Thursday, April 23, 2009

Index Cards & Mind Mapping to Organize a Presentation

I'm in the process of developing an online visual explanation SlideShare presentation about plastic water bottles and ocean pollution for my blog SaveTheOcean (and to share with other Ocean advocacy organizations). I've liked both Cliff Atkinson's and Nancy Duarte's presentation development methodologies, but for some reason have still felt the need to combine elements of both and customize.

Two tools that I'm finding to be really useful are a stack of index cards and mind mapping software (I'm using Nova Mind). The index cards are great for capturing key points in the brainstorming phase. In Nancy's workshop at VizThink recently she had us use post-it notes, but personally I'm finding that index cards are easier to use. I don't have a big whiteboard or wall to organize them all so I can just lay out my index cards on a table or the floor and rearrange as needed, then pack them all up in order when I need the space for something else.

At a certain point, the index cards started getting to be a bit unwieldy so I created a mind map in NovaMind to continue working on the structure of the presentation. I think any of the presentation gurus will tell you that defining your presentation content and structuring it all outside of PowerPoint or Keynote is a best practice. So, next time you have a presentation to develop, hold off on opening up PowerPoint, get some index cards and some mind mapping software (free versions are readily available if you don't have any) and give it a try.

An example of the mind map I'm using to develop my presentation is shown below. It's still a work in progress with more to flesh out.

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