Posts Tagged ‘Presentation Optimisation’

Stop Posting and Start Doing…

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 by Justine<

There’s quite a commotion online at the moment about the launch of the new Post-It App.

It’s obviously a clever piece of kit. It allows you to take photographs of up to 50 physical Post-It notes and then digitally manipulate them.

These virtual Post-Its can be pinned to your start screen, shared with collaborators and even exported to a PowerPoint, Excel of PDF format.

After reading a few excited posts about how useful it’s going to be I found myself asking a simple question ‘Why would I need to do that?’

Here at Eyeful we spend quite a lot of time encouraging our customers to step away from the tech.

Our tried and tested Presentation Optimisation methodology follows a path that begins with a pen and paper and there’s a good reason for that – it encourages you to think about stories rather than slides.

To me, the ability to write on a bunch of Post-It Notes then digitise and manipulate then seems like it might add unnecessary time and effort into what should be a simple process and is therefore an excellent way to procrastinate – and potentially not much else.

Bringing ideas to life and sharing them effectively is about identifying clear aims and objectives, adding a decent smattering of creativity and then pushing towards your desired outcome with some good old fashioned hard work.

If something will work better on paper, use paper – if it will work better on a computer, get typing. But maybe that’s where the genius of this app lies, in helping identify which creative path will work best for you.

It also seems to gel nicely with how we use tech today. When a teacher writes a homework assignment on the board some children write it down and some simply take a photo with their phone. I’m going to hazard a guess that most of us have taken photos of written information we need to remember or want to share (I personally confess to delighting in capturing weird signs and humorously worded instructions at every opportunity).

We store information in this way because it helps us ensure that the information is completely accurate and can’t fall fowl to bad hand writing or poor spelling (with the obvious exception of the aforementioned signs). It’s factual, unambiguous and easily accessed.

I can see great potential for collaboration too, although I might be a little nervous if I knew my hastily written and individually cryptic notes were going to be shared. I might even want to run a couple of them through a spellchecker before committing them to paper thus creating a process that would go something like this – computer – paper – photo – computer – before anyone else even got to see it.

Whatever you think about the app it does raise some interesting questions about how and why we communicate.

When it comes to presentations those are seemingly easy questions to answer – we use PowerPoint and we want them to buy our product. However the journey to achieving this effectively involves forgetting what you want to achieve and going back to basics to understand what your audience wants to achieve and if the Post-It app can help you achieve that, then I’m all for it.

post it blog

Reviewing the Reviews

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 by Justine<

Its six months since The Presentation Lab book hit the shelves and our initial nervousness about how it would be received has (almost) passed. Quite a few of our friends and customers have commented on how useful a resource it is but we’re realists here at Eyeful and we know that the real test is what people we don’t know think about it.

Many of us read reviews as part of the decision making process and we know that people who write reviews have two distinct areas of motivation. Reviewers generally share their thoughts because they are either delighted or incensed, reviews of a ‘not bad at all’ nature are fairly hard to find and part of the fun of reading reviews is the search for the hidden subtext and skewed perspective that may have spawned them. We know it’s practically impossible for the same hotel to be both disgusting and delightful; reviews are by definition subjective and occasionally tell us much more about the reviewer than the subject.

Reading reviews about something that you’re invested in is an odd experience. Yes, the book was written by our MD Simon Morton, but what it contains is important to us all. It’s the methodology that sets us apart from our competitors, enables us to produce engaging presentations time after time and keeps us enthusiastic about the task at hand. This is the stuff that keeps us all in gainful (and generally enjoyable) employment.

We know that our customers love what we do and that it gives them a real advantage, but our customers know us too, they’ve experienced our passion and expertise first hand. Putting all that into a book is like sending it out into the world completely unsupervised with no responsible adult to shepherd and support its journey. Finding out whether it can stand alone and succeed is nerve racking to say the least.

So, how is it fairing out there all alone in a big, bad world?

Well, despite the obvious temptation to bust the first rule of reviewing and say ‘not bad at all’ we’re going to have to shed some of our traditional British reserve and say ‘pretty damn good’. The fact that people seem to like the book is lovely, but the fact that people are putting the ideas and methodologies into practice for themselves is even better; in fact it’s bloody brilliant!

We love that one reviewer read the book and decided not to do a traditional presentation at all, we’re thrilled that people found a presentation message that works for all types of communication and we feel a small burst of pride every time the words ‘useful’, ‘accessible’ and ‘practical’ appear. It’s also worth noting that Simon felt it a personal triumph when a reviewer cited his ‘sense of humour’ as a selling point.

All in all it seems that The Presentation Lab is doing us proud just by being itself, which makes it a bona fide member of the Eyeful team!

Presentation lab soft copy

Because All Presentation Are Not The Same…

Monday, August 4th, 2014 by Justine<

When people think of presentations they tend to think of them as all being very similar in both structure and design.

