Simon Morton‘s career as an executive for a technology company exposed him to more PowerPoint than was good for him. In 2004 Simon founded Eyeful Presentations with two aims; ridding the world of Death by PowerPoint and enjoying a relaxing, family future. Unfortunately for Simon (but great for businesses everywhere), his design and storytelling skills made a real impact.
In this conversation, Simon talks about his Think, Act and Deliver Differently initiative.
Geetesh: Simon can you tell us more about your Think, Act and Deliver Differently initiative?
Simon: Well, Think, Act and Deliver Differently has been part of the Eyeful messaging now for probably a couple of years, it coincided just before we launched The Presentation Lab book.
We’ve been really very active in sharing it with some very large organizations. I’ve been jumping on planes to all over the world, talking to people and sharing with them a really concise summary of what we believe is wrong with presentations.
You can break it down into three simple sections…
Think… This is when people don’t put the thought into their presentation in the first place. So they’ll dive straight into PowerPoint or Keynote or whatever it might be, and actually they need to think about the audience, they need to think about their message, they need to understand what they want to achieve from that presentation? And then off the back of that, start approaching the presentation process differently…
Act… And that’s the Act piece. So that could be around story, it could be around the structure of the presentation…
Deliver… Ultimately we move people through to Deliver Differently, which has nothing to do with soft skills and everything to do with engaging with your audience in the most appropriate way.
So you could be using a laptop, you could be using a tablet, you could be using a whiteboard, or you could be using a placemat, a large piece of paper, to allow you to engage with the audience on their terms.
It’s remarkably simple and common sense, but common sense isn’t particularly common these days.
So we spend a lot of time working with organizations, large and small in getting them to take a step back from the day to day hubbub of presentations and approach them in a completely different way- and that’s what Think, Act and Deliver Differently is all about.
Geetesh: How is Microsoft partnering with you to spread this message and to motivate people to deliver better presentations?
Simon: The Microsoft partnership is really exciting; it all started from a couple of people within Microsoft reading The Presentation Lab book, which is chunked down into this Think, Act and Deliver Differently approach.
We got talking and what was going to be a series of blogs then evolved into something a lot more exciting – which is a series of web videos supported with Sway documents.
The idea being that we give people an idea, we spark their imaginations in ways of approaching presentations differently and then we give them something meaty to get their hands on, in terms of worksheets and best practice guidelines.
So we’re excited because it allows us to spread what we believe is a really important message to a huge audience worldwide. And equally, Microsoft are pleased because it’s giving people the opportunity to make the most out of what is some really clever and exciting technology.
Their presentation tools go way beyond PowerPoint now; PowerPoint continues to evolve, but now with things like Sway and a whole host of other different tools that Microsoft have got on offer, they’re encouraging people to think about presentations in a much different way and that’s what’s exciting.
So the result is a month long series of web videos that are being hosted and promoted by Microsoft; it’s the culmination of a huge amount of work, from a whole bunch of people here at Eyeful.
So go and have a look at what all the fuss is about and please don’t keep it to yourself, one of the things that we’re excited about is the fact that this has given us a platform that is shareable. So it means that your colleagues can create greater presentations. Spread it across the company, make it part of your internal training, your internal education, because presentations are such an important part of communication now in business.
Just a couple of notches better than you were last week will have a huge impact on audiences and on the clarity of your message.
Hopefully, you’ll find some of the pearls of wisdom of value as you go forward and like I say, please share, it would be great.