January 29, 2012

Prepare Your Speech With A Mind Map

by Promod Sharma, President 2011-2012

You can draft a speech in many ways. Have you tried a mind map? This is a fancy version of bullet points or point form but enhanced to look like a diagram. You can also add visuals or use different colours for different branches.

Here is a primer.



You can mind map on paper but I much prefer using iThoughtsHD on my iPad (iTunes). Navigating with your fingers is much more convenient than using a mouse or stylus. Pinch/zoom is a very easy and powerful way to see what you want to see at the moment. You have unlimited space. You can rearrange points and branches. You can add images. Everything is legible since you're typing.


basic mind mapI start with a simple, universal structure that shows
  • beginning / introduction / hook
  • middle
  • end / action / takeaway
Every speech has those elements.

full mind map - too much content for 5-7 minutes (click to enlarge)I then add branches. When the ideas flow, the basic structure takes 15-30 minutes to create. The editing takes hours since there is usually too much content for a 5-7 minute speech. I also practice what I’ll say at the same time.


What's next? You can turn your speech into text. Sometimes, I speak directly from the mind map. Since the key points are there, you're unlikely to miss anything important. Since you're not reading from a script, you have flexibility. You'll also sound natural, as we do when speaking impromptu.

This week, I'm giving my ninth speech from the Competent Communicator manual. The goal is to persuade with power. I will follow-up on Speech 8: The Six Basic Fears According To Napoleon Hill. I got the idea of having a second part from fellow blogger Barbara Berezowski who most recently wrote control the fear of public speaking. This means a deviation from  preplanning all speeches, but that's fine.  Spontaneity spurs creativity.

Which Way?

I may speak directly from the mind map. I'll record myself since I'd like to create a transcript which can be turned into a blog post.

I’d prefer to use PowerPoint. The slides then become the script. Unfortunately, my main computer broke down and won't be repaired until Tuesday. That doesn't leave much time to prepare the visuals and practice for Thursday.

To be safe, I may create a one page handout with blanks that the audience can fill in during the presentation. Regardless of option, mind mapping guided the preparation. Maybe that technique can help you too.

Promod Sharma discovered mind mapping in early 2010. Now he's hooked. For more than you'd care to know about him, visit promodsharma.com.

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