Posts Tagged ‘Presentation Optimisation’

Big Data – Best Served In Small Helpings

Thursday, April 10th, 2014 by Justine<

As a blogger I spend quite a lot of time searching the internet for inspiration, information and opinion. Sometimes I know what I’m going to write about and sometimes I’m just fishing for the spark that sets the whole thing off. This produces two things – blogs (which is the whole point) and data (which is a by-product).

Every time I access a search engine or visit a site it creates data about that interaction that is collated, sorted, stored and (occasionally) used, but this is only the beginning of Big Data as we know it today.

When it comes to marketing, data is undoubtedly useful.  It’s great to know what your prospective customers might be typing into a search engine and where they might be when they’re doing so, but the inherent problem with Big Data is in its very scope.

The internet exploration that has bought me here today will also have created some misleading data, I cast my eye over an article about using elephants as a scale of measurement, but zoology and quantity surveying are not really of interest to me.

I also read articles that I did not agree with, visited web pages with grammar that bought me out in hives and read one blog that I actually found quite offensive. So while the owners of those sites may be pleased to harvest my data and send me their next marketing campaign, I will be less than pleased to receive it.

When we’re trying to sort out what data is (and is not) useful it helps to think of it like water. Businesses rely on data that comes in a reliable, controllable stream (like a tap) sometimes referred to as Small Data. It helps them understand their marketplace in order to formulate marketing strategies and develop campaigns that target the right people. But too much data becomes a flood that overwhelms businesses hindering their progress and bad data (like dirty water) is not only less than useless, it can spoil the data around it. In this particular simile Big Data is a veritable tidal wave of information and without the capability to manage it correctly it can easily sweep away everything in its path.

From a Big Data perspective my internet shenanigans created lots more information than you might expect. On top of all the actual data I generated there’s a proportion of implied data that comes to life too. Blogging is part of my job so therefore I’m employed, a taxpayer and the proud owner of a national insurance number. I do not work from home so therefore I have transport needs. My computer uses electricity so therefore I have energy requirements. Already I’ve qualified for a plethora of marketing lists and that’s without even beginning to look at the trail of electronic communication that I create every day, or considering the fact that I bank online and my GP has a computerised system for recording my health. (I also inadvertently clicked on a link to an advert for cat food, and I don’t have a cat – sorry).

When so much information is generated it becomes fairly easy to find proof of just about any hypothesis you can think of, for example my cat food mistake could well become part of an ‘increasing demand for pet food in the East Midlands’. Data rarely allows for the foibles and failings that may create it and is always ready to trip those who may rely entirely on its veracity.

Big Data is a messy place and whether or not the thought of incessant spying keeps you awake at night, there’s still plenty to think about.

For many of the businesses that we work with the data balancing act neatly divides into two areas for consideration ‘data in’ and ‘data out’.

‘Data In’ is the stuff that will help you develop your product or service.

‘Data Out’ is about whittling that information down to the stuff that you need to share in order to persuade them to buy it.

So let’s pretend that Sid has invented an amazing new thingummy that will revolutionise how people brush their hair, Sid thinks it’s a great idea and he’s sifted through some Big Data and found out that lots of people have hair and a large proportion of those that do claim to brush it at least once a day. Sid knows exactly what the hair care market is worth and has worked out the exact demographic of his target audience and priced his product accordingly.  He’s even done some good old fashioned market research which has created some Thick Data which when added to the Big Data has led Sid to believe that there is a vast untapped market for his new triangular hair detangling apparatus (RRP £49.99, batteries not included). Sid has paid someone to develop the prototype (who have no doubt consulted some of their own data too) and travelled around the world (creating travel data) to look at manufacturing facilities before placing an initial order for 50,000 units.

Everything Sid’s done so far has been backed up by seemingly sound data and now all he has to do is get the retailers on board. Obviously all the remains is to cram all the data (Big, Thick and Small) that has bought Sid to where he is today into a lovely presentation where it will make every retailer as excited as Sid and the orders will come flowing in.

Unfortunately, that simply won’t work.

The data that Sid collated and used is more than likely interesting only to Sid. It’s also quite likely that any data which didn’t reinforce his obvious excitement regarding his genius invention was ignored and /or replaced (apologies to Sid here, he is an otherwise upstanding and honest citizen). What the retailers need to know is how Sid’s fango dango new device will sit within their product range, how it will appeal to their customer base and whether the supply arrangements and costs are right for them. No problem at all, Sid has all that data too, just add it in to the presentation and we’ll be onto a winner.

