This was very interactive, as we produce mind-maps on flip charts during the presentation.

Using Mind-Mapping to Create a Presentation

How to use mind-mapping and brainstorming methods to prepare a presentation.

Graham divided the preparation into 5 phases:

A: What can we talk about? - choosing a topic

The group decided to talk about tourism in Switzerland.

In phase A, Graham led us in brainstorming. We called out words as they came to mind, and he wrote them on an overhead projection foil.

What was important in this stage is just a wide range of words. It did not matter if there were narrow or broad terms, if they were close to a topic or far away. We had cheese, trains, sight-seeing, banking, Zermatt, activities and many more.

Graham placed them in positions on the chart roughly by a topic area (using cards on a flip-chart is easier).

Between Phase A and Phase B we make a choice - we focus on topic areas in more detail. For instance, we decided to ignore industry and banking, and concentrate on people, interests and activities. We would include locations and sights. Transport and services would be less important.

B: What do we know anout it? - finding many different points

In Phase B we became more organised. We began by redrawing the mind-map by "moving the center", placing these topic areas in a more coherent order, adding more detail. For instance, under transport we included air, trains, buses and rental cars, but we put bicycling, skiing etc under activities.

Between Phase B and Phase C we decide on the exact topic.

We also consider "who": the audience to whom we will be presenting, "why" and "what" they expect to get out of the presentation. We decided we had to persuade British holidaymakers to come to Switzerland for their vacations. For this theme, we define the title of the presentation now, not before!

C: Gathering information - and selecting from it

In Phase C we add information. We refine the words into ideas, (though we may not write down sentences). The ideas will now relate to our theme, and we reject items which do not fit. For instance, in the "people" area we considered "the audiences interests and wishes", and in the "activities" area we planned "relate the activities to tourists desires".

At the end of Phase C we are pretty sure we have covered most of what we can talk about. It's still presented in the form of a mind-map, with topics on branches and leaves.

In Phase D we organise this into the structure of a speech.

D: Organising the presentation - according to the sandwich method

We now draw curves to bundle the areas on the map up into chunks which will suit us as Introduction, Body (parts 1,2,3) and Conclusion. The "circles" may be irregularly shaped, and can overlap.

For instance, the introduction leads in to the structure of the body, and the conclusion brings us back to what we talked about in the introduction.

We may even be able to draw a "red thread" from Introduction through Body items to Conclusion, and we now begin to think about the way we will talk about each point.

E: Remembering it

We can now write down the points in sequence, as we will presentat them. But still we do not have to write sentences - short statements are enough. And we already know the material well enough that we can speak without further preparation.

We memorize key words, which trigger the sentences which we will form.