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Using Logic for Productive Presentations and Reports

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An approach to writing consulting style reports using a method proven for over 40 years using logic based on pyramid logic. Ensuring a clear structure and story is key to conveying a set of messages.

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Using Logic for Productive Presentations and Reports

  1. 1. Mark Buckwell, FBCS CITP CISM CISSP http://speakerdeck.com/buckwem http://buckwem.wordpress.com http://www.facebook.com/mark.buckwell http://www.linkedin.com/in/buckwem
  2. 2. Structure It Frame It Introduce It Present Using Logic Question It Reuse It Describe It 2
  3. 3. Structure It Frame It Introduce It Present Using Logic Question It Reuse It Describe It 3
  4. 4. Enabling Change Reports that convey understanding quickly are key to gaining agreement and enabling the change needed Understanding Agreement Time 4
  5. 5. Format and Structure The message can be lost through poor format or poor structure in a presentation or report Poor Format Poor Structure 5
  6. 6. Failure to Gain Support ...resulting in additional cost, delays in issue resolution or project and an unhappy customer Unhappy Customer Additional Cost Delays 6
  7. 7. Presentation as a Report This set of techniques is using the approach of a report within a presentation Report Key Note Formality Report in a Presentation 7
  8. 8. Proven Logical Structure The Pyramid Principle focuses on using a structure that orders ideas in the way the mind thinks  Barbara Minto defined The Pyramid Principle  Ordering of ideas aligned with the way the mind thinks  It uses a pyramid structure  Single thought  Ideas relate vertically  Ideas relate horizontally 8
  9. 9. Structure It Frame It Introduce It Present Using Logic Question It Reuse It Describe It 9
  10. 10. Top Down Ordering – Chemical Engineering Structuring a report starting with the main idea enables immediate understanding and need to know more Structure A  Report to determine whether Blue Engineering should invest in Benzene production  Topic A: Benzene Demand    Hazardous Replacement Competitive vs Middle East Conclusion     Increasing 3% per year Plant shutdown   Benzene is in oversupply Manufacturers moving from Benzene Not cost competitive with Middle East Recommend: Do Not Proceed  Benzene is hazardous and manufacturers are looking for alternatives Topic C: Not Cost Competitive   Although 3% growth plants are being shutdown due to oversupply Topic B: Benzene Hazardous   Benzene is in oversupply Manufacturers are moving from Benzene Not cost competitive with Middle East Topic A: Benzene Oversupply  Topic C: Cost     Topic B: Benzene Exposure    Structure B  Blue Engineering should not proceed with investing in Benzene production  Conclusion Preview South Wales is not cost competitive compared to Middle East Recommend: Do Not Proceed 10
  11. 11. A Pyramid to Tell a Story Structure a report as a pyramid under a single idea with elements of the story line below Idea Story Line Story Line Story Line 11
  12. 12. Decompose The Problem A longer report can be decomposed into sections that correspond to categories or parts of the story to be told Idea Section/ Category Story Line Section/ Category Section/ Category Story Line Story Line Story Line Story Line Section/ Category Story Line Section/ Category Section/ Category Story Line Story Line Story Line 12
  13. 13. Seven Ideas +/- 2 Keep the number of subsidiary ideas to seven (plus or minus two) to help people remember your story  A human brain can hold 7 ideas +/- 2 in short term memory  Breakdown into categories Difficult to Remember? Bleach Eggs Carrots Green Beans Vegetables Cleaning Potatoes Milk Easier to Remember? Bleach Floor Cleaner Mop Floor Cleaner Mop Cheese Potatoes Carrots Green Beans Dairy Butter Milk Eggs Butter Cheese 13
  14. 14. Vertical Logic Each idea above should summarise all the ideas below and all the ideas below should be within the idea above Idea Vertical Relationship Section/ Category Story Line Section/ Category Story Line Story Line Section/ Category Story Line Story Line 14
  15. 15. Horizontal Logic A horizontal relationship should create a storyline summarising the points being presented Horizontal Relationship Idea Section/ Category Story Line Section/ Category Section/ Category Story Line Story Line Story Line Story Line Section/ Category Story Line Section/ Category Section/ Category Story Line Story Line Story Line 15
  16. 16. Structure It Frame It Introduce It Present Using Logic Question It Reuse It Describe It 16
  17. 17. Report Structure Reports should start with a Situation, Complication, and Question structure followed by the main ideas Introduction Situation Complication Key Question (and/or Answer) Main Idea • First subsidiary idea • Second subsidiary idea • Second subsidiary idea 17
