Management IT Mentoring & Coaching

Archive for the ‘Visual Thinking’ Category

The Presentation Coach

The Presentation Coach: Bare Knuckle Brilliance for Every Presenter by Graham Davies

“You probably hate giving presentations.  You probably hate listening to them too.  Why?  Because most business presentations are too long, too detailed, too boring… and submerged under a blizzard of PowerPoint.

But the single most important presentational tool known to man isn’t a slideshow.  It’s you.

Whether you’re speaking to one person across a table, 20 people in a boardroom or 1,000 people in a ballroom, it’s all about the words you say and how you say them.

The Presentation Coach shows you how to use what you’ve already got, to give you clarity, confidence and impact in every speaking challenge you will ever face.  You’ll learn the unique Bare Knuckle 5-step process to effective presenting, and how to apply it to all business speaking, from large-scale presentations to one-to-one client meetings.  Graham Davies has been coaching high-profile individuals from the worlds of business, politics and entertainment in exactly these techniques for the past 25 years.”

Chapter 1 – The Essentials

Chapter 2 – Know your Audience

Chapter 3 – Make the Statement

Chapter 4 – Hard-Core Content

Chapter 5 – Write it, Read it, Edit

Chapter 6 – From Famous First Words …

Chapter 7 – Nail it all Down

Chapter 8 – Show it … if you really must

Chapter 9 – Control Yourself

Chapter 10 – Control the Day

Chapter 11 – Control Q&A

Chapter 12 – Raise a Smile

Chapter 13 – Adapt to After Dinner

Chapter 14 – Should I Accept the Invitation

Chapter 15 – Challenging Business Situations

Chapter 16 – Challenging Personal Situations


I really like the tone and style of The Presentation Coach and will be recommending it as an essential read for everyone who has to give presentations.  I particularly like the Action Steps at the end of each chapter which really make you focus on what you’ve read and focus on taking constructive action to implement the suggestions.  This book should be next to you whenever you next start thinking about delivering a presentation…

Here are some quotes from the first couple of chapters … to whet your appetite:

“You may well dread giving presentations.  But always bear in mind that audiences dread listening to them even more.”

“A presentation is real communication, with life and breath and flesh and blood.  Only a live presenter can provide information with inspiration and impact.”

“Knowledge and intellect are useless without the power to communicate.”

“A presentation that includes everything usually achieves nothing.”

“It is possible – and often highly desirable – to make a compelling formal business presentation without using PowerPoint.”

“A presentation is any spoken communication designed to change someone’s point of view.”

“The success of your presentation depends on how much what you say coincides with what they want and need to hear.”


To find out more about Graham Davies visit his website :

Outstanding Presentations Workshop Webinars

Learn from the Top Presentation Experts in the World!

Free 7-week webinar series!

Ellen Finklestein
Ellen Finklestein, PowerPoint MVP

“Would you like to ask questions and get answers from top presentation, PowerPoint, and speaking experts?

Join me [Ellen Finklestein] at the online Outstanding Presentations Workshop 2011, for free! Learn how to eliminate Death by PowerPoint and make your presentations come to life as you listen to guest experts share their best techniques and answer your questions!

During the Outstanding Presentations Workshop you’ll learn to:

  • sharpen your skills
  • more clearly communicate your message
  • engage your audience
  • maximize your results
  • even bring your career to a new level

Each week, you’ll hear from an amazing lineup of guest speakers who will reveal their secrets and strategies on presenting and speaking effectively. You’ll be able to ask them any questions you have, such as:

  • How do I write content that meets the needs and questions of my audience?
  • How do I design high-impact slides even if I’m not a designer?
  • How do I deliver so that I connect with my audience?

When: Wednesdays, starting September 7, 2011 at 11am PT, 12pm MT, 1pm CT, 2pm ET. Each webinar lasts 1 hour but may run
over slightly. Each webinar will be recorded so you can view it later (up to 2 weeks after the session).”


