The ability to communicate in a structured and understandable way is essential for supporting decision-making in a company. Presentations are the standard communication tool for this. But one party always has to do the work: either the presenter or the addressee. We explain, writing as fellow practitioners, how to structure complex problems for communication in a logical way and formulate messages that are self-explanatory.
Professional communication is based on three elements: suitable content, clear structure and precise graphic design. In this book we outline an eight-step process that focuses on structure as the fundamental link between content and design. Using a fictional case study that highlights our method, we show how to structure topics so that you can get to grips with even the most complex problems.
Presenting complex content convincingly
Eibo Schulz-Wolfgramm ist Geschäftsführer der Agentur K16, einer Spezialagentur für Businesspräsentationen. Er ist als Dozent für die Visualisierung von Präsentationen tätig.
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PYRAMIDS - THE MOST STABLE STRUCTURES IN THE WORLDThe Pyramids of Giza have fascinated mankind for over 4,000 years. It is not just their size and appearance that has aroused our interest: their stability, too, is unique. These tombs of the Pharaohs are the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. And this is due not least, of course, to their basic design. Each of the huge stone blocks from which they are made sits on at least two others. No single storm could ever leave a mark on these buildings, let alone topple them.The same principles as those underlying the construction of the pyramids can and should be used by you when formulating your arguments. This will help ensure that you can successfully transmit what you are seeking to communicate. ESCALATE TO THE MOST ESSENTIALWe can thank Barbara Minto, an American communication consultant, for the Pyramid Principle. To improve the communication skills of her colleagues, this former McKinsey consultant developed the basics of pyramid thinking as practiced in business. That was in the late 1960s. Since then, the Pyramid Principle has been adopted globally as a tool for sorting large amounts of information and presenting important topics in a simple yet compelling manner. In short, it is the proven basis upon which strong communication structures can be built.But what is it about the pyramid that makes it so special? Why is it so revolutionary in this context? The short answer to this is that by giving your presentations a pyramid structure, with the most important point you wish to make placed at the very top of the pyramid (and therefore at the beginning of the presentation), you can make it much easier for your readership or audience to understand what you are trying to convey. This is the case regardless of which presentation software you use, especially since such software did not exist in the 1960s.
INTRODUCTION Do or Die at the Projector Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" About this Book Communicating into the Fast Track Make Yourself Understood Logic is the Key Structure First Training is Everything From One Practitioner to Another The Foundations of Structured Communication Triangology
UNDERSTANDING THE PYRAMID - GIVE YOUR ARGUMENTS A SOLID FOUNDATION Pyramids - The Most Stable Structures in the World Escalate to the Most Essential Miss Marple versus Columbo The "Emergency Call Principle" Separating the Thinking and Writing Processes Summary
DETERMINING WHAT IS REQUIRED - IDENTIFY THE KEY QUESTION Your Thoughts Need Space A Key Question is Fundamental The Key Question is Rooted in the Baseline Scenario The Key Question is also Formed in Part by Possible Problems and Challenges Formulating the Key Question Case Study: Harry's Gourmet Summary
STRUCTURING THE TASK - EXPLORE THE TOPIC Gain Insight by Asking Questions Master any Topic Using a Structured Question Tree Structuring Topics: Top-Down or Bottom-Up? A Perfect Question Tree is Characterized by a "Golden Descent" The MECE Principle Ensures that the Logic is Watertight Question Trees are an Ideal Tool for Project Planning Gathering Data and Facts for Answers for the Question Tree Case Study: Harry's Gourmet Summary
ADDRESSEE ANALYSIS - THINK YOURSELF INTO YOUR OBJECTIVES AND TARGET GROUPS Time is the Most Valuable Commodity Success Depends on the Approach Taken Analysis of the Main Targets of Your Message A Typical Communication Error Knowledge (of the Target Group) is Power Addressee Analysis - Who will be in the Room? The Problem of the Mixed Group Case Study: Harry's Gourmet Summary
DEFINING THE KEY MESSAGE - FORMULATE YOUR CENTRAL STATEMENT The Necessity of the Key Message "Make Your Point" Good Key Messages "Stick" The "SUCCES" Principle Question-Answer Dialog The "Elevator Pitch" and the "Stickiness Test" Case Study: Harry's Gourmet Summary
BUILDING THE PYRAMID - DEVELOP ARGUMENTS FOR YOUR KEY MESSAGE The Logical Thread The Storyline -- The Structural Design The Introduction The Main Body The Logical Group The Logical Chain Logical Group versus Logical Chain Checking the Quality of Your Statements Coming to an End The Pyramid Case Study: Harry's Gourmet Summary
THE GRAPHIC DESIGN OF PRESENTATIONS - GIVE YOUR IDEAS A FACE The Graphic Design Tightrope between Standards and Creativity  Simplicity, Conciseness, and Relevance  Storyboard  Corporate Standards  Five Golden Rules  Creativity  Language Creativity For All: Keep Things in Check Case Study: Harry's Gourmet Summary
CREATING SLIDES - USE EXPERIENCE, TRICKS, AND TECHNOLOGY You're Almost There Case Study: Harry's Gourmet PowerPoint Still Leads the Pack Professional PowerPoint Schedule Sufficient Time Reach for Established Tools Supporting Tools Summary
CLOSING REMARKS Try It, Success will Prove You Right The Authors Reference List