prodding at their phone during casual conversation (never mind a meeting) should need an anaesthetic for its removal, it’s actually fairly widely accepted that this goes on. Many people simply cannot bear to be disconnected from the wonders of modern communication for more than a few minutes; we’re all very busy people (cue the Friday funny below).
But are we missing a trick here? If you’re presenting and your audience is going to be emailing, texting and tweeting anyway then maybe the best way to keep them engaged is to hijack the very device they’re surreptitiously using.
We’ll need to hang on a while and see how the second screen revolution progresses before we start devising dual level presentations, and when we do there’ll be a lot of hard work involved in getting in right. Twice the interaction could easily mean twice as boring or half as engaging.
In the meantime we need to keep those phones and tablets where they belong by making sure that every presentation we give connects with its audience and holds their attention. By achieving this we could restore a tech free oasis in a world that badly needs it ‘sorry I missed your call/email/text/tweet, I was in a presentation’….