You are previewing How to Make an IMPACT: Influence, inform and impress with your reports, presentations and business documents.
O'Reilly logo
How to Make an IMPACT: Influence, inform and impress with your reports, presentations and business documents

Book Description

Every once in a while, simple ideas change business forever - this book is full of such ideas. A must-read if you want to do something about all those impenetrable reports, slides and information packs. This book has all the answers and will redefine how you think about business documents.

Dominic Burke, Chief Executive, Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc

This is a vital topic that has been sorely neglected. Jon’s book changes that. It is crammed with new ideas that are creative, thoughtful, yet practical and relevant for all disciplines of business. Essential reading for everyone in business!

Dr Jikyeong Kang, Professor of Marketing and Director of MBA Programmes, Manchester Business School

I’ve seen Jon’s talk and his ideas are full of originality and wisdom. Many ideas are stunningly simple, others are mould-breaking. He takes preconceived thinking and turns it on his head. Your business reporting will never be the same again.

Michael Izza, Chief Executive ICAEW

STRAPLINE:Clear information shows clear thinking, and clear thinking informs, influences and impresses.

How often do you stare at uninviting and confusing presentations, notes, reports and information packs? And get nothing out of them? But it doesn’t have to be like this. We can all produce amazingly clear work that has incredible impact — if only we knew how.  This book shows you how. Itis full of ideas, tips and principles that are simple and easy to implement, yet brilliantly effective.You will never look at a business document in the same way again.  And your work will impress the people that matter and get the results you want.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Financial Times Prentice Hall
  3. Acknowledgements
  4. Introduction: Information is not power. Clarity and impact is
    1. The benefits of clarity and impact
    2. Why so much information is poor
    3. What you will get from this book
    4. Some other pointers about the book
    5. How to save time implementing these ideas
    6. Final thoughts
  5. 1. Bullet points (‘WiT’): ‘WiT’: the seriously better alternative to many bullet points
    1. The problems with bullet points
    2. The answer – ‘WiT’
    3. Turning a bullet point list into ‘WiT’
    4. How ‘WiT’ helps ensure completeness
    5. How ‘WiT’ is great for slides too
    6. How ‘WIT’ helps cut out words
    7. How ‘WIT’ reassures readers
    8. How ‘WIT’ ensures consistent writing
    9. When to ‘WiT’: repeating patterns, brief sections
    10. How ‘WIT’ can develop a line of argument
    11. How ‘WIT’ can do headings and subheadings
    12. Can you have too much ‘WiT’?
    13. When bullet points are acceptable
    14. Final thoughts and recap
      1. The monthly update
      2. Findings that were of interest
      3. The client pitch
      4. The client pitch – in PowerPoint
      5. Updates on the year-start plans
      6. The report index
      7. A sequential line of argument
      8. If a lot of hierarchies
      9. The CV (Visit www.jmoon.co.uk for a template)
      10. Recap
        1. The benefits of ‘WiT’
        2. When you can ‘WiT’
        3. ‘WiT’ for particular formats
        4. Constructing your ‘WiT’
  6. 2. Graphs: Why many business graphs fail – and how to ensure yours don’t
    1. When to do graphs: myths and reality checks
    2. Tips for smart graphs
      1. Doing the plot
      2. Doing labels, words, axes
      3. Sizing and positioning
    3. Graphs that compare (i.e. not time series)
      1. Just one data set
      2. A few sets of data (not time series)
      3. Many sets of data (not time series)
    4. Time-series graphs
      1. One set of data
      2. More than one set of data
    5. More than one data set – popular graphs to avoid
    6. Tips for graphs in presentations
    7. Other ideas for business graphs
      1. Inverted graphs
      2. Rebased graphs
      3. Graphs that give overview and detail
    8. So what exactly makes a ‘good’ graph?
    9. Final thoughts and recap
      1. Recap
        1. Should you do a graph at all?
        2. Does your graph work?
        3. Doing the plot
      2. Graphs to try
        1. A mastertable
        2. Mini-graphs
        3. The line graph
        4. The logo chart
        5. Detailed histogram
        6. The UNICEF chart
        7. Inverted graphs
      3. Graphs to avoid if your objective is clarity
        1. Pie charts
        2. Multiple pie charts
        3. Most columns
        4. Paired column charts
        5. Crinkly line charts
        6. Multiple column charts
        7. Adjacent column charts
        8. Stacked bar charts
        9. Most cumulative graphs
        10. Waterfall graphs
        11. Reports with lots of graphs
