Visual thinking solves your business problems

July 28, 2008
by Jeroen de Miranda

The Back of the Napkin is a great book on Visual Thinking. It is written by Dan Roam.

Watching this video of his presentation at Google, you will learn how to use this method to solve many different business problems.

I highly recomment reading his book if you want to get a real understanding of Visual Thinking!

Authors@Google: Dan Roam

YouTube video

Some highlights of this show:

  • Who can use this: anybody!. Dan classifies people into three catagories:
    – ‘black pens’ (start to draw right away),
    – ‘yellow pens’ (drawing comments on drawings of others),
    – and ‘red pens’ (do not want to draw; but often turn out to have the best ideas. You have to challenge the ‘red pens’ to start drawing).
  • Core idea: reduce complexity of a problem by slicing it into 6 slices: the 6 ways we are seeing:
    – what,
    – where,
    – how much,
    – when,
    – how,
    – why
  • Use the corresponding drawing:
    – what: portrait representing a person or object
    – where: map
    – how much: chart
    – when: timeline
    – how: flowchart
    – why: multi-variable plot
  • Talking while drawing leads to better understanding of a problem
  • Dan gives examples of his work with Microsoft
  • Dan uses a drawing to give an explanation of the strategy behind the Yahoo takeover over by Microsoft

More resources on Visual Thinking:

I have used visual techniques in several workshops that I have facilitated; I now intend to extend my workshop tools by using these ‘Back of the Napkin’ techniques!


High Stakes Presentations

April 5, 2008

Sims Wyeth writes in this blog about improving your performance in presentations.

He has lots of useful tips and tricks on this subject, well worth to browse through!

Sims Wyeth

‘For over fifteen years, I have been helping High Stakes Presenters acquire the knowledge and skill they need to become accomplished speakers.’

Dodging Bullets in Presentations

April 3, 2008

You learn how to create more effective presentations – by replacing bulleted text paragraphs with clear pictures and single words!

Slide 55 contains the first complete example.

Click here if you do not see the presentations above.

A very practical guide for making Powerpoint presentations!

January 16, 2008


More on presentations:

Powerpoint presentations – do’s and dont’s

January 13, 2008


How to present using Powerpoint

I present the main ideas from this podcast on Powerpoint presentations!

Preparation of a presentation:

  • what do I want the audience to do? (‘I want them to approve X’)
  • what story do I have to tell them to make them do this? (get them in the right emotional state)
  • what kind of data do I need for this story?


  • you want focus on yourself; not on the slides of the presentation

Your story:

  • you should tell a story (not present just data)
  • slide should add to what you are telling
  • no more than three thoughts per presentation

How many slides:

  • 1-3 slides per 10 minutes of presentation
  • it could be just 1 slide per 10 minutes
  • less slides is better

Read the rest of this entry »

How to improve your presentations!

January 11, 2008

I like this presentation by Alexei Kapterev on improving your presentations a lot: