Create a Mind Map ...
your presentation structure off to a flying start
When I have a new presentation to develop, I often create a
mind map to help organize my thoughts and get my mind focused on the job in
hand. A mind map is a diagram with various topics branching out from a central
theme. Each of those topics can then have related sub-topics branching out from
them, etc. It is a visual form of brainstorming and your aim is to list and find links
between related topics and ideas. It can be a great help in the initial stage in
structuring a presentation, particularly if you're finding it difficult to know
where to start.
How to create a mind map
One of the most daunting sights when creating a presentation is when you
open Microsoft PowerPoint and see a blank slide with the words "Click to add
title" staring back at you. Panic! Where do you begin? It can be a little
the presenters equivalent of writers block. However, there is one simple
solution to overcome this problem:
Don't start with a blank PowerPoint slide!
A great way to start organizing your thoughts and get those
creative juices flowing is with a
mind map. All you need to create a mind map is a blank sheet of paper (or a
whiteboard) and some
by placing the theme or subject of your presentation in the centre of the paper
then draw a rectangular box round it. Now you start to do some brainstorming.
Write down some topics that you need to discuss in your presentation. Start with
some general main topics to begin with. Draw some colored lines out from the
central box and add the main topics to them. Now think of some sub-topics that should be in your presentation and add them to your mind map, linking them
to the related main topics. And so on.
Create a mind
map to help organize your thoughts
Most presentations flow in a linear fashion: slide 1,
followed by slide 2, then slide 3, etc. With a mind map, your aim is not
to link topics in a particular sequence. Your aim is to find
relationships between individual topics, and in so doing create a structure by
grouping similar ideas. Creating a mind map is a form of visual thinking and can
be a great help in overcoming "writers block" through the listing and grouping
of ideas. It's also a great overview to see if you've missed any vital points.
Those main topics (shown in blue circles in the drawing above) will eventually
be the main headings when you go on to make an outline.
When you create a mind map, there are some general
Use a large piece of paper with the long edge toward
you in landscape orientation (a whiteboard is also good).
Place the main topic or subject in the centre of the
Use just one or two "keywords" per linkage line. Don't
write sentences: keywords are all that is required.
Don't "edit" your thinking at this stage. Put down all
ideas without judgment or evaluation. You can prune back items at a
Don't try to be too perfect or too detailed when you create
a mind map. The mind map you create here is not an end in itself. It's just a
tool to help you to the next stage of structuring your presentation. No one will see
your mind map except you, so be as creative as you like. Focus on getting all
your ideas down on paper and grouping related items.
Ready to move on? Great! You're now ready to begin
creating an outline. But that's another story...
Structuring a Presentation from
Create a Mind Map
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