  7. 3. Tables: How your numerical tables can be loved, not loathed
    1. The Big Five Changes
    2. Big Change 1: Remove unnecessary gridlines
      1. Great grids: the basics
      2. Great grids: advanced stuff
    3. Big Change 2: Avoid too much emphasis
    4. Big Change 3: Sort out the row and column order
      1. A table is something you have to organise
      2. Step 1: Put the most important column nearest the labels
      3. Step 2: Put comparable columns adjacent to each other
      4. Step 3: Put comparable columns in some sort of order
      5. Back to row order
    5. Big Change 4: Make compact
    6. Big Change 5: Give a lead-in title
    7. Common mistakes with tables
      1. Common mistake 1: Unnecessary zeros and brackets
      2. Common mistake 2: Numbers
      3. Common mistake 3: Unnecessarily repeating words and labels
      4. Common mistake 4: Indecipherable column headings
      5. Common mistake 5: Inconsistencies that detract
    8. Should data be in rows or columns?
    9. The big final redo
    10. Final thoughts and recap
      1. Recap
        1. The Big Five
        2. Getting them perfect
  8. 4. Making comparisons: The pros and cons of your list of pros and cons
    1. A table of ticks and crosses
    2. A two-by-two grid
    3. A cluster chart
    4. Covering the bases
    5. A decision tree
    6. Final thoughts and recap
      1. Recap
  9. 5. Slides: Slides that inform and influence
    1. How to get your message remembered
      1. Be big
      2. An acronym
      3. A memorable quote
      4. A cartoon that reinforces
    2. Other better alternatives to bullet points
      1. ‘WiT’ – Words in Tables (Chapter 1)
      2. Two-by-two grids (or three-by-three, etc.)
      3. Decision trees
      4. Cluster charts
      5. Ticks and crosses
    3. Getting the audience to listen, not read slides
      1. A haphazard layout
      2. Show nothing
    4. ‘But the bullets are my script . . .’
    5. Better bullet points
      1. Tips for all bullet points
      2. More relevant for slides
    6. When to bend ‘rules’ for slides
    7. How to do a great handout
    8. Final thoughts and recap
      1. Recap
  10. 6. Numbers: How to make sure your numbers clarify, not confuse
    1. Why numbers confuse
    2. Why people don’t round
    3. How to round – variable rounding
    4. Dealing with objections to variable rounding
    5. When not to round
    6. How to show numbers in text
    7. Problems showing percentages
      1. Big percentage changes
      2. Getting Excel to compute percentage changes
    8. Why numbers need friends
    9. Final thoughts and recap
      1. Recap
  11. 7. Document design: Tips, principles and ideas for notes, reports, packs and slides
    1. Which fonts to use when
    2. Quick and effective typographical tips, part 1
    3. Introducing the four principles
    4. Principle 1: Contrast
    5. Principle 2: Repetition
    6. Principle 3: Alignment
      1. Vertical alignment
      2. Horizontal alignment
    7. Principle 4: Proximity
    8. Applying the principles: slides, CVs, meeting notes
      1. A PowerPoint slide
      2. A curriculum vitae
      3. A client meeting note
    9. Ideas for your documents
      1. For any document
      2. For particular documents
    10. Quick and effective typographical tips, part 2
      1. Avoiding mistakes when emphasising
      2. How best to align continuous text
        1. Fine to use
        2. Ones to avoid
      3. Other detailed typographical tips
        1. Line spacing
        2. Other
    11. Avoiding mistakes with colour
      1. Should you use colour?
      2. If doing colour
      3. If not doing colour
    12. In-house design templates
    13. Final thoughts and recap
      1. Recap
        1. Typographical details
        2. The four design principles
        3. Using colour
        4. Ideas
  12. 8. Variances, KPIs and ‘flashes’: Great layouts that management can understand and act on
    1. Variance analysis
    2. The one-page KPI and ‘flashes’
    3. Easier-to-understand balance sheets
    4. Final thoughts and recap
      1. Recap
        1. Variances as ‘WIT’
        2. Page from management accounts
        3. Flash report
        4. KPIs – lots of words
        5. KPIs – not so many words
  13. 9. Organisation charts: How to provide greater richness and granularity to your charts
    1. The conventional organisation chart
    2. A better way to show the structure
    3. The technology bit
    4. Final thoughts and recap
      1. Recap
  14. 10. Next steps: Rolling out these ideas to benefit even more from them
  15. Computing: How to do some of the ideas in this book on your PC
    1. Plotting some of the graphs in this book
    2. Excel versus Word and linking between them
      1. Putting Excel tables and graphs into Word
    3. Showing numbers in Excel
      1. Formatting numbers
      2. Variable rounding in Excel
      3. Percentage changes with negative numbers
  16. Bibliography