The Boyd Loop as a Presenter’s Tool, or Order vs. Chaos


Take advantage of a universal strategic formula to create online events and other content.


As sad as it is, it’s worth recognizing – many online presentation writers often produce content that looks like a chaotic mess. In accomplishing this, they either spend more time than necessary to achieve the desired result or sacrifice quality in order to meet deadlines. The latter, according to our observations, happens more frequently. 


What is the problem? Why does a presenter so often have to rewrite the text, redo slides and even change the script? Why is it so often the case that the author “rushes through” the entire presentation, tweaking each of its components a little at a time, instead of methodically proceeding according to a plan? One reason is that creating almost any online content that falls under the definition of a presentation (or fulfills its role) is a creative process. And we are used to treating creativity as a phenomenon that by definition cannot be algorithmized. This school of thought is that creative works require action based on inspiration, intuition, experience and personal creative vision. Most would agree, there is such a stereotype. 


Let’s disappoint fans of the “purely intuitive approach”, which, let’s face it, is often a beautiful blanket thrown over a bed of laziness. Planning and moving through the stages outlined by the plan is not the enemy of creativity, but its assistant, allowing you to direct creative energy along the shortest path to achieve the desired result. 


The dispute between the proponents of planning and their opponents from the camp of “pure intuition” and “unlimited creativity” brings to mind the famous military strategist John Boyd. The same one who invented “Boyd’s Loop” – a concept that has turned into a kind of a magic wand for all those who have to live and work in situations of uncertainty with rapidly changing conditions. 


Boyd’s starting point was his experience as a pilot. He flew a fighter jet in the Korean War, and afterward worked as an instructor training other pilots. Among other things, he undertook an ambitious and seemingly unsolvable task – to create a universal formula for victory in aerial combat. It must be said that many pilots, including experienced aces, were skeptical of this undertaking. It was believed that air combat is too creative a process, critically dependent on the particular qualities, abilities and experience of each individual pilot. Doesn’t that ring a bell?


Boyd, however, held a dissenting opinion. Through hard work, he had indeed developed a universal formula for air combat, proving its effectiveness time and again. It even earned him the nickname “Forty Second Boyd”, because it took him no more than 42 seconds to defeat any opponent in aerial combat training, starting from even from the most disadvantageous position. The skeptics were put to shame.


Boyd’s work in military theory eventually led him to create the famous OODA loop, which has become a decision-making concept used in commercial operations and learning processes. Boyd sought to develop a concept that would allow him to analyze the reasons for victories and defeats in a simple and accessible form and develop the best strategy for battlefield success. The essence of the concept Boyd developed boils down to a cycle of four steps that are repeated in a cycle (hence the loop):


Observe: gather information 

Orient: analyze information and determine achievable goals

Decide: determine the optimal actions and their sequence based on the previous two steps

Act: implement the chosen decisions 


This simple, brilliant concept that was developed, or rather declassified, in 1995, made John Boyd a celebrity far beyond military circles. The OODA loop proved to be a universal tool adopted by businessmen, politicians, lawyers, athletes and anyone else who had to make decisions in a competitive environment with limited resources and time.


Since it is a universal tool, why shouldn’t it be used by presenters? Let’s imagine how the OODA loop’s steps can be used as a universal blueprint for creating an online presentation:  


Observe: The author should gather information about their target audience, competitors, trends and market needs. This requires tracking feedback, statistics, and analytics on previously published content and evaluating its effectiveness and impact.


Orient: The writer interprets and analyzes the information gathered according to their goals, strategy and creative vision. They must evaluate their competition level, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, risks, and the limits of resources and time they can devote to creating the presentation.


Decide: The author comes up with and selects the most appropriate ideas, formats, styles, technologies, and channels to create and distribute their content


Act: The writer puts their decisions into practice by creating and publishing their content, monitoring results, getting feedback and adjusting their actions according to changes in the situation.


As we see it, the main advantage of the Boyd Loop in this context is that it allows us to streamline the process of creating a presentation while not constraining or limiting the work’s creative component  in any way. Note that using intelligent assistants such as Pitch Avatar and specialized services for presenters such as Roi4Presenter at every stage can increase your presentation’s effectiveness. Give it a try and see for yourself. 


Good luck to everyone, successful presentations, and high income!


Originally published at on September 22, 2023.

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