Modern presentations are the product of years of advances in software and technology and making them visually stunning is easier than ever before. Not only that, but there are a plethora of books telling you, minute step by minute step, how to get PowerPoint ‘popping’ – The Presentation Lab is not one of them.
So once you’ve stripped out the whizz bang of visual impact, what’s left to fill a book?
Well, for those of you who like your presentations to connect and engage rather than dazzle and stupefy, there’s a whole lot of great stuff to get your teeth into and here’s a quick look at what’s on offer….
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.
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!
There’s not much that can get the internet buzzing quite like someone else’s embarrassment and if that person also happens to be in the public eye, then all the better.
This week has seen Michael Bay (Producer/Director of Transformers, Pearl Harbour, Armageddon et al) in for a real battering over his recent appearance at the International Consumer Electronics Show.
Michael has, in his usual, style been brutally honest about the whole thing and ended his explanation with a statement that I’m sure rings true with a lot of people who find themselves in front of an audience “I guess live shows aren’t my thing”.
Fortunately for Bay, his future as a film director is unlikely to be affected but we’re pretty sure that there are a lot of presenters out there who genuinely feel that their future might.
We’ve blogged about the art of public speaking frequently, from seeking the wisdom of Winston Churchill to sharing some professional tips from a vocal communication expert. And when it comes to the risks involved in giving a great presentation we’ve both seen and experienced what can happen when tech gremlins strike.
A great presentation needs two things, great content and an engaging presenter. The more observant will notice that I avoided saying ‘great presenter’ and there’s a reason for this. What an audience wants from a presenter is honesty and knowledge.
It’s easy for those of us sitting behind keyboards to pontificate on how he could have handled it better, but I can’t help feeling that something along the lines of “Cut. Rewind the teleprompter. Michael Bay introduces the awesome Samsung curved TV – take two” might well have showed the sort of honesty that audiences warm to. And practising without the teleprompter could well have helped him ace the knowledge aspect too.
Great presenting is not about getting everything perfectly right, it’s about making a connection and the best way of doing that is by being yourself.
Samsung has leapt head first into the on-going tablet wars with the launch of its new Galaxy Pro tablet range. Rumours have been circulating for a while but the official launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas yesterday brings a new contender to the tablet landscape.
So far there have been two main choices for would be tablet owners, the iPad and the Surface. Regular readers will know that we’ve investigated the faults and merits of each on several occasions and tried in vain to negotiate a productive peace between the two camps.
Obviously our coverage so far has been somewhat coloured by what we want from a tablet – we readily admit to a certain business/presentation bias – but we don’t think we’re alone in wanting functionality, connectivity and accessibility (and if it can throw in some stunning looks as well, then all the better).
Samsung have chosen to pitch their tent right on the frontline of the Apple versus Microsoft’s stand off and if early reviews are anything to go by we’re in for some really interesting times.
Galaxy Pro is armed to take on both sides and is pulling no punches, pricing has not yet been released but we know that’s an area where Samsung can kick a little butt. The Spec is right up there too – Samsung have obviously done their homework and rather than sidestep the competition by inventing themselves a niche they’re charging full speed into what other competitors seem to consider hallowed ground.
This is no imitator or pretender to the throne so if Apple and Microsoft are listening, now might be a good time to kiss and make up, because it looks like it might need the best of both of you to take this one on….
We’ve had a nosy around the reviews and we think they may well be right, but as always getting the best from this new piece of software relies on taming the dreaded ‘tech compatibility’ issues.
If you have a Bluetooth enabled PC or laptop running Office 2013 (not RT) and a smartphone with a Windows 8 operating system you’re in luck. With one (or more correctly two) quick downloads you can now use your phone to point, advance and display the speaker notes for your presentation. Which we have to say is kinda cool for you – and fairly frustrating for those of us left milling about in the tech wastelands until it becomes available on other operating systems.
The Office Remote App will also allow you to dance gracefully around Excel spread sheets and Word documents too, should the fancy take you.
Great stuff indeed but we feel compelled to add in a couple of caveats:
We’ve previously shared our views on the over use of smartphones and therefore feel duty bound to mention that seeing the presenter ‘on the phone’ could be seen as a green light for the audience to do the same.
It’s also worth mentioning that some of the more mischievous among us have noted the possibility that this brings for audience members to ‘encourage progression’ of any particularly tedious presentations that they are subjected to. All it takes is an industrious attendee with the app and an insecure Bluetooth connection and you’ll all be enjoying coffee and Danish pastries sooner than you think…
That aside, we come out in favour of stuff that makes great presentations better. But for those of you still hawking around text heavy, egocentric slides this gizmo won’t make any difference at all. Sorry, but flashing the tech will never be as effective as an engaging presentation, in the same way that delivering cold, soggy fish and chips in a Learjet doesn’t make them taste any better.
For the last 11 years the great and good of the UK bid and proposal industry have got together to share ideas, learn new skills, review best practices and, let’s be frank, catch up on a bit of industry gossip.
As each year passed, the venue got bigger and the delegate list more international, culminating last week in the largest shindig to date set in the beautiful surroundings of the Cotswolds. I was naturally pleased as punch to be invited to speak at this years event and share the pitch power of Blended Presenting, offer views on Sales Enablement and share a sneaky peek into the forthcoming Presentation Lab book.
A Welcoming Crowd
The first thing that struck me was how welcoming everyone was. It was a truly supportive environment with old friends reunited and new contacts quickly being formed over coffee (or beer as the evening started).
There was a real sense of the industry wanting to drive things forward (indeed, the theme of this year’s event was ‘The Moves To Win’) and each and every delegate seemed hungry for the next addition to their skill set.