I’ve signed up to attend these free webinars because all the speakers (and topics) look really interesting and useful including Cliff Atkinson, author of “Beyond Bullet Points”.


Find out more here:

Visual Imagery as mental hooks

Why are visual images needed as mental hooks?

Yesterday, I discovered a great website resource from BizGraphics On Demand which is a great collection of professionally designed graphics that will help enhance the visual appearance of presentations.  See yesterday’s post for more details about BizGraphicsOnDemand.

What’s the purpose of a visual diagram?

I used one of their graphics to turn a list into a visual diagram which served the intended purpose.   The initial purpose was to make a boring list look more interesting because I am going to have to refer to that list of units for best part of a year so I’d rather look at something visually appealing than something boring.  I also needed to work out which order I will study the units following certain rules.  As you will see from the visual diagram, I have inserted two milestones (AWARD and CERTIFICATE) which are qualifications in their own right that I will be eligible for by obtaining Units 7001 and 7004 respectively.    As I read about each of the Units I made choices about the order of study and dragged and dropped the text from place to place  until I had everything in an order that suited me.

So, as I say, this original visual diagram served yesterday’s original purpose of turning a linear list into a visual map of study:-

However, when I looked at it again this morning, I started to contemplate the many books which I will need to read  so I have started to research books and websites and have begun the process of inserting pictures of those books/websites as “mental hooks” as reminders of what I need to do.  For example, I own some of the books but others need to be ordered.  No point buying them all up front so I will use the “mental hooks” as reminders to order the books as and when I need them.

The purpose of the visual has changed

When I first downloaded the graphic from BizGraphicsOnDemand it had contained icons to remind me that visual images help the brain to “see” key stages.

Keep reflecting on “the purpose of the visual” and amend it accordingly
This morning, as I say, I’ve started researching books and have started to include images of those books as my own “mental hooks”.  I have also inserted images to denote the milestones where I could stop studying and achieve a Level 7 AWARD and / or a Level 7 CERTIFICATE if I decide not to complete the entire DIPLOMA.
As you will see from the graphic below it now makes it very clear  that the DIPLOMA is vast in comparison to either the AWARD or the CERTIFICATE (even though the work is of the same level) simply by looking at the gap between the first and second Rosettes compared to the huge gap between the second and third Rosettes.
The next step will be to insert a hyperlink to my account behind each book image where I will save these books in my Shopping Basket.  That way, when the time is right, all I’ll have to do is to click the hyperlink and order the appropriate book.
So, yesterday it was a boring list of units to be studied.  By the end of today it will be a visual study plan, containing various “mental hooks“, with hyperlinks to books and websites of relevance.   There’s a lot of studying ahead of me to achieve this next qualification but I know that having a eye-pleasing visual, containing relevant hyperlinks, will enable me to stay the course and to not feel overwhelmed.  By knowing that the future is planned, my mind will be able to focus on simply tackling the current unit, one unit at a time.
Purpose and intended Audience
Whenever you create any visual diagram you must always keep reflecting on purpose and intended audience and by so doing you will create visuals which are “fit for purpose” and which help the intended audience to “see the bigger picture”, even if that audience is just yourself.   These are lessons which I learnt by reading Jamie Nast’s book Idea Mapping and they are valuable lessons for everyone to take on board.

BizGraphics On Demand



I discovered this website resource today which is a great collection of professionally designed graphics that will help enhance the visual appearance of presentations.  Here’s a brief extract:


The Problem
“You need a great presentation, proposal, marketing slick, or document but you have very little time or money. (Sound familiar?) You have a great solution but you need to turn it into a powerful graphic that quickly shows you have the best solution. You know graphics will help your document shine and up your chances of success. Unfortunately, the only graphics you have, if you have any at all, miss the mark. What do you do? Use Billion Dollar Graphics’ solutions to solve your problem now.”

