Sunday, 31 July 2011

Are Mind Map Topics Just Bullet Points by Another Name?

Mind mapping applications such as MindManager and MindGenius are now coming with built in presentation tools that help you:

  • Create a presentation
  • Create visuals to support the presentation
  • Present the visuals you have prepared.

You may be familiar with how they work ... having created a map, these tools help you select topics and branches to include in your slides.  They give you more or less control over which topics to include in each slide and what level of sub-topic or sub-branch they are drilled down to.

MapofPresentationHaving organised what you want to say using a map, it is possible to create slides from the topics very quickly - real advantage especially when pressed for time.



TopicsasBulletsBut beware!  If all you do is build a set of slides presenting snap shots of the topics on your map you may end up with slides containing not much more than bullet points in disguise .....


To get around this ....

1. Design the presentation using mapping software - there are lots of advantages

2. Treat the map as both the story board and script for what you will say

3. Identify the key places in your script where you will support your words with a visual - a slide

4. Insert a topic at this point ... If the visual is ready, insert it ... If it isn't, leave a note or two to act as a place markerWord Script with slides added






5. When all the visuals are ready and included in the map, build your slides and include only the topics containing the images or pictures you have selected.


A final thought about bullet points ... or bullet topics ... there will be times where a list of headlines is a useful thing to present as a visual - an agenda for instance or a summary of the key topics presented at the end to help the audience remember what you have just told them.

MG Presentation









The images and slides used in this post were created using MindGenius.  If you would like to know more about MindGenius, do visit the web site and try the product free for 30 days.

Should you decide to buy MindGenius, Peace of Mind Blog can offer a 10% discount.  Just use the discount code at the checkout on the MindGenius web site or quote the code in any correspondence with MindGenius.

To claim the 10% discount please use the code:  MGELST

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Keyword Networks - The Bigger Picture

In a previous post (Clickable Keywords from WikiSummarizer) I introduced the "clickable" keywords feature of WikiSummarizer

This feature allows you to follow your train of thought from a review of an initial summarised article through a network of related articles.  This is done by clicking on a keyword within a summary and WikiSummarizer will present a summary of a Wiki article for that keyword.


It would also be great to get a visual image of the resulting network of interrelated summaries, linked by the selected keywords.  An application to do this is not available currently (is it?) but one approach that is reasonable for a small network of linked keywords is to use a mind mapping application.

The idea is to download each WikiSummarizer summary as it is found to the mind mapping application.  Next copy and paste each summary into the initial map as floating main topics (that is, a floating topic that has child topics like the central main topic does).  Once you have all the keyword summaries pasted in this way you can then connect the keywords using relationships.

image Here is a finished example using summaries download directly into XMind.  (You can achieve a similar result using MindManager).  The keyword path is highlighted by icons (in this case, an unlocked padlock), shading in red and the links drawn as relationships. (Click on the image to see a full size version.)

In the example, we started with an article on "Carl Jung". One of the keywords in the returned summary is "psychology" so a summary was found, downloaded, copied and pasted onto the "Carl Jung" map.  Interest was then aroused in the keyword "individuation" and a summary was found and added to the map as before.  This led to a further summary for "personality" being added.  A review of the resulting diagram showed shared keywords between summaries and these were linked with relationships.

This simple example shows how it is possible to build a visual network of the key topics associated with a subject, built up from a review of several (or many) summaries and the links between common keywords, resulting in a broader, deeper and richer picture.

Now wouldn't it be great if you could do all of this working with a single map and have the links made and highlighted for you as you go ..........

Saturday, 23 July 2011

WikiSummarizer - Enhanced Support for Mind Mapping Applications

WikiSummarizer from Context Discovery is a web-based application that specialises in summarising Wikipedia articles.  Aimed at anyone who needs to learn, understand or write about topics, the application will benefit such diverse roles as researcher, student, writer, journalist and blogger.

WikiSummarizer is undergoing constant development and a new feature is the ability to download summaries to XMind and iThoughts, with a single click. 


This adds to the direct download capability for mind mapping applications - providing alternatives to the original MindManager download.



Here is a summary of the Wikipedia article on "Wine" downloaded directly to XMind.





The ability to load downloaded summaries into mind mapping applications other than Mind Manager was demonstrated using the Rich Text Format (RTF) file download option - see: Mapping with WikiSummarizer.

However there is of course a much simpler option - if your favourite mind mapping application is able to open/import a MindManager map then simply download the summary as a MindManager file, launch your application and open/import the file.  It came to me in one of those Homer Simpson "Doh!" moments.....prompted by Henry Lewkowicz, naturally.



Here the "Wine" summary as opened with MindGenius 4.







Here, the MindView version.






The option to open a MindManager map is also available in IMindMap - image coming soon!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Presentation Design with MindGenius

Continuing with the theme of presentations (see: Bad Presentations Are Not the Fault of PowerPoint) I want to give one or two simple illustrations of some of the points made.  I'll do this in combination with a quick demonstration of how a tool like MindGenius might be used to plan and script the presentation and to create the supporting slides and handouts.

In the earlier post, several solutions were suggested to help improve presentations, these were:

  • Make a clear point
  • Analyse the audience
  • Separate the "script" from the supporting images
  • Less is more
  • Brief the audience beforehand
  • Anticipate the audience's lack of preparedness
  • Meet the need for detail or technical material.

To illustrate how these might be addressed, I'll use a scenario of the outcome of a study into the best location for an imaginary office relocation.  Click on any of the images to see an expanded view.

The "clear point" to be made is a recommendation on the best location.  "Audience analysis" of the Steering Group, to whom the recommendation is being made, identifies that the expectation is for the recommendation to be made on cost grounds alone.  Supporting facts and figures will be needed to support the recommendation.  The "hidden" objective is ensure the audience are confident the study was thorough and detailed.

The simple plan is:

  • lead with the recommendation (Manchester)
  • confirm that this is the cheapest option
  • remind the Steering Group of the selection criteria set by the Board
  • detail the costs of the options in line with each of these criteria
  • show the recommended option is the clear winner
  • ask the Steering Group to approve the recommendation and move to the next step.




The main ideas are easily set out in MindGenius.






Each of the ideas is then expanded to provide the "script".



 Word Script with slides added


Once we have the "spoken" part of the presentation, we decide which points need to be reinforced with a visual.  These are created and added to the MindGenius map.


MG Presentation


Using the MindGenius presentation builder, the next step is to create the slides needed to support the presentation. 






The result is a handful of slides including a summary of the structure of the presentation and leading with the recommendation and how it was reached.  The charts meet the audience's need for detail.


PP presentationThe presentation is now ready, we just need to learn the script and rehearse.  We could present the slides using MindGenius or we can export them to PowerPoint.



Word Script

For the script, we can use a print out of the MindGenius map or we can export it to Word to give us a more linear document to work from.  Exporting to Word also gives us a handout we can give to the audience at the start of the meeting.


We know it will be useful to "brief the audience beforehand" by issuing a short report containing the detailed facts and figures.  This is quickly prepared from our script via a Word export and with a few changes in wording appropriate to a report style.




If you would like to know more about MindGenius, do visit the web site and try the product free for 30 days.

Should you decide to buy MindGenius, Peace of Mind Blog can offer a 10% discount.  Just use the discount code at the checkout on the MindGenius web site or quote the code in any correspondence with MindGenius. 

To claim the 10% discount please use the code:  MGELST