Unfortunately for audiences everywhere many of the elements that began the whole furore about ‘Death by PowerPoint’ are still alive and kicking. Text heavy slides still run unchecked through boardrooms and bullet points fly freely around auditoriums while audiences try to wish themselves out of the whole sorry experience.

But thanks to the effort of the revolutionaries and reformers (ourselves included) these things are becoming rarer. Presenters now know that creating engaging, audience centric content is the way forward. Stories are all important and slides are there to support, not hinder, interactive communication.

So far, so good.

But this is no time to rest on our laurels, presentations are still failing and modern audiences have higher expectations too.

It’s time to stop concentrating on the things that all presentations need and start looking at making progress in a more specific, targeted kind of way.

Every type pf presentation has its own pitfalls and opportunities and understanding how to not just cope with, but actually take advantage of, them is the next step to presentation Nirvana.

With this in mind we’ve restructured our website to provide ‘one stop information shops’ that help our customers get straight to the heart of their subject and audience without falling into the trap of repeating past mistakes.

To find out more about any particular type of presentation simply click on the links below or give us a call on 0845 056 8528.

blog2blog3 blog4blog1

 

Internal Presentations – How To Make The Difference

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 by Justine<

The second webinar in our 2014 Summer Season focused on the often neglected area of Internal Presentations.

It’s really tempting to think that Internal Presentations aren’t important, after all most of your audience has to be there and their expectations are probably low, so why waste the time and effort?

Getting it right begins with understanding that you’ve already invested in your presentation, 20 employees away from their desks for an hour has a tangible but hidden cost and wasting that hour will not help you demonstrate any ROI…. Take an Internal presentation to a conference and that hidden investment can be huge.

Internal presentations also have the power to set the standard for communication within your organisation and setting that standard high will have a positive effect on how your team communicate with each other and, more importantly, with your customers and prospects.

Not only that but a clear, engaging, well delivered Internal Presentation can even tame that trickiest of beasts – office gossip.

To find out more about why Internal Presentations matter and how you can use them to communicate much more than simply the information they contain click below to hear our Internal Presentation webinar.

If you’d like to know more, get in touch and one of our specialist presentation consultants will be happy to show you just how effective your Internal Presentations can be.

Out With the Old…

Friday, July 11th, 2014 by Justine<

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.

As we’ve said before new isn’t always better and telling the difference between the next big thing and the latest one hit wonder can be a challenge, but it’s also true that great things wear well.

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….

 

Customer Care the Eyeful Way

Friday, June 27th, 2014 by Justine<

Successful companies need to master two things, a great product and great customer service.

Some companies approach this through a process that should strike fear into the hearts of consumers (and business owners) everywhere and is most charitably described as ‘managing customer expectations’.

All too often this actually means lowering customer expectations so that they’ll be impressed by whatever they get.

We do things a little differently here at Eyeful.

Many of our customers’ approach us with presentations that they know are failing visually and while we’re more than happy to help them spruce things up in the short term, the value that we can add goes much deeper.

Anyone who has experienced our full Presentation Optimisation service will know that while our slides are indeed gorgeous they are also engaging and effective – two things that all great communication needs to be.

So we’ve got the great product part licked, what about the customer service bit?

Well over 80% of our customers return to us, presentation after presentation, and that’s because we work hard to raise, and then exceed, their expectations.

Right from the first panicky phone call we let customers know exactly what’s possible by taking the time to understand their business, their audience and their objectives before we even start work on their presentation.

For some customers the whole thing can seem a little bemusing, having brought in their old banger for an MOT, it’s a little disconcerting to drive off in a brand new Ferrari – and with their wallet intact.

Here one of our specialist presentation consultants, Sally Bailey explains how we build and maintain great customer relationships.

Finding out what a bit of Eyeful love can do for your business communications is easy, just get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help.

The Three P’s That Make The World Cup More Than Just Football

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 by Justine<

Apparently something interesting will be starting tomorrow.

It’s called the World Cup and you may have heard some chatter about it.

So, ever keen to remain topical I have been tasked to blog about it and somehow make it relevant to business presentations. I’ve ventured into football once before when a certain Mr Klinsmann decided to use PowerPoint for strategy demonstrations (and whatever the results on the pitch, I’ll always be grateful to him for giving me an obvious hook to hang the blog on)!

Having established that I have very few credentials, I’m going to plough on regardless and see where we end up…

Obviously the football itself is a big part of The World Cup, but much like the Olympics the sport is not the whole story.

Even as someone who has never willingly watched a football match, there are a few (well four) things even I know about the World Cup. I know that England won it in 1966 and after that we’re down to the three P’s Paul, Pickles and Panini.

Paul is of course the psychic cephalopod that correctly ‘predicted’ the outcome of matches in the 2010 World Cup. Initially specialising in the assessment of German chances of victory, Paul went on the correctly predict the outcome of the Spain-Netherlands final.

Pickles was the dog that sniffed out the missing Jules Rimet Trophy in 1966 after it was stolen from a stamp exhibition (!) in Westminster. Unfortunately Pickles wasn’t on hand in 1983 was it was stolen for a second time (or was it)?

