Video: 2 minute intro; Tutorial: Worked examples; Help: Contents

Oct 7, 2009

Compelling presentations, faster

The Problem
Business people (and others) are increasingly familiar with the phenomenon of Death by Powerpoint:
"Death by PowerPoint" is a criticism of slide-based presentations refering to a state of boredom and fatigue induced by information overload during presentations such as those created by the Microsoft application. -- Wikipedia
Much of this can be attributed to two factors:
  1. Poorly thought-out presentations
  2. Over-use of "bullet points"
A solution
bCisive Online can help address both points by providing the workspace to help clarify and better structure the content of your presentation, and the "Export to PowerPoint" feature to convey structured information in a more visual and compelling way. The overall process currently looks like this:
  1. Enter your ideas into bCisive Online
  2. Rearrange and play with the map, maybe in collaboration with colleagues
  3. Output maps into PowerPoint form, typically giving a high-level overview, and then drilling into depth where appropriate
  4. Supplement, where appropriate, with bulleted lists, text, charts and other material to create a compelling Presentation
You can do steps 1-3 in bCisive Online already, and step 4 in PowerPoint.

How could this process be improved?
  • Outline input: Although I decried the over-use of outlines for presentation, they are an extremely fast and familiar way to "dump your brain". Certainly quicker than using a click-and-drag mouse-based interface. [On the other hand, click-and-drag is fantastic for editing and restructuring.]
  • Additional text-based output forms: Principally bullet points, and text forms, including executive summaries, to be used sparingly and tastefully!
Various text-based output forms are available in bCisive desktop (text outline, decision summary). They will be added in some form to bCisive Online in due course. Outline input, on the other hand, is new for us, and will be discussed in my next post. Together these features would lead to an even better process:
  1. Enter your ideas, quickly, in outline form
  2. Automatically transform the outline into a bCisive Online map
  3. Rearrange and play with the map (or maps), maybe in collaboration with colleagues
  4. Output to Powerpoint as a mix of diagrams, bullet points, and text
  5. Refine and supplement in PowerPoint.
Importantly, the first and last steps will be familiar to existing PowerPoint users, and the intermediate steps will deliver better structured and more visually compelling slides amazingly quickly. By keeping all hierarchical data in bCisive Online, you can structure the key content of your presentation in one place, and makes the choice of how best to present -- diagram, text, or bullet point -- a secondary consideration. Try them all; use what works best!

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