Posts Tagged ‘Presentation Skills’

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.

 

 

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Good Ideas Travel Well – Great Ideas Do It In Style

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 by Justine<

Eyeful Ireland’s very own Ronan Kinahan has been hob-nobbing with the great and good of Irish politics and industry. Ronan joined some very influential figures on a recent Irish trade mission to the gulf and was thrilled by the reception.

Initially expecting to speak to around 100 delegates word had obviously got round that he was on the bill and registrations were closed at 400 attendees! Never overwrought by the scope of a project Ronan went on to speak to an enthusiastic audience about Vibe Integrated Presentation Skills before moving on to demonstrate just what Eyeful can do to elevate the communication and engagement power of the lowly slide.

Despite the whole experience having the potential to overwhelm (with a side helping of star struck and a soupcon of etiquette panic) Ronan managed to keep a cool head and his seminar was a fine example of how to get it right.

Presenting on how to present is a very singular challenge and an audience can easily be lost if there’s the merest hint of ‘do as I say, not as I do’. Fortunately for Ronan and, more importantly, the 400 eager faces that awaited his wisdom the whole thing was a resounding success and created a lot of interest and eagerness to learn more.

Eyeful Ireland can help your presentations shine and you don’t even have to be in the Emerald Isle to take advantage of Ronan’s expertise, simply drop us a line or pick up the phone and we’ll make your presentations stand out from the crowd.

Ronan framed

Pictured left to right: Julie Sinnamon Chief Executive Enterprise Ireland  / Enda Kenny Prime Minister Ireland / Ronan Kinahan (Vibe / Eyeful) / John Bruton Minister for Enterprise

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The Eyeful Labs Experience (As Told By Our Lovely Customers)

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 by Justine<

Eyeful Labs has been making waves for a while now and it’s fair to say that the results are better than we could have hoped for.

Those that dare to venture into our dedicated presentation environment all tend to leave smiling and often compliment us on the quality of our sandwiches, but there’s much more going on than a nice day out of the office and a free lunch….

Here some visitors from iS Health tell us all about their Labs experience and share why it’s worth taking the time to consider your presentation in a different light.

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If you’d like to chat about how Eyeful Labs can help your company think differently about presentations (and presenting) just get in touch, we love to chat!

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Guest Blog – Successful Speaking

Friday, November 15th, 2013 by Justine<

For many presenters the challenge of speaking is the most daunting part of the process. While many audiences will be prepared to forgive the odd verbal fumble if the presentation itself is relevant and engaging it’s still important to get it right. We asked Priscilla Morris, speaking guru and friend of Eyeful to share some tricks of the trade…

Did you realise that speaking in public is scientifically proven to be one of the scariest challenges we face? Many people avoid presenting because they fear the unknown. “I’ll forget my words”, they say or, more tellingly, “they might not like me”.

Let’s take away some of the mystique associated with public speaking and approach it as a skill that can be learnt. Yes, extroverts will always find it easier than introverts, but anyone can be successful if they understand that delivery is all-important. So how can you achieve the right balance?

1)         CLARITY
Your message needs to be clear, i.e. plan the structure with care and the vocabulary with reference to the audience.

Your delivery needs to be precise, i.e. speech should be articulated firmly, and you should have an awareness of accent, which might form a barrier to understanding.

2)         RATE
Do you understand the pace at which we process information? This varies according to size of audience and acoustics of venue, but generally, it will be much slower than you think. Unfortunately we all have internal timing, which determines our average speed. If people say you are too fast, they are really saying they cannot process the information you are giving them.

Learn to use pauses to give time for thought and to stop you gathering speed.

3)         INTEREST
Your audience will opt out if you don’t keep their interest, and to do that you have to introduce lots of variation.

We call this Vocal Modulation and it includes the use of pitch, pace, pause, power, tone and inflection.

We have a habitual way of using these but can also learn to take control and use them as markers and highlighters within a speech.

4)         SINCERITY
If you have ever heard someone reading a speech aloud, you will probably have experienced a lack of this essential element. Sincerity comes from emotion and we can only put this across by making a clear personal connection with the words.

All speakers should aim for spontaneity and this manifests itself in the ability of the speaker to convince us that they mean every word you. You should allow your personality to come through and if this is not a naturally comfortable environment for you, create a persona that takes over when you present. None of this is easy, but it all comes from the last of my tips……

5)         PRACTICE
When training, a particularly erudite professor told me, that you should do 1 hour’s practice for every 1 minute of speaking. This may fill you with horror but remember we are talking about realisation from start to finish, so it includes research and planning. However, speaking your words are aloud is also vital. If you cannot stand before your audience with total belief in your ability to succeed, nerves are likely to affect your performance. Try to work from cue cards, because a speech written out in full often sounds more like an essay.

If you take some of these ideas on-board you will give yourself CONFIDENCE – and so, we return neatly to the beginning.

Obviously, these tips are not exhaustive and space has determined that they are rather simplistic but just remember to be:

C.R.I.S.P.  when speaking in public and then you will

SPEAK YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS!

Priscilla Morris is an expert in vocal communication who has spent the last 27 years as a global LAMDA examiner in performance and public speaking. Drawing on her own experience as an actress and incorporating her in-depth knowledge of the science of communication, Priscilla is in huge demand as both a speaking trainer and a public speaker in her own right. In 2000 Priscilla set up her business, Loud & Clear Voice Coaching to provide specialist training and insight to those who want to communicate effectively.