  18. 18. The Situation Establishes the context stating something the audience can agree with and leaves them expecting more Situation  Establishes context  Audience can agree  Only information needed  Audience expects more Example: The IBM 2012 Tech Trends report from developerWorks and the IBM Center for Applied Insights is based on a survey of more than 1,200 IT and business decision makers who are determining when, where and how their organizations adopt mobile, analytics, cloud and social technologies. 18
  19. 19. The Complication Identifies the problem to be discussed in the context of the situation Complication  Identifies the problem  Sufficient to understand all elements Example: Only 1 out of 10 organizations believes it has all the mobile, analytics, cloud and social business skills needed to put those technologies to work. 19
  20. 20. The Key Question (and/or Answer) The Key Question and/or Answer should define the single idea the rest of the report will be about Key Question (and/or Answer)  Identifies question report will answer Example: Jim Corgel, General Manager IBM Software, challenges the business and IT communities to rally together to bridge the skill gaps threatening our collective ability to innovate – and shares the steps IBM is taking to help address this critical issue. See https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs/techtrends/?lang=en 20
  21. 21. Situation The world is demanding more and more energy. The projected growth of worldwide energy demand by 2030 is 36.8% according to the International Energy Outlook 2008. Question / Answer Complication Introduction Example This introduction follows the principles of Situation, Complication and Question/Answer The power generation industry faces major challenges in meeting this growing demand, not least because of inhibitors such as regulation and legislation; inadequate investment returns and unhelpful economic incentives; and of course the supply of natural resources. The report recommends investing in energy production for consumers : • Optimise: Apply smart solutions to extend existing capabilities. • Grow: Rapidly grow existing capability through smarter design and operation. • Accelerate: Nurture and accelerate new capabilities to commercial scale. 21
  22. 22. Changing Tone Changing the order of the introduction elements changes the tone of the report  Standard Order  Situation  Complication  Solution  Concerned Order  Complication  Situation  Solution  Direct Order  Solution  Situation  Complication  Aggressive Order  Question  Situation  Complication 22
  23. 23. Structure It Frame It Introduce It Present Using Logic Question It Reuse It Describe It 23
  24. 24. Question Complication Situation Example Introduction Using this example introduction we can develop the body of the report The data centre hosting the University systems is located in the centre of London and hosts all administration and central student IT facilities. All the systems the systems became unavailable on the 5th November for 36 hours due to a lack of power to the systems in the data centre. This report examines why the power failed in the data centre. 24
  25. 25. Question/Answer Dialogue Create a question/answer dialogue elaborating until reader has no further logical questions Power feed failed to the Data Centre Why? Generators were overloaded Fire at sub-station Why was there a fire? Someone deliberately set the fire How were they able to do this? Physical security was insufficient As new project added additional load Why is power limited? Why was generator overloaded? Why was additional power not identified? No check made for additional power Batteries had limited power As no resilience in generators Generator was designed to take over Therefore Data Centre had no power What was the technical impact? 3121 servers for 20 customers failed Why no resilience? Generator designed with no resilience 25
  26. 26. Horizontal Relationship Answering the questions below follows a logical sequence by either deductive or inductive grouping Deductive Grouping Inductive Grouping Generators were overloaded Power Failed to the Data Centre Why? Fire at sub-station Generators were overloaded Summarise Batteries had limited power Therefore Data Centre had no power Why was generator overloaded? As new project added additional load As no resilience in generators 26
  27. 27. Deductive Grouping Use of deductive grouping is used when you want to describe process steps, timeline or instructions  Deductive Grouping  Argument in successive steps  Implication from preceding steps  Indicated by     Process Steps Timeline Instructions Ordered Recommendations Paper Production Obtain Trees Debarking & Chipping Pulp Preparation Paper Formation Paper Finishing 27
  28. 28. Inductive Grouping Used for a set of related ideas that can be described by a plural noun  Inductive Grouping • A set of related ideas • Can be described by a plural noun • E.g. Reasons for, reasons against, steps, problems Paper Hazards General Noise Machine Guarding Lockout/ Tagout Pressure Vessels 28
