Posts Tagged ‘Presentation Skills’

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


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.

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.”


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.

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

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.

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.

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….?


Your Amazing Audience

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 by Justine<

We are well aware that we could be accused of ‘banging on a bit’ when it comes to your audience but not only are we unapologetic, we’re not going to stop either.

It’s important to know why your audience get bored and what you can do about it, and it’s important to engage them, but that’s not all you need to worry about. Your audience is armed with the most advanced tech possible – the Human brain and that means they’re clever enough to (mis)understand things in a phenomenal way.

For example 55% of people are able to read this


And an even larger percentage can make sense of this

 words 2


Amazing as this is, you need your audience to understand your message, not a message their brain interpreted from your presentation.

Knowing your audience is the key to clear communication, you need to tell them a story that interests them, pitch facts and figures appropriately and deliver your presentation in a way that connects with them.

If you don’t there’s no guessing what their brains will take away…..


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

Rock ‘N’ Rose

Wold Top Brewery

Firestar Toys Ltd

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

Nectar Logo

Calling All Whistleblowers….

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013 by Justine<

The recent leaking of NSA presentations has got us scratching our heads here at Eyeful Towers.

Poor Presentation causes International Incident’ is not a headline we ever expected to see, yet it’s actually happening…..

Online Espionage aside, we were wondering just how bad presentations can be, and decided it was time to give a voice to all those who have suffered in silence.

So as Edward Snowden continues his search for exile in far flung corners of the globe we’re offering you the opportunity to whistle blow without incurring any airfares.

Simply click through this link and tell us about the worst presentation you’ve ever seen. You don’t have to name names if you don’t want to, we’re interested in the crime not the criminal. Just tell us what made the presentation so bad and we’ll try to set the world to rights on your behalf.

If you’re unsure on what makes a bad presentation, or you’re unfortunate enough to have never seen a good one, take a peek at our 10 commandments below to see what’s what.

As if saving you the trouble of planning an escape route wasn’t enough, we’ll pick one of you out of the hat to receive some chocs and flowers as a thank-you.