Posts Tagged ‘PowerPoint Training’

(Presentation) Lessons Learned from This Year’s APMP Conference

Monday, October 27th, 2014 by Simon<

I had the privilege of speaking at the UK APMP event again this year. For the uninitiated, this is an opportunity for the UK’s bid and proposal experts to get together over a 3-day period and share best practice, gain insight into new developments and swap war stories.

Pontificating at the APMP ConferenceThis year I was talking through the ongoing issue of the Presentation Paradox, that peculiar state of mind that hits companies large and small when preparing for an important pitch. For some bizarre reason, preparing for this important pitch presentation is too often boiled down to a kneejerk ‘pull some slides together’ activity rather than seeing it as a huge opportunity to address any shortcomings of the bid document whilst simultaneously moving the audience to the next stage of the process.

I could rant on but frankly that’s not the purpose of this blog – I’m keen to share the lessons learned from this year’s event…

The lowly pitch presentation is getting some love

APMP have recognised the valuable part played by presentations in the bid process and now invite subject matter experts in to share their insight and knowledge. This year’s conference schedule covered both the fundamentals (technical training on PowerPoint) through to people like myself who were sharing new ideas and throwing down the presentation gauntlet to bid managers and their ilk.

This can only be a good thing – the more people think about the presentation process (from message and content through to the way it’s delivered), the greater the standard across the board. The net result is that we all benefit – presenters, audience and businesses.

New presentation technology is getting an airing

A completely unscientific straw poll during my seminar showed that the majority of businesses had tried new technology as part of their presentation process.

Top of the pile was Prezi, an innovative take on traditional slideware which, when used sparingly and at the right time, can be incredibly powerful. The flipside of this, of course, is that when used poorly and inappropriately, Prezi can be truly horrible. Delegates seemed to agree – many had tried it but few had returned to it on a regular basis for pitch presentations.

I was surprised to learn that an increasing number of high stakes bid presentations are now being delivered remotely. With the value of these bids often being in the tens and hundreds of millions, this seems a very brave thing to do! Remote presentation tools have come on leaps and bounds over the last few years (in particular video conferencing) yet I personally still struggle with the idea of building rapport and a relationship with pixels on a screen. Now this may be a personal tick I need to overcome as timescales shorten and travel costs increase but, in the meantime, if I can possibly find a way of sitting in front of an audience, I’ll bend over backwards to ensure I do.

The good news from all of this new technology and thinking is that bid presentations are benefitting from people approaching things differently. As with any development process, there will be things that people try which end up an unmitigated disaster whilst others will flourish and become ‘best practice’ for a business overnight. The key is to pick and choose carefully, making educated bets on the right approach to take for a particular audience.*

[* Gaining a good understanding of your audience is a particular passion of mine – for more information, reference The Audience Heatmap concept here].

Some things never change

Sadly there are some constants in the world of pitch presentations, one of which is out of the control of most presenters – leadtimes.

There is a consistent frustration voiced by bid teams when it comes to preparing their presentations – they’re given completely unrealistic leadtimes. One delegate shared an example of where the weighty bid document needed to be submitted by close of business on the Thursday. On the Friday, they received a call from the prospect asking them to deliver a presentation to the board and procurement team the following Tuesday.

A few things spring to mind:

  • Is this some sort of sick power play by the prospect?
  • Is the presentation simply serving as a ‘Cliff’s Notes’ version of the main document?
  • Is there any process in place to truly test the value of each bid or has the decision been made and the fast track presentation process simply a way of getting through the formalities as quickly as possible?

What makes this all the more concerning is that the delegate was a senior member of a bid team for a huge, well-respected technology business. Each bid is for millions of dollars and likely to underpin the strategy of the prospect’s business so surely the process should be a little more robust than this?

I don’t have an answer to this particular quandary but I do have a huge amount of sympathy for the bid professionals on the receiving end of this short-term approach. All I would do is implore the bid team not to lower their standards when preparing the pitch presentation – see it as the huge opportunity it truly represents and throw every morsel of energy you have to make the most of it.

In conclusion, the bid professionals at this year’s APMP event demonstrated all the attributes needed to create a powerful pitch presentation – an understanding of their audience, the ability to cut through the ‘noise’ of too much content and an eagerness to try new things (such as Blended Presenting) to ensure that the presentation opportunity is grasped firmly with both hands. If we maintain this forward momentum across all pitch presentations, the future is bright indeed.

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.