  29. 29. Developing the Structure A pyramid of questions and answers can be developed that support the overall subject of the presentation. 1 6 New Q 7 3 Idea S=4 C=5 Q=2 Fill in the top box 1. What is the idea? 2. What is the question about the idea? 3. What is the answer about the idea? Match The Answer to the Introduction 4. What is the Situation? 5. What is the Complication? 2. Check Question and Answer? Find the story line 6. What new Question is raised by the answer? 7. Deductive or Inductive answer? 7. If inductive, what is your plural noun? 8 Structure supporting points 8. Repeat the question answer process at this level? Source: The Minto Pyramid Principle 29
  30. 30. Mind Mapping It can help to develop the structure of the presentation using mind mapping tools such as Freemind 30
  31. 31. Structure It Frame It Introduce It Present Using Logic Question It Reuse It Describe It 31
  32. 32. Why a Storyline on a Slide? Many more stakeholders than at the initial presentation need to understand a report through the story line  Key stakeholder availability  No verbal explanation  Story line enables understanding 32
  33. 33. Starting With A Report Start on paper writing a story line for the report and check the message can be understood without the main body of the slide Story Line Write the story line and check it flows by reading the titles of the report in sequence – this will be your executive summary. 33
  34. 34. One Thought Per Slide Use only one message per slide with only information relevant to the message otherwise the message will be diluted  Keep the slide simple  One message per slide  Only what is relevant to the message ... and no more 34
  35. 35. So What? Always ask of a slide or report section, so what am I trying to present and does it convey an important message? So What?  So what is this slide telling the audience?  So what is so important I need to have the slide?  So what role does the slide have in presenting the message? 35
  36. 36. Explain the Significance Ensure your slide describes the significance of the ideas being presented that keeps the audience interested to know more This provides facts without the significance of the population rise The title and supporting content states the impact of the rise in population 36
  37. 37. Parts of the Slide The slide can be split into three main parts – the Short Title, Story Line and Main Body Short Title Story Line Main Body 37
  38. 38. Story Line The story line should state the significance of the slide and should be sufficient without the main body State what the main message of the slide (which should be sufficient without the body of the slide) 38
  39. 39. Body of the Slide The main body should elaborate the storyline but not introduce any further ideas The main body should elaborate the detail of the story line but not introduce any more information than is in the story line 39
  40. 40. Example So What? Elaborate the So What message in the notes of the slide to ensure the message flows 40
  41. 41. Slide Transition To make a presentation flow begin the transition to the next slide before moving on and write into slide notes  Begin transition before moving on  Showing next slide will take attention away  Write into slide notes 41
  42. 42. Printing and Animation Ensure your slides convey the same message when printed and minimise the use of animation Situation Complication Solution Situation Complication Solution 42
  43. 43. Structure It Frame It Introduce It Present Using Logic Question It Reuse It Describe It 43
  44. 44. Reports When creating a formal report, create a presentation first to create story line and ensure a coherent story  Formal report  Create a story line  Elaborate each slide  Information to be gathered  Group Development  Ensure story line is coherent  Work can be distributed 44
  45. 45. Situation Benzene is a key building block for the production of other chemicals. It’s most widely produced derivative is ethylbenzene, a precursor to styrene, which is used to make polymers and plastics. Cumene is converted phenol for resins and adhesives. Cyclohexane is used in the manufacture of Nylon. Smaller amounts of benzene are used to make some types of rubbers, lubricants, dyes, detergents, drugs, explosives, and pesticides. Complication After the recession of 2010, benzene, an aromatic chemical building block used primarily for the production of other chemicals, including styrene and cumene, experienced growing demand in 2011, with world demand forecast increasing from 41 to 42 million metric tons by the IHS Chemical global market study from IHS (NYSE: IHS). Question Report Introduction The same structure of Situation, Complication and Question can be used in a formal report Blue Chemical Engineering plc think the growth in demand for benzene may be an opportunity for investment and have engaged Jarratt Consulting to investigate whether to invest in a new plant in South Wales able to produce 100,000 kg/h of benzene. 45
