My Presentation Tips Through an Extraordinary Case

Visualization is a powerful method at problem solving. Professional design thinker Tom Wujec offers to use visual diagrams to solve even complex business cases. For many years, he has been asking people for sketching “how to make toast” at several workshops. If you like, you could try now as well! By just using paper and pencil, in 3 minutes, draw how to make a toast, without using word. It seems easy and even children are expected to draw it!

Tom Wujec encountered with great variety at drawings that are represented in the website Although using nodes, links or connections are common, number of steps, beginning & ending stages and tools are resulted in different perceptions. You could watch Tedx Talk of Tom Wujec to understand his insight and see interesting examples of drawings.

Tom Wujec: Got a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast

I am not a design thinker, but this Tedx Talk reminds me that there are millions of ways to present an issue. Thus I would like to discuss the method of drawing toast not from the perspective of problem solving but for presentation skills. I accept even an easy sketch of “how to make toast” as a presentation. Let’s examine the ways of making a presentation more clear, strong and impressive through the “draw toast” diagrams.

1) Who is your target audience?

Understanding your audience’s perception, background and skills help to define the scope of the presentation. Consider the variety of the audience that could be interested in toast making methods. Children who are going to make toast for the first time in their life / Engineers analysing the future toast machine technology / Executive leaders who do not have sufficient time to make toast in the morning. The expectations and skills of each group are different and result in different level of content. The below sketch might belong to an engineer, but the audience might not be engineer.

Who is your audience? An engineer, a kid or executive leader?

2) What are your limits?

Usually you should be hearing that, “stop limiting yourself, feel free and be creative”. But creativity is enriched by certain limits. Defining time, length and size limits would compel to find reasonable methods for the presentation. Tom Wujec states that in average, illustrations have 4–8 nodes. Limits would prevent excessive details or inadequate content. What is your initial point? Look at this sketch which begins with wheat cultivation and flour production!

What is your limit, initial point? Wheat cultivation?!

3) Why you are presenting?

Define your purpose, objective, outcome of the presentation. Preventing misusage of toast machine, applying delicious toast recipe of Italian cuisine or making toast in fastest way? Each of these purposes are meaningful and effect the scope of the presentation.

4) What’s your position?

Considering your position with your purpose is relevant and meaningful. Defining your position and perspective strength your statement and allow you to focus on the outcome. Who are you? Cheese producer planning to increase sales / Toast machine producer indicating a user guideline / Insurer aiming to decrease risk of home accidents? Or toast pan producer against to the mainstream competitor toast machine?

What’s your position? Are you producer of toast pan or toast machine ?

5) Tell it to yourself

Practice your presentation and have rehearsal! Test whether your presentation is flowing smoothly. Check the below sketch, do each step represent a specific action or not? By making iterative adjustments, be sure that there is not any meaningless or missing content.

Tell it to yourself first! Are all steps meaningful or not?

Bonus: Tell someone else and ask for recommendation

If you have opportunity, present to someone else and ask for recommendation. It is the best way to realize hidden points, misunderstandings and further improvement areas.

Although there are various presentation tips, I enjoyed to discuss it through an extraordinary example. Hopefully you find my suggestions useful and enjoy as well.

What are your key points for presentations, please share!


being curious and looking beyond