The Potential of The Presentation
The positive vibes and happy enthusiasm of the delegates continued as I shared our experiences and ideas around the topic of Blended Presenting.
The presentation ambled through all manner of topics, from audience heatmaps, the longstanding issue of the Presentation Paradox and the power of story as part of the entire sales/bid process (including a nod to the hot topic of Sales Enablement).
The exciting conclusion I garnered from the audience was that the bid and proposal sector completely understands the value of a powerful and well-planned presentation. The biggest frustration is that they are hamstrung with the same issues of not enough time or resource to do the job properly.
Key Takeaway – Turning Frustration Into Hope…& Results
Despite the all-too-familiar story of limited time and resource, there was a palpable sense that things are starting to change…fast.
The people at the forefront of this change, delegates at events like APMP UK, are starting to make waves and demonstrate the value of well-resourced bids and pitch presentations. They are the teams creating the most compelling propositions, delivering the most persuasive presentations and ultimately winning the most deals.
The big question is how long can they keep it a secret? My suggestion is that if you have anything to do with bids or proposals, you need to get yourself along to the nearest APMP event and find out from those in the know…
Tablet computing has been one of the most exciting recent revolutions in business technology. As soon as the idea of a compact, touch screen device was mooted presenters everywhere began to get excited and we’re not ashamed to say that we were amongst them.
The iPad is undoubtedly gorgeous and the interface is sublime but we’ve always been frustrated by its limited functionality when it come to business in general and presentations in particular. We’ve worked hard to make sure that our customers can get the best from their iPads but we can’t escape the feeling that it has consistently failed to fulfil its early promise. It’s almost as if Apple’s baby has a first class degree in business studies and takes cool to a new level but can’t progress from stacking the beans in Tesco.
When Microsoft first started talking about the Surface we hoped that salvation was on the horizon. Most businesses use Microsoft’s ubiquitous Office software and we dared to dream of a tablet that gave business users everything they needed in one place.
If we’re honest we weren’t disappointed, we got our USB port, full use of the software we love and a dinky keyboard attachment too. 11 months on and the Surface has failed to make the impact (or profit) that was hoped. Microsoft’s baby has a first class degree and a great job in the city but alas, it also seems to have become the oddball geek in the corner that everyone’s a bit unsure of.
Microsoft has stood their ground, they know that their product has great potential and they’ve not been shy in forcing direct comparisons. The video below is a great example of this, but unfortunately they’ve missed the point. People buy an iPad because they want an iPad, not because they need one.
Which brings us to Surface 2. Launched this week, the Surface 2 is much improved, it has better screen resolution, a two position kick stand, longer battery life, new accessories and is both lighter and thinner. It’s all great stuff and means that this iteration is a real improvement on the original and for those that buy tech with their heads it’s a real contender.
Unfortunately when it comes to a big ticket item like a tablet, it’s a stronger person than me that can rate need above want.
It does seem that Microsoft know that they simply can’t compete against the iPad because the spiel for the Surface 2 includes what I think is a very interesting comparison, Microsoft claim (and they’re careful about this sort of thing) that the Surface 2 is more powerful than 95% of laptops available today.
While the level of improvement that Microsoft have incorporated into the Surface 2 should improve their sales, I can’t help thinking that maybe the biggest difference will come from some strategic repositioning.
So, what should Microsoft be saying to business users?
How about this? ‘If you want an iPad, buy an iPad. If you need a laptop take a good look at Surface 2.’
Last week our MD Simon Morton joined our friends at Brainshark to chat about the blended presenting revolution. Simon explained how the presentation landscape is changing, why stories sell and how to maximise on every opportunity that comes your way.
Blended presenting is all about the difference between giving a presentation and making a real impression, and the magic starts way before you power up your laptop.
For those of you who weren’t able to join the webinar live, it’s now available for you to listen to at your leisure simply by clicking on the icon below.
This week Disney has been trialling its ‘interactive cinema experience’.
For those of you not up to speed, the idea is that film goers take their iPad or PC into the cinema (or the front room) and using the Disney Second Screen app they can enhance their cinematic experience.
The app can best be described as live time DVD extras, each movie has an interactive reel full of behind the scenes info, games and trivia, which runs concurrently with the film.
Apparently we’re all going to love trying to concentrate on two things at once.
Without opening the whole ‘multi-tasking’ debate I’m a little sceptical that anyone (especially children who are the initial target audience) can successfully achieve this. And on a side note it would also be sad to see the last ‘mobile free’ bastion disappear, ‘sorry I was in the cinema’ is practically the only viable excuse left for being incommunicado in a modern, tech hungry, world.
We all know that a lot of the tech advances that start as entertainment filter through to business users and maybe this is one that will actually work better for business than it does for kids.
Recently John McCain was caught playing poker on his smart phone in a senate committee meeting. Despite the fact that I personally feel that anyone prodding at their phone during casual conversation (never mind a meeting) should need an anaesthetic for its removal, it’s actually fairly widely accepted that this goes on. Many people simply cannot bear to be disconnected from the wonders of modern communication for more than a few minutes; we’re all very busy people (cue the Friday funny below).
But are we missing a trick here? If you’re presenting and your audience is going to be emailing, texting and tweeting anyway then maybe the best way to keep them engaged is to hijack the very device they’re surreptitiously using.
We’ll need to hang on a while and see how the second screen revolution progresses before we start devising dual level presentations, and when we do there’ll be a lot of hard work involved in getting in right. Twice the interaction could easily mean twice as boring or half as engaging.
In the meantime we need to keep those phones and tablets where they belong by making sure that every presentation we give connects with its audience and holds their attention. By achieving this we could restore a tech free oasis in a world that badly needs it ‘sorry I missed your call/email/text/tweet, I was in a presentation’….