  46. 46. Idea 1 • Whilst there has been increasing demand at 3% per year there is oversupply in the marketplace and refineries that produce Benzene as a by-product are being shut down. Idea 2 After examining the market and financial implications, Jarratt Consulting do not recommend investment in a new Benzene plant in South Wales for the following reasons: • Exposure to Benzene is hazardous and as a result some products are looking to replace it as a component of manufacture which is holding back growth. Idea 3 Main Idea Report Main Ideas The main recommendation is up front with each key idea summarised to form the basis of each major section • The cost of Benzene production in South Wales would not be competitive against global producers in Asia and the Middle East. 46
  47. 47. Report Structure A report will follow the same structure with an Executive Summary providing senior management communication  Same structure as a Executive Summary  presentation Introduction (Summary)     Sections will form chapters  Main Point     Executive Summary to understand the implications Situation Complication Question and/or Answer Point 1 Point 2 Point 2 Introduction    Situation Complication Question and/or Answer    Key message 1 Key message 2 Key message 3 Chapter – Key Message 1 Chapter – Key Message 2 Chapter – Key Message 3 Summary
  48. 48. Email Structure The same pyramid approach can be used to structure emails and clearly communicate the message From: Fred Bloggs To: Joe Smith Subject: Application Hardware Upgrade Required Hi Joe, Situation Performance has always been something we monitor for the application to ensure we do not reach the limits of the systems. Complication Over the past month there has been a 20% growth in traffic in the application. Question & Answer We needed to know when we might read the limits of the underlying system and found that we have a further six months of capacity. Main Point We looked at the options and recommend a full replacement of the current system with new computer systems. The options we looked at were: 1. Increasing memory and disk for a cost of $200k would only give us another six months of capacity and the underlying hardware would be at it’s natural end of life. 2. Full replacement of the hardware at a cost of $500k which would give us two years of additional capacity with the option to add an additional two years of capacity. Point 1 Point 2 Please could you review the attached report and confirm our recommendation. 48
  49. 49. Summary Use the proven approach for structuring presentations will take effort but will result in improved productivity  Clearly communicate using a logic  The Pyramid Principle is proven  It will take practice and extra effort  But it will improve productivity Structure It Frame It Introduce It Present Using Logic Question It Reuse It Describe It 49
  50. 50. References and Tools References  Chevallier, Arnaud (2012) Use logic to think and communicate effectively [online]. Published by: slideshare.com. Available from http://www.slideshare.net/achevallier/use-logic-to-thinkand-communicate-effectively [Accessed 6 January 2013]  Chevallier, Arnaud (2012) Powerful problem solving: Ideas to become outstanding problem solvers [online]. Published by: Powerful Problem Solving. http://powerful-problemsolving.com/use-logic [Accessed 6 January 2013]  IBM (2012). Fast track to the future: The 2012 IBM Tech Trends Report [online]. Published by: IBM Corporation. Available from https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs/techtrends/?lang=en [Accessed 6 January 2013]  Minto, Barbara (2002) The Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and Thinking 3rd ed. ISBN: 0273-65903-0. Essex: Pearson Education Limited  Minto, Barbara (2012) The Minto Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing, Thinking and Problem Solving ISBN: 0-09601910-3-8  Zelazny, Gene (2006) Say It with Presentations: How to Design and Deliver Successful Business Presentations ISBN: 0-07-147289-4 Tools  Freemind – http://freemind.sourceforge.net  Free Xmind - http://sourceforge.net/projects/xmind3/ 50
  51. 51. The Minto Pyramid Principle Logic in Writing, Thinking and Problem Solving Barbara Minto ISBN 0-9601910-3-8   Part One: Logic in Writing  Why a Pyramid Structure?  The Substructures with the Pyramid  How to Build a Pyramid Structure  Fine Points of Introductions  Deduction and Induction: The Difference Part Two: Logic in Thinking  Imposing Logical Order  Summarising Grouped Ideas      Logic in Problem Solving  Defining the Problem  Structuring the Analysis of the Problem Logic in Presentation  Reflecting the Pyramid on the Page  Reflecting the Pyramid on a Screen  Reflecting the Pyramid in Prose Appendix A: Problem Solving in Structureless Situations Appendix B: Examples of Introductory Structures Appendix C: Summary of Key Points Mentioned in the Text http://www.barbaraminto.com/ 51

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