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February 06, 2008

Use Haiku to Get to the Point

I just returned from VizThink, where I facilitated a few exercises for the nearly 400 attendees.  My favorite -- and the one I used to close out the conference -- is one I call PowerPoint Haiku.  Here's how it works:

  1. Everyone gets three "slides" (one each for the questions they have to answer) that can be notecards, 8.5 " x 11"  cardstock, or even (gasp) actual PowerPoint slides.
  2. You pose three questions to the group.  At VizThink, they were:  "Why did you come to VizThink?"  "What did you learn?" and "What are you going to do next?"
  3. Each question is answered on a separate slide with this Haiku-like twist: The first question MUST be answered in 5 words, the second question in 7 words, and the third in 5 words.  And yes, I know that in true Haiku, you count syllables instead of words.
  4. Everyone can then take their "slides" and add a drawing, picture or other visual images to each one.
  5. The mini-presentations are then shared around the table.

Here's the VizThink recap from the VizThink Blog.  I love this exercise, and use it in almost all of my XPLANE sessions to understand "what good looks like" to the stakeholders.  It is fun, and often provides startling insights.  Give it a try with your clients.  Ask them:

  1. Why are you here?  (5 words)
  2. What can I do for you?  (7 words)
  3. Why is it important to you? (5 words)

Let me know what happens.    

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Come on, Matt, you are so close.

Why did you come here?

I am at your service, why?

Why does it matter?

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