My last full post — on effective presentations — highlighted the “Post-It” method for composing and arranging one’s story. There are other techniques that help to structure one’s story line and its foundation.
I’ve found affinity diagramming an essential tool for brainstorming. The process is can be really just as simple as outlined in the affinity diagram wikipedia entry (here):
Record each idea on cards or notes (Post-It’s work great)
Look for ideas that seem to be related
Sort cards into groups until all cards have been used.
There are a number of ways in this basic process can be refined. In particular, I like to conduct the basic process in silence, which encourages participation from less vocal members. Discussion can resume once it is time to label groups, tag folks with follow ups, etc. As you’d imagine, affinity diagrams on Post-It’s can easily be transformed into a nice presentation story flow.
Glen Alleman outlines an even more story-oriented approach in his comment to my original post. While I’m not familiar with the author he cites, the idea of adapting the classic “three act structure” to presentation structure is outstanding.