But that won’t work either.

Because data is like water a great presentation should contain just enough, served in the right way, to efficiently quench your audiences thirst. Too much data and they’ll struggle to swim through it.

Balancing data is a tricky business and when it comes to presentations there’s more to consider than you might think. Audience Heatmaps are important in understanding which data to include and which to discard. Incorporating data into your story can be challenging and displaying data in a way that engages might well involve using infographics, graphs or charts.

As we know the presentation landscape is also changing and presentations are becoming less formal and more interactive making it even trickier to communicate raw data effectively.

Here at Eyeful we’ve been challenging concepts on presentation content for a while now and managing Big Data comes naturally to us. We’ve developed ways to help our customers identify the data that matters to their audience and then express it in a way that engages them.

We know that endless graphs and chart are soporific and that it’s easy to alienate an audience if they feel that you’re trying to blind them with science. How do we know? We simply asked them.

If you’re worried that Big Data might be drowning your ability to communicate effectively then we’d be happy to show you how your presentation can be improved with a Free Presentation Healthcheck (which will generate no extraneous data at all, but may well make a huge difference to your business).

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Why should you listen to us?

Monday, March 3rd, 2014 by Justine<

Here at Eyeful we’ve built a bit of a reputation when it comes to knowing a thing or two about presentations and we’re proud to have grown from a back bedroom to a company with six international offices in less than a decade.

Over that time we’ve worked with businesses of all shapes and sizes covering every speciality and business sector you can imagine (and some that you probably can’t). Once you wade through the diversity of our customers there are some things that they all have in common, they all contacted us, they all listened to what we had to say and they all left with a fantastic presentation.

But pulling in the punters the first time is only half the game, to use a phrase we’re very fond of here at Eyeful Towers ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ and with well over 80% of our customers returning for seconds it seems we’ve got the recipe right.

So, what about those companies that never contacted Eyeful? Why should they be any more interested in The Presentation Lab book than they are in Eyeful Presentations and who the hell do we think we are telling them how their presentation should be and hawking the book at them left, right and centre?

In traditional Eyeful fashion we’re tackling this one head on.

Here Simon shares his credentials with the world and explains why it’s worth the naysayers taking a twenty quid punt on finding out just what makes an Eyeful presentation so special.

 

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Between The Covers

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 by Justine<

For everyone out there who has ever tried to sneakily prise up the sellotape on a present or has progressed through the ‘heft – shake – squeeze’ gift assessment to the ‘accidental corner rip’, here’s a Christmas treat…

A sneaky peek between the covers of The Presentation Lab: Learn the Formula Behind Powerful Presentations.

(And for those of you who can barely wait to get your hands on it – fear not – you can pre-order now through Amazon and Barnes & Noble).

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Why Apple always make an impact

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 by Justine<

This week is a big one for Apple. Yesterday they released iOS7 into the ether and tomorrow sees the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C go on sale in the UK.

But the products themselves are not the exciting part for us here at Eyeful.

Whatever you think of Apple products, it can’t be denied that when it comes to creating and sustaining a buzz about what they’re doing, Apple leave the competition far behind.

Apple products are distinctive but that’s not the secret, the secret lies in how Apple presents those products to the world. Apple have moved from niche market innovators to mass market providers by knowing and growing their audience.

There have been glitches along the way and even the late, great, Steve Jobs has contended with audiences that were less than enamoured with his message. But overall Apple has kept their audience on side by knowing what they want and communicating with them in a way they respond to.

Apple product launches have become events in themselves, they appear seamless and unforced but it has been well documented that behind the scenes it’s a different story. Every technical part of the show has a back-up for its back-up and every word and action is rehearsed and rehearsed before the audience even knows the event is taking place.

Apple uses a very simple presentation formula: the product, the presenter, the slideshow and the audience.

There are very few people who would refuse the opportunity to make the sort of presentation impact that Apple does, indeed many have tried to emulate them and failed because the simplicity of it all can be intimidating.

But just like the production, the simplicity of the presentation belies its true nature.

