Many times in my career I have heard complicated descriptions of what strategy is and how to form or create a strategy. In many cases the suggestion for the processes are very complicated and as a consequence the strategy is not realised.
However, like so many things in this world, the strategy creation can be described in just three parts….
1 – Where we are now, our business environment, competition and performance – The ‘As Is’
2 – Where we want to go, our business, the possible environments and future performance objectives – The ‘To Be’
3 – How we get there from today to tomorrow. The ‘Journey’ from the ‘As Is’ to the ‘To Be’
Of course there is a lot of work to do but the concept is simple. How do we get from where we are now to where we want to be? So what’s the clever part? What makes strategy difficult? I would suggest that there are three things that make strategy difficult
1 – Making the decisions on more than just a gut feeling – the analysis
2 – Getting consensus from the Leadership Team – the buy-in
3 – Articulating the strategy through the organisation in a way that is clear and concise but isn’t dumbed down to the extent that no one believes it – talking the walk
The structure of your bullet points should be consistent. Here are a few rules I like to adopt.
First, decide whether you will be using capitals or not. Having bullet points starting with a mixture of uppercase or lowercase words creates an impression that the slide is not finished and only in draft.
Second, try and get the first words to be consistent with respect to whether it is a verb or noun. If you start your first bullet with ‘Development of a solution…’ then use ‘Creation of a process…’ and avoid ‘Creating…’ for example.
Third, as a rule I would strongly suggest that you do not add fullstops at the end of any bullet points – or indeed a paragraph. Save you full stops for the end of a sentence within a passage of writing. The same rule should apply for colons and semi-colons too.
Whilst of course grammatically correct, the punctuation will clutter the slides and make them more difficult to read. It is worth checking the whole presentation to ensure that they have not crept in as you have assembled your work. In particular look out for them when you are copying snippets in from other documents.
If, for a style reason, you do want to include them make sure that they are used consistently throughout the presentation. Having an inconsistent approach will suggest a presentation that has been assembled by more than one person or perhaps a ‘cut and paste job’.
When adding bullets or numbering I like to create a space between the bullet/number and the first word. It makes the line easier to read and it will look better on the page. Do not just add spaces with the space bar. It’s best to learn how to use tabs and indents. There are plenty of guides on the internet just search for ‘powerpoint adding indents and tabs’ or visit the following links.
A simple technique I learnt early on in my career to help a presentation flow and create a conversation with your audience is name each presentation slide. You will have three things to remember an say about each slide as you present it – the strap line, the content and the link to the next slide.
When you start to describe the content of the slide you can begin by naming it. Don’t make in too complicated and try to use a name that is associated with the context, theme or perhaps the shapes on the slide. Here are a few examples so that you get the hang of what I mean – ‘bubble slide’, ‘three squares’, ‘wheel of fortune’, ‘process spaghetti’, ‘inputs, outputs and outcomes’, etc.
Keep using the slide name making reference when to it as you build your story with words, diagrams and text. If you are asked questions at the end of the presentations try to bring the name into the answer. The more you use it the more people will remember the slide and of course your presentation.
If you are really bold you can invite your audience to join in with the appreciations of your lovely ‘clouds and arrows’ slide!