Use Mindmaps And This 4 Step Process To Eliminate Presentation Stress

Have you been to one of those presentations where you thought you just had to go away? The presenter was showing you dozens of slides. You could not identify any structure in it.

Your presenter probably did not use mindmaps to outline and present his or her information. Today, we have a look at how mindmaps will help you to get things clear for your next presentation. Even if you already created your presentation and you think it needs work (before the end of the day)!

Here are the 4 steps in using mindmaps for your presentation.

Step 1: Create an outline of your presentation

I assume you already have a general idea of what you will be speaking about. This is of course important.

This first step helps you in outlining your presentation. You can do that by creating a mindmap on either a large sheet of paper, a whiteboard or on your computer.

Put the topic in the middle of the mindmap. Then, you use free association to get ideas of what you want to discuss. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What is the purpose of the presentation?>/li>
  • What do I want my audience to learn or hear?
  • What is it they need to do after the presentation?
  • What does my audience know already?
  • Why was I asked to present my thoughts and information on this topic?

The main thing you should understand is that most of the time, you need to think from your audience their perspective. Sure, it’s great to talk about what you like. The only small thing is… you are not that important. You are there on a mission: entertain, educate, convince or inform your audience.

What you need to do is create branches in your map that give them answers to their questions. If you need additional guidance in this, make sure you ask the people who invited you or you can even ask some of the people who will attend the presentation. They can tell you what you need to talk about.

Once you have your first ideas on paper, you organize them. Put relevant information in the same branch. Organize your thoughts and create an outline. This outline is the basis of your presentation and could even be used as the basis of your hand-out.

The result of this first step is a one-sheet overview of your presentation.

Step 2: Write your presentation

With your outline as the blueprint of your presentation, you start to move into more detail. You write your thoughts on every topic directly in your mindmap.

That’s right, don’t take MS Word or another tool to write your entire presentation. You need to keep things organized. That is why you use the NOTES function of your mindmap tool to store your text.

You simply take a topic in the map and you write in there what you want to tell your audience. Be sure you start at the beginning of your outline. Write in one session your entire presentation. Don’t stop until you have about 80% to 90% of your presentation on paper.

Then… move away from your mindmap and do something completely different. Your subconscious brain will work on it for you.

After a few hours or even a day, you continue writing. You will be amazed about the additional content you can add to your text!

Usually, in about three writing sessions, you have 95% – 100% of your presentation covered in your mindmap.

Step 3: Rehearse and Minimize your map

This third step is important. You need to rehearse your presentation. Personally, I would rehearse the entire presentation for myself using a tape recorder. I simply read the content into a microphone. This way you will hear if sentences are too long or too complicated. When you find something strange, fix this immediately.

Your job is to make your presentation as clear as possible.

When you did this, you ask a colleague or friend to listen to your presentation. Use your text or mindmap to deliver the speech. Let them tell you what needs to be adjusted. You choose if your ‘audience’ does this during the presentation or afterwards.

When the content of the presentation is clear and ready to be used, you have to do one more thing. You need to minimize the mindmap. Copy the original mindmap into a new map and call it for instance presentation1_minimal. You need your ‘big’ mindmap later on.

Since you know what you are talking about, you can probably create a mindmap which shows you less words. Remember, each word or image in a mindmap is a key which unlocks information in your mind. Choosing the right words and images lets you access the information quickly. Think carefully about your map content.

The goal is to use sort of a minimalistic approach. Give your audience the right information and overview and show just enough to help you through your presentation.

When you reduced your map content, you only need to do one thing: print your maps, both the complete and the reduced content map. Also print your completely written out text. These are your backups. 

Step 4: Deliver your mindmapped presentation

Your big moment is here. You only feel a healthy amount of stress. This keeps you focused. You were asked to deliver this presentation AND you prepared, so you have absolutely nothing to worry about.

You may use a video projector or a flip-over or another presentation device to show your smaller mindmap. Remember that this is only to give the audience an overview of what you discuss and where you are in your presentation.

Remember I told you I don’t like text-only PowerPoint slides? This is why. You lose the overview. The mindmap you show won’t do that. It shows what was discussed, where you are right now and where you are going.

If for some reason, you can’t use a visual aid, you can always use the reduced-content-mindmap. Give this to your audience. I can almost guarantee you that they will have a second look at this later. During your presentation, they can add their notes to the mindmap as well.

Since you rehearsed your presentation a number of times, you can confidently deliver it.