Solution – PowerPoint Graphics
“Introducing BizGraphics On Demand. Search and download from an amazing library of editable graphics. Lower your risk and cost, speed development, and increase the success
of your presentations, proposals, sales materials, and much more with this one tool.”

(c) BizGraphics On Demand

I have downloaded one which I have used to create a study plan for a Management Qualification that makes the whole journey seem much more interesting than a traditional list.  Compare the list to the visual below:-

Unit 7001: Personal Development as a Strategic Manager – Oct 2011

Unit 7004: Strategic Information Management – Nov 2011

Unit 7002: Strategic Performance Management – Dec 2011

Unit 7009: Strategic Project Management – Jan 2012

Unit 7013: Being a Strategic Leader – Feb 2012

Unit 7014: Strategic Leadership Practice – March 2012

Unit 7006: Organisational Direction – April 2012

Unit 7003: Financial Management – May 2012

Unit 7005: Conducting a Strategic Project – June 2012


For me there is absolutely no doubt that the visual, below, is vastly more interesting than the list, above, and I would much prefer to see visuals (rather than boring bullet points) when attending presentations.

This is an excellent resource for anyone who has to create a presentation and who needs some help making it more visually appealing and interesting.

Idea Mapping Webinar by Jamie Nast

Jamie Nast (Author of Idea Mapping: How to Access your Hidden Brain Power, Learn Faster, Remember More and Achieve Success in Business) has recently posted a link to a recorded, archived, Webinar (August 2009) which I highly recommend watching.  It was delivered to nearly 900 Project Managers which hopefully dispels any thoughts that visuals are for “creative types” and not for serious project managers / data analysts.

The webinar lasts an hour (well worth your time, believe me) and  contains a full run-through of what Idea Mapping is (and how it differs from Mind Mapping) and how people can apply the skills (be it hand-drawn or via software) to enable them to visualise information to cope with that feeling of “overwhelm” which I’m sure we’ve all had at some stage.

I have read the book (more than once) and I have watched Jamie’s webinars before but every time I read or watch/listen, I realise what a brilliant idea it is to “visual data”.  If you want to see the experience that I went through when I was “converted” from being entirely linear to releasing the “visual thinker within”, then please look at the following :

Think Like a Genius – In the Mind’s Eye:

Alternatively, I strongly recommend that you click this link and listen to Jamie in action whilst watching a variety of Idea Maps which really bring it all to life.

Even if you don’t use Mind Maps, the concepts Jamie will explain to you are transferable skills so don’t under-estimate them and don’t think they’re only for people who “do mind-mapping”.  For example, I now use her ideas in Microsoft PowerPoint presentations (key words, colour and imagery) and in  Microsoft Visio Diagrams (symbols to help the brain understand the key elements) – with not a mind map or idea map in sight but I am still using Jamie’s concepts.  Many people comment on how easy it is to follow my work even though I’m dealing with vast amounts of information because I seem to “bring it to life and make the complex seem straight-forward”.  If I can do it, so can everyone and I owe it all to Jamie Nast.

Watch the video and release the visual thinker within…

The Gift of Dyslexia

The Gift of Dyslexia: Why some of the brightest people can’t read and how they can learn by Ronald D. Davis

“Why is this book important?  Because the methods described in it work.  Because the techniques can be used to ameliorate a wide variety of symptoms besides reading difficulties – from anxiety to writing difficulties to inability to concentrate.  Because it recognizes the unusual gifts and the extraordinary potential of dyslexics.  Because it turns the mysteries of orientation and disorientation into practical, life-changing techniques.  Because the ability to think in pictures is needed for success in the twenty-first century.”

“Visual-Spatial learners … It truly is a different learning style just requiring a paradigm shift in learning, learning a visual way.”

“… all the essential gifts of dyslexia, including greater development of intuition, the ability to perceive multi-dimensionally, vivid imagination, greater curiousity, insightfulness, the ability to experience thought as reality, heightened awareness of the environment, the ability to think in pictures, and, most important, the ability to alter and create perceptions.  These are vital gifts, becoming more and more sought after in the work world in the modern era.”

“While we are still obsessed in education with the importance of literacy, the future of today’s students is dependent on their ability to see the big picture, to predict trends, to read customers, to think outside the box, to see patterns, to inspire collaboration among peers, to empathize, to synthesize information from a variety of sources, and to perceive possibilities from different perspectives.  These are the natural talents of dyslexics.”

Some famous dyslexics:

  • Hans Christian Anderson
  • Harry Belafonte
  • Alexander Graham Bell
  • George Burns
  • Winston Churchill
  • Albert Einstein
  • Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci

Please see my post “Think Like a Genius – The Mind’s Eye; ”

Top 10 reasons to try Visio 2010

An article from Microsoft regarding Visio 2010.  For further details:

“Microsoft Visio 2010 advanced diagramming tools help you simplify complexity  with dynamic, data-driven visuals and new ways to share on the Web in real time. Whether you’re creating an organizational chart, a network diagram, or a business process, the new tools and more intuitive interface in Visio 2010 make it easier to bring your diagrams to life.

Jump-start diagramming with templates.

With modern, pre-drawn shapes, intelligent templates, and sample drawings, Visio 2010 offers a wide variety of options to meet your diagramming needs for IT, business, process management, and more.

Use templates to jump-start your diagramming

2 Find and access the tools you need quickly.

Every step in creating a diagram is more intuitive, with the logical groupings of features in Ribbon tabs, an enhanced Shapes window for
easy access to shapes and stencils, and a new status bar that helps you move more efficiently within and between your diagrams.

Ribbon tabs help you quickly find tools you need

3 Draw diagrams faster with improved automatic features.

Whether you are creating a diagram from scratch or modifying an existing one, Visio 2010 helps you add and align shapes easily and accurately, with features such as the Quick Shapes Mini Toolbar, enhanced dynamic grid, page Auto Size, and automatic alignment and layout adjustment.

Draw faster and easier with improved features

Simplify large and complex diagrams.

Add clarity to diagrams using Subprocesses and Containers to group related shapes visually and logically. As a diagram grows larger or becomes more complex, Subprocesses and Containers help you to keep information more organized and understandable.

Subprocesses and Containers keep information more organized

5 Make your diagrams professional-looking and appealing in seconds.

Visio 2010 helps you make diagrams look attractive with a wide range of formatting tools and design options, including modern shapes and visuals, a rich gallery of themes, and Live Preview.

More formatting tools and design options to choose from

6 Bring your diagrams to life with real-time data.

See the entire picture with dynamic, data-driven diagrams.
Simply connect your diagram to one or more data sources such as Excel or SQL Server. Then, display real-time data right within your diagrams, based on conditions you define, using vibrant colors, icons, symbols, and data bars.

Connect your diagrams to real-time data sources

7 Share diagrams with others on the Web.

Easily share dynamic, data-linked Visio diagrams in Microsoft SharePoint Server. Online users can see your real-time information in their browsers at a high level, right on the diagram, or delve into the
details—even if they don’t own Visio. They can pan and zoom in the diagram, follow hyperlinks in shapes, and refresh the data.

Share diagrams with others via the Web

8 Ensure consistency and accuracy with diagram validation.

Check for common errors and support diagramming standards across your organization using diagram validation. With one click, you can validate a diagram against a set of rules to make sure it’s logical and properly constructed.

Use diagram validation to check for common errors

9 Model and monitor SharePoint workflows.

Create and monitor SharePoint workflows more easily than ever with a new, advanced template that contains SharePoint workflow rules and logic, and supports the ability to export and import workflows between Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 and Visio 2010.

Model and monitor SharePoint workflows more easily

10 Create visual mashups using Visio Services.

Publish and share visually compelling dashboards that contain interactive Visio diagrams and other application services. Visio Services and SharePoint Server integration supports visual mashups of actionable data and diagrams for an information-rich viewing experience.”

Create visual mashups with Visio Services