Master Interweaving

Business Transformations through a structured integration and alignment of Strategy with Operations.
1 minute reading time (293 words)

Tools of the trade: Talking Point Canvas

A Talking Point Canvas is 1-page communication tool that has talking points for communication. The canvas organise talking points in illustrations, diagrams or boxes and they fit on an A5 to A2 paper, Powerpoint page, or a web page.

The purpose is typically to organise and focus communications, discussions and deliberations on a particular topic consisting of several talking points and dimensions.

An example, a SWOT canvas has the result of an assessment with results organised in two dimensions: internal-external, and evaluative better-worse. The 4 talking points are Strength (internal, better), Weakness (internal, worse), Opportunity (external, better), Threat (external, worse).

In many cases a talking point canvas presents a synthesis where assumptions, facts, hypothesis, decisions, vantage points, background analysis, details and dependencies are omitted for clarity and focus.

However, there exist a danger when discussing talking points in separation, without taking into consideration what is behind the surface and how the different talking points relate.

In the case of SWOT, what is hidden may be highly relevant. A SWOT provides an assessment of influencing factors that depends on several aspects that are typically not presented in a SWOT canvas. What is considered as a Strength or Weakness of a company depend on aspects such as…

  • does the SWOT assessment relate to today's strengths or expected future strengths?
  • how strengths relate to each other's and how strengths relate to weaknesses?
  • which scenario, option, or alternative is being assessed?
  • what hypothesis and decisions influence the assessment?
  • what detractors influence the assessment, such as problems?
  • what attractors influence the assessment, such as desired strategic position, vision?

If any of the preceding aspects are relevant, then they should be documented together with the SWOT canvas.

A Talking Point Canvas is a powerful communicative tool when the limitations are known and considered.

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