You might think that as a presentation design company we’re about to have a five minute rant on how much more exciting the slides could be, but you couldn’t be more wrong. The slides are the least important part of the presentation, without a powerful, engaging story and a presenter who knows what they’re doing the slides would be useless, however visually fantastic they were.

The thing is we’re not just a presentation design company, we’re a presentation consultancy company too. We help our customers get right down to the heart of their proposition and understand their audience because that’s how engaging stories are born, the slides that tell those stories are simply a means to an end.

Apple demonstrates to everyone just what a difference this approach can make and you don’t need a multi million pound budget to achieve it either, just a little Eyeful expertise can make all the difference.

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Eyeful On Air

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 by Justine<

Last month our esteemed MD Simon Morton was interviewed on Ireland’s longest running business programme, The Persuaders on Dublin City FM.

Simon talked animatedly (as is his want) about the Eyeful journey from back bedroom to The Presentation Lab book. He also shared some top tips for engaging your audience and advice on avoiding some common presentation mistakes, all peppered with a decent smattering of his inimitable wit and wisdom.

For those of you who missed the opportunity to tune in live (or simply want to hear Simons lilting tones) the programme is now available online by clicking through this link.

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Lessons From Spam

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013 by Justine<

(In which we will be considering the delights of both meat and email based varieties – and yes, I did say delights.)

As I child of the 70’s I know that Spam (the meat product) has its place in the world. It can contribute to an acceptable sandwich and make an interesting fritter, it sits in the back of the cupboard patiently waiting for a skint month in the certain knowledge that its time will come. But let’s be honest the one thing it’s really good at is reminding us that not every meat based meal is Sunday dinner.

As someone who spends a lot of time at a computer I know that Spam (the email kind) serves a similar purpose. It sits in your inbox until the need for procrastination arises, it tells you what people you never knew you cared about are up to and it occasionally invites you to something you’d quite like to attend. But, in line with its comestible counterpart, the main thing it’s really good at is reminding you that not all communication is effective.

A recent gem was a master class in the art of the verbose: Do I, it asked, wish to attend a webinar to ‘discover a pragmatic way to uncover the customer buying process or “sales motion” and connect it with the intentions and actions of the go-to-market teams to eliminate execution gaps.’  I’ve read it a few times now and I still don’t know, mostly because I don’t understand the question.

When we start to consider that emails are supposed to capture their audiences’ attention quickly and get their message across before the recipient can hit ‘delete’ the whole thing becomes even scarier.

Presentation audiences are not armed with a delete button and it’s every presenter’s job to ensure that their audience is not trying to wish one into existence. People need to understand to be engaged.

If you’re product or service will save people time and money by helping them work more efficiently then tell them how and why. Don’t pretend it’s ‘an holistic approach to the betterfication of the cost-production-retail analysis in line with an overarching efficiency framework’ because they’ll know that’s complete rubbish and they’ll presume that your product is too.

The Plain English Campaign has a brilliant gobbledegook generator on their website, today it gave me this gem of business speak ‘It’s time that we became uber-efficient with our ambient digital innovation.’ Which would have been funny, if only I could have escaped the eerie feeling that I’ve read it somewhere before….?

spam

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Failed Presentation Meets Fashion Faux Pas

Monday, August 5th, 2013 by Justine<

Last week we marvelled at the Human brains ability to make sense of nonsense.

Which is great, right, your audience can do some of the work for you, they can understand gobbledygook so there’s no need to make sure that your content is correct or engaging, they’ll fill in the blanks themselves. All you need to do is make sure that your presentation looks fantastic and you’re onto a winner.

Wrong.

On the wrongness scale this sits alongside wearing socks with sandals, an odd simile I admit, but please bear with….

When we see someone wearing socks and sandals we feel the wrongness but we don’t like to point it out, we may hold a sneaking suspicion that it might be somehow trendy or cutting edge in a way we just don’t get, and maybe they are doing the world a favour by concealing some hideous foot fungus (which is a kindness we should all appreciate).

A beautiful presentation with a weak narrative has a similar effect. No-one has suffered unduly, some have become distracted or suspicious and nothing has been achieved.

Presentations that choose style over substance fail because style is subjective – it does not communicate to everyone in the same way.

Prezi is a case in point, its ability to pan and zoom like a sci-fi blockbuster is brilliant if it’s used intelligently. Discriminate use is not only detrimental to effective communication, there’s a very real risk of nausea. Yet there are people (roller coaster enthusiasts and base jumpers for example) who can’t get enough of it.

