Presentation Hack: Death by Bikablo

Whether in-person or online, you've undoubtedly seen bikablo® style sketches.  Whether you know it as bikablo or something else, the artistic appearance is unique, recognizable, and gaining familiarity. I like it. And there's a good chance you do too.

"Graphic facilitation" is now slowly replacing projected slides, such as those created by Microsoft Office PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, or Prezi. Graphic facilitators use boards and flip charts to create imagery, word art, and visual links by use of markers.

But why do we like bikablo? Maybe because it's replacing boring, passive slides. We all know about the phenomenon called Death By PowerPoint. Maybe bikablo has re-energized presentations -- through participation, engagement, and creation on-the-fly.

As an outspoken critic of projected slides, graphic facilitation excites me. It gives me hope that presenters, speakers, and moderators are concerned for and desire active, social, non-linear learning that takes place in interactive opposed to boring, linear, passive lectures.

But it also scares me.

As bikablo and graphic facilitation grow in popularity, an industry of its own emerges. Neuland markers are one (1) of the staple products. Sharpies no more!

And of course...bring on the certification classes!! Yes, you can attend multi-day workshops to learn how to draw bikablo characters, banners, icons, and more. (Just curious...What's a bikablo certification actually worth?)

I foresee presenters slowly letting their sketching skills overshadow the actual content of the workshop. Drawings will be forced into places it should not. Facilitators will essentially be showing off their bikablo, rather than using bikablo as a supplement. (I'm sure many of you can identify with this already!)

Is bikablo and graphic facilitation destined to have a useful lifespan like PowerPoint?

Will we eventually tire of the forced, mechanical nature of sketch artists in the classroom?

How soon will we be rolling our eyes when we enter a room of flip charts and Neuland markers?

When will #DeathByBikablo become a thing?

Then...what'll be next?

Aside from writing on a variety of topics, I publish a column of blog posts under the label Presentation Hack. Check them out for ideas, tips, and tricks to better public speaking or classroom experiences!


Lou Hayes, Jr. is a criminal investigations & intelligence unit supervisor in a suburban Chicago police department. With a passion for training, he studies human performance & decision-making, creativity, emotional intelligence, and adaptability. Follow Lou on Twitter at @LouHayesJr or on LinkedInHe also maintains a LinkedIn page for The Illinois Model.


  1. Lou:
    A very interesting article. I just did a post at my Joyful Public Speaking blog titled Bikablo – using visual dictionaries to make serious cartoons for getting your ideas across. In it I provided links to descriptions and videos about the three Bikablo books.
    Richard Garber


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