Presenting Business Diagrams: How To Deliver A Strong, Positive Impact?
Business means a lot more than just making profits. For the most part, it is a melting pot where unique combinations of processes, concepts, goals, and mantras evolve into brands. The most successful brands — those that generate profits in the most efficient way — are those whose stories resonate most with their internal and external audience.
For a narrative to attract a positive response, it must first be understood by the people it means to persuade. That means everyone involved in the business needs to clearly articulate their part in the story:
- HR managers need to establish pride in the company culture.
- Decision-makers need to clarify the processes and strategies the company should adopt to deliver high performance.
- Finance executives must transform numerical data into visuals and text that easily convey the company’s current financial position and its prospects in the future.
- Marketers need to tell moving stories that draw customers to the brand.
- Sales personnel need compelling sales pitches to close deals that help grow the firm’s bottom line.
These success-critical tasks all involve communication, mostly through presentations. Fortunately, many of the concepts can be conveyed using diagrams. Diagrams are meant to simplify and clarify complex ideas and processes. Sadly, however, not all do. Some ill-conceived diagrams even manage to achieve just the opposite: make things more confusing and difficult for audiences.
Clearly, not all diagrams are created equal. Some diagrams fail miserably at connecting with audiences. Only a few, those crafted by design professionals who have specific audiences in mind, make the cut.
Here are some commonly used business diagrams and corresponding tips on how to present them effectively.
1. SWOT ANALYSIS
SWOT analysis template helps you perform a high-level assessment of your business (or a specific product or service). Specifically, SWOT — the acronym for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Threat — makes it possible to visually map different aspects of the business that affect your chances of achieving success.
- Strengths — These refer to internal characteristics of a business or product that give it a comparative advantage over similar businesses or products
- Weaknesses — These are internal characteristics of a business or product that diminish its marketability relative to other products or businesses.
- Opportunities — These are external factors (access to good suppliers, favorable pricing conditions, low market saturation, etc.) that make it advantageous to run a business or launch a product.
- Threat — These are external factors (aggressive competitors, introduction of new technology, etc.) that expose your business or product to various risks, including customer attrition and failure.
While SWOT primarily serves as a business evaluation technique, you can use it to assess the net benefits/disadvantages of just about anything — including a product, a location, a niche industry, or even a job applicant. More importantly, it helps you formulate strategies that tap a subject’s advantage, minimize risks and threats, address weaknesses, and maximize opportunities.
If you are running an existing business, you can use the SWOT template during planning sessions, especially when assessing the impact of a changing business landscape and creating proactive strategies to keep your business relevant and competitive. On the other hand, entrepreneurs use SWOT to gauge the viability of a new product or business idea.
When making a SWOT presentation, consider the following:
- Aim for the complete picture. Get everyone involved in the team to participate in a brainstorming session. Make a complete and objective list of SWOT factors before finalizing a PowerPoint slide version.
- Organize the factors based on their priority levels under each category.
- Use professionally drawn presentation templates to finalize your SWOT matrix. Depending on your audience, choose the best way to articulate your analysis. A team of creatives, for example, will likely appreciate a hand-drawn SWOT map.
2. SIX SIGMA
It’s not the business, but how you do it. It’s not the product but how you make it.
Quality and efficiency are two things that separate outstanding businesses from the pack. But neither comes easy. To consistently keep high levels of quality and efficiency, you need to set up a streamlined business process while adopting strident quality control. That is where Six Sigma comes in.
Six Sigma presentation template is a framework of tools and methodologies that help companies achieve significant improvement in their business process, with zero wastage/mistakes as the ultimate aim. Introduced by engineer Bill Smith at Motorola, Six Sigma has been adopted as the standard framework by process-intensive companies, including General Electric, Verizon, IBM, and many Fortune 500 companies.
To communicate how your business integrates Six Sigma principles, you first need to identify which aspects of your business adopt the framework. Ideally, however, you either adopt Six Sigma as an overarching corporate framework or you don’t. But that might not be the case in some scenarios, especially among late-adopters were implementing the doctrine piecemeal across departments (HR, accounting, manufacturing, QA, marketing, sales, etc) might be more practical. If you are streamlining your manufacturing process for example, discuss the rationale behind the improvement (cost reductions, savings, quality improvement) and how the changes affect future organizational success or competitiveness.
When making a presentation deck,
- Identify the key stages of your current process as well as the streamlined operation you envision.
- Identify the maturity of the organization and the six sigma belt colors you need in your team.
- Create slides detailing the substeps under each stage to present which steps can be combined or eliminated, and which new ones to establish.
- Outline the process objectives (speed up the production time, reduce waste, minimize costs, improve customer support, hike profits, etc.) at each refined stage.
- Define process ownership to designate people within the organization who need to master the framework.
- Create a slide that presents the projected overall value that will be generated by the process improvement.
3. SALES AND MARKETING FUNNEL
Funnel Analysis refers to a group of assessment tools widely used in sales, marketing, and advertising. These tools illustrate the process that leads to the desired outcome, such as customer conversion, service subscription, or product purchase.
In the real world, it takes many inputs (such as a large number of prospects) to generate a desired subset/output (such as paying customers), making triangular or pyramidal shapes very appropriate as visual aids. Because it clearly shows a tapering progression from a wide entry point to a very narrow outflow, the funnel shape has become the most popular core graphic to illustrate this type of analysis. However, there are acceptable variations stemming from creative attempts at presenting the analysis from a different perspective, such as this milestone-focused template. The most popular funnel diagram is the sales funnel template, traditionally used to define the steps of the sales process and record how prospects move from the entrance of the funnel until they purchase.
Depending on the purpose, funnel analysis can be packaged as a purchase funnel, customer funnel, marketing funnel, or conversion panel. Many frameworks have been used to add structure to funnel analysis, with the AIDA concept among the most popular.
AIDA is the acronym for Attention or Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action, signifying the stages that prospective customers undergo before initiating a specific action. Depending on your field of preference, you can use other models such as DAGMAR (Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising Results) or AISDALSLove (Attention, Interest, Search, Desire, Action, Like/dislike, Share, and Love/hate).
When creating funnel-type presentations —
- Make sure to leverage visuals, allocating more space for graphics instead of explanatory or descriptive text.
- Use the funnel shape to highlight the certainty of customer attrition and to emphasize the work needed to achieve the target win (conversion) rate. Include historical figures and statistics when possible.
- Identify stages in the funnel where process or marketing modifications can favorably alter consumer behavior and increase the volume of the desired output.
- Create slides that display specific stages with designated owners to hold them accountable for the expected outcome in their area of expertise.
- Package your deck as an evolving document, including slides that contain clear calls to action for your audience.
Visualize Your Success
Diagrams help visualize business concepts and processes, making it easier for all stakeholders to engage in proactive conversations. Given their purpose, it is no wonder that diagrams comprise a significant subset of business presentations. Remember though that not all diagrams succeed in articulating or clarifying what you need to communicate to your audience. To ensure that your presentation deck really maps out the route to success, use professionally crafted diagram templates that address specific issues or scenarios.