6 of the Best Visual Aids for Presenting Improvement Ideas
Mike Aistrop, senior consultant at Renault-Nissan Consulting discusses the best visual aids for presenting improvement ideas
When it comes to continuous improvement programs, communicating a clear, attainable and structured road map is key to success. However, presenting these ideas in a way that informs and inspires colleagues or employees is one of the biggest challenges faced by organisations. Fortunately, there are a number of tools, systems and visual aids that can help, and the following information will guide you when choosing the best one for your team or project.
1. Workflow management software
There are a wealth of software options and tools available online that help you present and organise your continuous improvement programs and ideas. Systems such as Redzone or Trello not only provide versatile and flexible work flow solutions, but they give clear visibility of the continuous improvement journey. Using these as a visual aid during presentations is helpful because they offer a ‘real time’ view of your progress and the actions required. Questions can be asked or suggestions provided by your audience and alterations can be made immediately on a ‘live’ system, providing better efficiency, visibility, and speed for the team.
Video offers a refreshing alternative to typical PowerPoint presentations when demonstrating new ideas for continuous improvement programs. This format can provide a more engaging way to deliver information and can help you form a compelling argument when used to show case studies or best practice examples.
3. White boards and flip charts
These are effective and often portable ways you can present improvement ideas to your organisation. They provide a simple way to record process diagrams, make lists of questions or responses on the spot during your presentation and – in the case of the flip chart – can be taken away to read and review at a later date.
4. Handouts and takeaways
Written communications that explain ideas for continuous improvement, such as waste reduction and process changes, are another effective visual aid. Handouts can be prepared in advance and used during your meeting or presentation to substantiate your message and the benefits of your process improvement suggestions. These visual aids are also effective when it comes to showing diagrams and work flows that will help you and your colleagues work towards your end goals.
Takeaways add ‘shelf life’ to your improvement ideas and can give people in your continuous improvement team a chance to reflect on the ideas you have presented at some point in the future. They can also act as a helpful reminder or conversation starter further down the line.
If you produce handouts or takeaways, it’s important these can stand-alone without your presentation or verbal explanation. This will ensure they have an impact on your audience even when they have left the room and need to refer to them at a later date.
This online presentation-sharing service, hosted via LinkedIn, has become popular for posting and viewing best practice on a wide range of topics. You can use it to display your slides (as long as they’re not confidential) and link quickly and easily to other industry examples that support your proposals for improvement.
6. PowerPoint and Google Slides
Continuous improvement plans and the ideas you are presenting can often be detailed. That’s why trusty visual aids such as Microsoft Power Point and Google Slides are still popular methods of delivering information. One of the key benefits of using them is the structure they provide to your information. You can easily sort the information in order of priority, as well as moving from presentation to video or another format seamlessly.
The old adage ‘death by PowerPoint’ is still relevant in today’s technology-focused world. So, if you decide to present text, graphs, diagrams or imagery using slides, remember that your audience will soon lose interest if your presentation is too long, too text-heavy or lacks variety. By using a mixture of imagery, video and written solutions to demonstrate your continuous improvement ideas, you stand a better chance of influencing your audience and keeping them engaged throughout.