 

 

Nice People Saying Nice Things About PowerPoint Training

Friday, June 28th, 2013 by Justine<

Here at Eyeful we believe that if you don’t ask, you’ll never know – and if you never know, how can you improve.

So we asked a couple of attendees what they really thought about our training days, here’s what Bernadette from Lloyds Bank and Jessica from the NIHR Clinical Research Network had to say…

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New Year’s Resolutions – Make or Break?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 by Simon<

OK – so it’s January…  Dark mornings and evenings. Cold and damp weather. And let’s not even mention the detox diet..!

Now is also traditionally the time that many New Years resolutions are left broken and shattered on the floor…

Moving hastily on from the “no chocolate until February” resolution, what about those pledges you made for work?  The perfectly planned and executed sales campaign or the update to your dusty old presentation?

If the presentation resolution still hangs over you, we have some advice – don’t buy another self help book, get some real help from the experts.

We’ve been running presentation training sessions for some time but toward the end of 2012 we revamped them…and have seen some great results.

Want to learn how to create the perfect presentation?  We’ve got a course for that.

Want to update and enhance your presenter skills?  We’ve got a course for that too.

Want the lowdown and latest thinking on presentation message development?  Yep, we’ve also got that covered.

Interested? Don’t take our word for it. This is what our graduates have said about our basic and advanced PowerPoint courses:

“The basic course was very good. The structure was great and covered the variety of experience levels within the group. I would certainly like to attend the advanced course and I have recommended this course to members of my team”

Marketing Manager, Lloyds Banking Group

 

“It was all relevant to my requirements. I particularly enjoyed playing around with animation – discovering how to be creative with the functionality. The course remained interesting throughout”

Graphic Designer , SIG plc.

Oh, and the post training feedback supports these comments too:

 

Want to know more..?  Don’t be a stranger – get in touch…

And on the Third (Working) Day of Christmas…

Monday, December 10th, 2012 by Simon<

2013 will see our training bods launching a series of short videos upon the world.  Each of these video golden nuggets will share some of the secrets that take an average PowerPoint user and turn them into a Advanced PowerPoint geek (in much the same fashion as the training team).

These videos will form part of our ever expanding training packages. If you’d like to know more about our range of training services, drop us a line or give us a call.  We’d love to hear from you.

However, in true Christmas spirit, we thought we would share a sneaky peek of an early version of one of the videos with you…for free!  Sit back, enjoy and “geek up” like the rest of us…

 

On The First (Working) Day of Christmas…

Thursday, December 6th, 2012 by Simon<

2012 saw Eyeful introduce our Public Training days…and, by jingo, they seem to have been a roaring success:

Pam, Marketing Manager:

“Very good course!  Well structured and covered a variety of experience”

Jamie, Graphic Designer:

“Really good course, stayed interesting throughout. It was fun being creative with animation. I would recommend the course to anyone who frequently uses presentations”

Why, thank you…

Our presentation training courses currently cover 4 main topics:

You can find out more about our courses, dates and fees by clicking here.

And so to our first Christmas treat… Book on any of our Public Training Courses before the end of January and receive an early bird discount of 30% (offer excludes any other discount and available to the first 3 places on each of the advertised dates).

We look forward to spreading our Passion for Presentations!

Eyeful Towers – Open For Training

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 by Justine<

As presentation specialists and nifty PowerPoint manipulators, it was inevitable that our customers would start asking us about training.

Never ones to decline an opportunity to share our enthusiasm we began to say yes and toddled out to their premises to share some insider secrets.

Without sounding evangelical about the whole thing, it started to feel like we were enjoying it as much as our customers so we’ve taken the plunge and launched a public training programme.

Here Matt tells us all about it….

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Technical PowerPoint Training – The Eyeful Effect

Sunday, March 20th, 2011 by Simon<

Technical PowerPoint training has long had a reputation for being, well, a bit boring.

The very thought of it conjurs up images of a classroom layout with a trainer droning on at the front of the room to delegates quickly losing the fight against narcolepsy. 

Oh, and most of the course content is either horribly basic or of little or no relevance to the way people work with PowerPoint every day.  In short, most technical PowerPoint training is dire.  

However here at Eyeful, we’ve taken a slightly different approach… 

TrainingWe’ve made it interactive

We’ve made it engaging

We’ve made it fun

Oh, and we’ve made it relevant

Want proof?  Listen on…

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If you fancy learning more about our training services and the difference the Eyeful Effect can have in your business, click here or get in touch!