Panini are the makers of the sticker albums that have been a feature of the World Cup for as long as I can remember. I may have even been sucked in to collecting at some time in the early eighties (kids will do just about anything to fit in), but even at that tender age I could have told you what a couple of mathematicians from the University of Geneva have just worked out – that the economics of completing the album on your own are truly frightening.

So with Brazil 2014 upon us, how on earth can these three P’s help us be better at another one – presentations?

As I established at the beginning, I’m pretty much ambivalent about the game itself. But there are things associated with it that have piqued my interest and I’m always up for the sweepstake*.

The next time you present it may be worth considering that at least some of your audience will be a lot like me – not really interested in what you’re about to present.

It’s entirely plausible that they won’t be impressed by statistics (145 goals scored in the 2010 World Cup means nothing to me), and very likely that their enthusiasm will be pretty hard to ignite (although I’m keeping a keen eye of Terrence the Tortoise). While the main event won’t have much to interest me, some of the stuff lurking on the sidelines certainly will.

A tough crowd; but not an impossible one – if you take the time to try and understand them and create a story that means something to them.

Knowing what interests and motivates your audience will enable you to create a presentation that engages them and turning around a disinterested audience is one of the best (and most productive) experiences in business.

To find out more check out the Audience Heatmap section of The Presentation Lab book (page 210) or give us a ring.

1950 world cup

*When Bosnia and Herzegovina lift the cup in Brazil I, for one, shall be cock-a-hoop

“You’ve really changed things here”

Thursday, May 29th, 2014 by Simon<

There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ve lucked out when it comes to choosing a profession.

My passion for presentations and the art of engaging audiences has fuelled some amazing adventures and experiences across the globe and latterly, becoming the author of a successful book on the subject is the cherry on the cake. Everyday I’m surrounded by the incredibly creative Eyeful team who not only support my wildest flights of fancy but also act as catalysts/provocateurs for the next phase of the journey. And, to top it all, I get to spend time with some truly amazing customers. Yesterday was one of those days.

Yesterday was spent with the CMO of a multinational technology company. It wasn’t notable because of a whopping slice of new revenue or kicking off a timezone spanning project. It was powerful because of five short words:

“You’ve really changed things here”

Let me give you a little background. We were first called upon 12 months ago when the European office had identified that their presentations were simply not working. They had the wherewithal to recognise that the problem was not because their PowerPoint slides looked a little shabby or that their marketing teams needed their softskills polished. They’d identified more fundamental areas to focus on – going back to the foundations of how they developed their presentations and building them back up again. Which is where we slotted into place.

What followed was a series of full-on, interactive workshops with teams across Europe sharing our Presentation Optimisation process, from Audience Heatmaps via Audience Pathway Storyflows and finishing up at a Blended Presenting strategy. Presentation Optimisation became Presentation Optimization as we were invited to start working with the mothership.

However it’s not the scale of the engagement with the customer or the jet set lifestyle that’s exciting (although we are grateful!), it’s the impact it’s having across their business.

“You’ve really changed things here” means that the fundamental processes we’ve shared with the international teams are now being applied day in, day out. As a matter of course, executives ask to see the Audience Heatmap for the presentation they are preparing to deliver. The simplicity of the Audience Pathway presentation structure is being applied in other forms of communication, from e-mails to internal comms documents. The ‘simplicity is not stupidity’ mantra is working…and things are changing.

We’ve spoken before about our ‘funny tummy feeling’ measure of success. The realisation that our good ideas coupled with a great organisation willing to try something different can have such an impact took the ‘funny tummy feeling’ off the scale. I’m still smiling 24 hours after the meeting which has to be a good sign…

To learn more about the Presentation Optimisation approach, pick up a copy of The Presentation Lab book or, better still, get in touch. We’d love to hear more about you and your business presentation frustrations.

The Story Behind Presentation Optimisation

Friday, May 23rd, 2014 by Justine<

Ten years ago Eyeful Presentations was a mere gleam in the eye of our MD Simon Morton.

Right from the beginning Eyeful was unafraid to ask awkward questions and challenge traditional presentation thinking.

Being the stroppy new kid was great, but when it became apparent that what we were doing wasn’t only different from everything else it was also more effective at engaging audiences it was time to grow up a bit.

The business was growing and as more Eyefulites came on board it was increasingly important to pull all the rebellious thinking together into something that sounded just a little less radical. After all our customers are serious people, with serious messages and it’s important that we can be serious too (but only when we need to).

Presentation Optimisation was a term born to describe how we create business communication that has real impact – a sort of tourist guide for the Eyeful customer journey.

But like any good child that’s been loved and nurtured Presentation Optimisation has grown to be so much more than a catchphrase. It informs everything we do and develops to encompass every new technology and keep pace with the ever changing presentation landscape.

It sits at the heart of our business and continues to be the edge that we (and our customers) use to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Here, one of our specialist consultants, Sally Bailey, explains just what a difference it makes….

Reaping the benefits of Presentation Optimisation is easy, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

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).