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Wise Words

Friday, November 8th, 2013 by Justine<

When it comes to great communicators there are a few names that raise little debate and with Remembrance Sunday coming up we thought we’d have a look at one of the select few – Winston Churchill.

Best known as a politician, statesman and inspiring speaker who wrote all his own material, Churchill was also a noted journalist and the recipient of a noble prize for literature.

Churchill is often cited as one of the greatest examples of ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’, but how much of his often (mis)quoted wit and wisdom can be of use to modern businesses? Quite a lot as it turns out….

On writing:

“This report, by its, very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.”

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

On speaking:

 “There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.”

 “I’m just preparing my impromptu remarks.”

 “Life is fraught with opportunities to keep your mouth shut.”

 On getting your message across:

 “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.”

 On connecting with your audience:

“A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”

 “Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself, believe.”

 “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

 On succeeding:

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”

 “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

 On presentations (probably):

 “I only believe in statistics that I doctored myself.”

 “When you get a thing the way you want it, leave it alone.”

 “Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge.”

And prophetically, in response to an amusing (and apocryphal) recent report of a presentation audience rounding on the presenter

 “When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite.”

churchill

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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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Selling With Stories

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 by Justine<

Nestled between the excitement of holidays and the anticipation of Christmas, autumn is a challenging time of year for sales teams everywhere. It’s hard to keep up the enthusiasm as the nights draw in and the leaves begin falling – but there’s still work to be done, and targets to be met.

Webinar logoMany of you will be about to embark on the annual trawl through the lost opportunities of spring but before you pick up the phone it’s time to review why they were lost in the first place and what new offering you have for them. Maybe they have decided to defer their investment until next year or maybe you just failed to make a connection, and if you couldn’t connect in spring, how will you connect in autumn?

Many sales teams will have been using the same collateral for almost a year and that’s a long time in business. Products and services change and evolve constantly and your customers’ needs and expectations do too.

Here at Eyeful we know that making your sales team achieve that final push is easier than you might think, all it takes to breathe new life into lagging sales is a little fresh thinking.

With this in mind we’ve put together an autumnal update webinar designed to breathe new life into sales teams everywhere.

We’ll help you understand your audience better, reinvigorate your sales, explain why slides are out and stories are in and give you all the tips you’ll need to communicate effectively anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

It’s not about airy fairy strategies and fanciful ideas, it’s about the stuff that works and brings real results.

It’s free to attend simply click through the links below to register and we’ll help you make those sales.

September 30th 12.00 GMT

September 30th 17.00 GMT

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Blended Presenting – The Webinar

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 by Justine<

On Wednesday September 18th at 16.00 GMT our esteemed leader, Mr Simon Morton, will be teaming up with our friends at Brainshark to tell the world about how our Blended Presenting methodology is changing presentation delivery.

The way business is done has changed, business interactions are often less formal than the traditional board room or seminar, but every opportunity still involves presenting. Getting the balance right and ensuring that you get your message across every time is about embracing new skills and technologies and then learning to use them appropriately.

The key to success is having a strong, engaging story and then conveying it to your audience in a way that resonates with them.

Much of our methodology resolves around good old common sense, trying to present to 50 people on an iPad is a fool’s errand, but Blended Presenting has a little more magic to it than that.

Simon will be sharing a little Eyeful love with all the attendees, giving them the insights that make the difference between giving a presentation and making a real impression.

To register simply click through this link.

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Eyeful Training – Our Attendees Tell It How It Is

Friday, August 9th, 2013 by Justine<

Here at Eyeful we believe that the only way to find out if something is any good is to ask.

So we quizzed recent attendees of one of our’ Creating Effective Presentations’ training sessions to see what they thought – and here’s what they said…

“Compared to other training it was one of the better and more effective ones I have received. I have taken away a great deal of understanding and knowledge from this course that I believe will help me a great deal in future client presentations. The trainers on the course were exceedingly well versed in their presentation skills and they had a great deal of experience which really shone through in their delivery. They spoke passionately about their fields of expertise, which is essential in capturing the attention and imagination of the participants.”

“It was really interactive, which made it more engaging and memorable.”

“The course gave a great overview of creating an effective presentation.”

“The course made me realise that it’s one thing to create an engaging presentation and another to be able to stand there and deliver it.”

“Definitely – I wish I had this kind of training when I was at university, students and even lecturers would really benefit. I think most people would benefit from this workshop, especially people who often have to deliver client facing presentations.”

“I would recommend this to anyone that works with PowerPoint on a regular basis.”

“Very good, the trainers were friendly and easily approachable.”

“I felt the emphasis on knowing your story, before you even open PowerPoint, was a very strong. It cemented the fact that PowerPoint is the tool and not the most important part of a presentation.”

“I really enjoyed the design elements of the work shop as I’m sure for most other people did, too. Just some shortcuts that we learnt and some of the tools available in PP that I wasn’t aware of are really going to be handy in ensuring we save time whilst creating PPs and making the finished product look a lot more professional. Some of the points in the more theoretical elements of the training were quite obvious if you think about it but the way that they were delivered made it very memorable and ensured that the key take-away was that the content of a presentation is the most important part, which a lot of people forget as they get caught up in design.”

Not only that but all the attendees agreed that the session was informative and most of then found it enjoyable too.

If you’re interested in how our training can help you get more from your presentations you can read all about what training we offer or cut to the chase and drop us a line.

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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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