When you’re creating your presentation visuals, try turning some of your words into diagrams that reinforce your speech. It’s easy to translate words into diagrams when you have a visual taxonomy at your disposal.

Here are the kinds of relationships presentation diagrams can illustrate:

Flow

When connected by arrows, elements flow as a loop, or they can merge and divide, run in parallel, or be placed linearly. For Example:Parallel arrows can show twoteams working in concert toward a goal.

Network

The network category has shapes that are connected by lines, like spokes, hub and spokes, flare and rings. For Example:A hub-and-spoke diagram can illustrate the stakeholders from various departments who come together to make an initiative successful.

Segment

Segments are shapes, sliced like a pie or sectioned like a donut. For Example: A donut can show how separate products fit into a suite of offerings.

Stack

Items can stack either vertically or horizontally.  For Example: Vertical layers can illustrate discrete fiscal-year goals as building blocks that will lead to profitability.

Join

Shapes join when they hook or overlap.  For Example: Ahook diagram can depict a relationship between supply chain partners.

The taxonomy above isn’t exhaustive—and there’s room for creativity within each category (you can use different shapes and styles for the nodes and connectors, and so on). But it covers most bases, which takes some of the pressure off as you’re working to meet your deadline.  Go to diagrammer.com for thousands of choices.

So, how can you diagrams in your presentation? Look through your slides and find a list of bullets. Those bullets should “feel” related—that’s why you grouped them together in the first place. Circle the verbs or nouns on the slide and consider how they’re related. That relationship will most likely fall into one of the major diagram categories. Now see if you can use one of the diagrams in that category to replace your bullet slide. Repeat the process with other text slides.

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