We have all been suffering from soporific presentations. So why annoy clients any longer with those dreary, monotone meetings? To be ahead of the pack, it needs more than traditional slides. A key to success can be the method of mind-mapping: Organizing information through visually prepared one-page depictions not only keeps the audience engaged; it also clarifies complex correlations and shows benefits and possible solutions in one spot. As mind-mapping pioneers, business consultants have gathered much experience in applying this brain-friendly way of presenting information. Any entrepreneur could learn from that.
From real life
So let’s start with an example from real life showing the power of mind maps: Not only is Scott E. Plaskett , CEO of Ironshield Financial Planning, an experienced consultant. He is also a true fan of mind maps. “The map itself is like a live worksheet for me, which I create right in front of the audience’s eyes. When I get started, people are sometimes skeptical about the format – all they see is an empty canvas with a bubble in the middle. But once I start creating more topics, expanding the map while I talk, this changes drastically. After a presentation, people often come up to me and tell me how engaging it was, how easy they found it to follow my explanations because of the map.”
Well, is Scott just a brilliant speaker who has the gift of keeping his audience in suspense? Probably he is. You can’t deny that strong stage presence can be captivating. However, the greatest personality won’t help you with delivering hard facts to busy executives in a structured, quick, and comprehensible way. That’s where mind maps come into play.
Back to basics: Why mind mapping works
A mind map is a diagram that organizes information in an associative manner, using graphical elements, color and keywords. Visualizing your ideas through mind maps is so powerful because it delivers information in a brain friendly way. It’s as simple as that – and proven by science: Mind mapping follows the rules of learning and memory psychology . On the one hand, it respects the brain’s utmost desire to make connections between topics by organizing information through separate branches and hierarchies. On the other hand, the mind map’s visual composition increases information retention significantly – up to six times compared to pure text presentations. In short: There’s no better way to wow your clients!
What you have to do now
Why not give it a shot? If you’re a mind mapping rookie, I suggest you start as follows:
1. Chose appropriate mind mapping tool
A lot of mind mapping tools are available. I personally would focus on two things: It must be super simple to use. And it should be a web-based solution as this makes collaborative work so much easier. MindMeister , for example, offers you a live demo without downloading any software or signing in. Thus, you can decide within seconds if you like it or prefer another application.
2. Transfer an existing classical slide presentation into a mind map
You shouldn’t start from scratch. Take one of your current presentations and transfer it into a mind map. Organize the topics by branches, and add videos and documents to the mind map to make the presentation more vivid. Take a look at an example of such a presentation to find out how it may look like.
3. Have a dry run!
I know this is time consuming! But to get cozy with mind mapping in front of an audience, do it anyway. Grab a few colleagues, invite them to a cup of coffee and test your new mind mapping presentation. Monitor their reactions.
There’s no business like show business. So get your mind map out into the world! Your client’s reactions may be astonishing. Or, to cite Helen Crozier , an Australian productivity consultant: “Once I show mind mapping to my clients, 9 times out of 10 the first thing they say is ‘Wow! I could use that with my clients, too!’ As Helen uses her mind mapping tool not only for client presentations, but also for working with her clients, she can do more in less time: Thanks to web collaboration, she is able to work simultaneously with clients although not physically in the same place. Helen reports that she’s been able to do more in less time, ultimately resulting in being able to take more clients and increase her billable hours by 50%.
Michael Hollauf is the Co-founder of MeisterLabs, SaaS Product Guy, and Growth Hacker.