Ignoring content is a two pronged fork waiting quietly to be stepped on, and it cares nought for any protection provided by the combination of socks and sandals.

Firstly there is the content of your presentation, the stuff that actually fills your slides, and then there is the content of your delivery, not just the words but also the tools you use to get your message across.

Two problems with two simple solutions – Presentation Optimisation and Blended Presenting as long as you get these two things right you can wear whatever you like….

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And the nominees are…….Eyeful Presentations

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 by Justine<

Excitement is in the air here at Eyeful.

We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted for the Nectar Business Awards 2013 – Small Business of the Year award.

Without sounding twee, it really is an honour to be get this far.

We’re up against some of the brightest and best that the UK can offer and we’re crossing all available appendages as we wait for the result.

Here’s the shortlist in full:

Eyeful Presentations

Goody Good Stuff

PetShopBowl.co.uk

Rock ‘N’ Rose

Wold Top Brewery

Firestar Toys Ltd

Whatever happens we think this list would make for a fantastic party…..

Nectar Logo

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Eyeful Ireland Hits The Airwaves

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 by Justine<

This Friday (12th July) at 13.00, Ronan Kinahan  from Eyeful Ireland will be live on The Persuaders, on Dublin City FM. With support from our inimitable MD Simon Morton, Ronan will be chatting to host Alex Gibson about the best and worst in presentations.

The Persuaders is a weekly marketing and media programme aimed at businesses who want to get the most from their marketing and is Ireland’s longest running business programme.

Ronan will be filling his half hour slot with all the latest news on Blended Presenting, Presentation Optimisation, Eyeful Labs and The Presentation Lab Book as well as discussing how a little Eyeful love is helping Ireland build a better presentation landscape.

As you know we love to share so it will be well worth tuning in to hear about how Eyeful is making its mark in Ireland and get the lowdown on our latest innovations.

For those of you not fortunate enough to live in the Emerald Isle you can hear Ronan and Simon through the marvels of the internet by clicking here.

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Interesting Facts about Boredom

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 by Justine<

Boredom, we’ve all felt it and occasionally been unfortunate enough to inspire it.

Contrary to something I heard repeatedly as a teenager it is not true to say that ‘only boring people get bored’ – boredom is much more interesting than that.

From an evolutionary perspective boredom is a way of telling you that you are being unproductive.

For prehistoric people it was the difference between sitting on a log daydreaming until a passing tyrannosaur ate you and getting off your backside to invent weaponry so that you could eat the tyrannosaur.

Navel gazing is not good for procreation either – unless, perhaps, it’s someone else’s navel. So once again boredom serves a purpose, encouraging you and your genes to get out there and interact with others.

Boredom is an emotional state, we don’t choose to be bored and it’s unlikely we’ll be able to convincingly look less bored than we are. And as if that weren’t enough it’s also contagious, even a suppressed yawn has the power to travel round a room.

So how do you stop your audience being bored?

You need to get their attention, keep their attention and let them know what’s in it for them and how to get it. Presentation Optimisation – to those in the know.

Ten slides explaining the results of market research into how your new sandwich filling compares to competitors is boring and this sort of boredom is indicative of a low risk/low reward strategy. If you let them eat the sandwiches the risks are higher because they may not like them, but you have increased the potential rewards and given the audience an opportunity to personally invest (and in this case, ingest) in your product.

Strangely, we can also bore audiences by overcomplicating things. For example a Black Hole is (for me at least) an inherently interesting phenomenon, with the potential for time travel and the danger of spaghettification, it’s got excitement written all over it. Yet the calculations required to demonstrate the physics of a Black Hole make as much sense to me as Egyptian hieroglyphs and are therefore inherently boring – I’d rather have the sandwich.

In an ideal world I want to eat the sandwich whilst learning about spaghettification, which is, of course, a (rather clumsy I’m afraid) metaphor for Blended Presenting.

The key here is to think differently about your presentations, beautiful slides do not mean an effective presentation. An effective presentation is one that does not allow boredom into the room. It’s not just the audience we need to protect either, we know that boredom is contagious, and if it starts with the presenter you have a real problem…

If you’d like us to help you - and your audience - by eradicating boredom in your presentations please contact us – we love to chat.

Boredom

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