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Become a Presentation Superhero

This Saturday, I hung out at SlideShare’s office to attend the first Presentation Camp! My original intent was to learn from the great list of attendees, but then I realized, why not present? Here’s how to become a presentation superhero!

The Setup:

First, I introduced the scenario where you’ve just been given the opportunity to develop an important presentation. But, you only have a day to do it and you’re starting from scratch. How do you get it done? Where do you start? Where do you take it? How do you get your thoughts out of your head and into a final product? Enter mind mapping…

What’s Mind Mapping

Now that the stage was set, I had to explain what the heck is a mind map. Borrowing from idea mapping author Jamie Nast, I presented the concept of blooms, flows and the final result, a mind map of blooms and flows. Our topic for this co-created mind map was how to develop a killer presentation.

So, quickly…a bloom captures ideas and surrounds them around the topic that you’re thinking about…

A flow continues to break down an idea into greater detail…

Mind maps are visual representations of your ideas and information, which you can create quickly by combining the concept of ‘blooms’ and ‘flows’. It’ll wind up looking something like this map which is borrowed mostly from Roger Parker’s speech planning map.

The Traditional Approach (or, in other words, what’s the PAIN?)

Next, I used the Beyond Bullet Points example of creating content for a presentation. A traditional approach would use a tool like Microsoft Word for creating your outline before diving into PowerPoint. There are major drawbacks to using Word for this as you quickly lose perspective and relationships of presentation points and details when it is spread across 10+ pages of a word document.

The Solution

The same content was presented in a map where you could see the relationships between your points and easily reorganize them to ensure that you are maintaining a clean, logical flow and providing clear, persuasive support for your desired presentation outcome.

Next, I presented some of the advantages of using mind mapping software to develop your content instead of using your whiteboard or pen and paper. The list could go on; I just covered a few of the key points.

I wrapped it up with some Q&A on how to be a Presentation Super-hero. I think I forgot to show my contact info, but here’s my second chance!

Here are my presentation maps:

  1. Leave a comment below if you’d like a copy of my Presentation Camp SF Map, How to Map Your Way to Better Presentations.
  2. The Beyond Bullet Points Map Template (requires MindManager)
  3. The Beyond Bullet Points Map Example (requires MindManager)

More Great Presentations

Beyond mapping, there was a great group of presenters, presentations and insights shared throughout the day. Here’s a glimpse of who attended:

  • Camen Taran gave a great presentation on Better Beginnings which covered how to engage your audience in 30 seconds! DOs: Create an emotional connection right away  DONTs: Start with an agenda (yawn), lack passion, apologize or be self-indulgent!
  • Cliff Atkinson, author of Beyond Bullet Points, got everyone involved in an improv presentation where audience members created a story from a set of PowerPoint images in real-time. Each participant shared for 30 seconds and then the next participant continued the storyline. It was great to show how much humor and information can be conveyed with images, not bullets!
  • Stowe Boyd led an interesting discussion about how services like Twitter may change real-time and web conferencing in the near future…
  • Terry Gault engaged the group with a presentation on The Creation Myth. Ways to brand yourself or your company. If you want to know a bit more about Mindjet’s creation, check out the Cancer Code story of our founder, Mike Jetter.
  • Scott Schwertly, presentation whiz-kid and founder of ethos3 and slide magnet, delivered a Larry Lessig styled presentation on delivering presentations to Gen X & Y.
  • Dave McClure, the master of 500 hats, delivered an edgy presentation on…how shall I say this…Start Up Viagra: how to ‘turn on’ a Venture Capitalist.
  • Jeff Widman, who I met at the GTD Summit and is currently blogging for VentureBeat.com, discussed the ‘what, when, where, why and hows’ of story boarding for presentations. Jeff faciliatated the conversation and I built a live map about Storyboards to record the group’s conversations. (Use the Storyboards link to download the map).

There were some other great sessions which I did not get a chance to see. For more info about this event and other Presentation camps, check out the SlideShare.net blog.

Don’t forget, add a comment below if you’d like a copy of the presentation map that I delivered. Thanks!

About the Author: Michael Deutch is Mindjet’s Chief Evangelist, content contributor for the Mindjet Blog and the Mindjet Connections newsletter. Get more from Michael on Twitter.