If you’re looking to conduct more effective client presentations, it’s time to ditch those bland PowerPoint slides in favor of a more engaging presentation format: digital mind maps.
Mind maps help you present information in a format that’s both engaging and easy to understand. In all industries, consultants use mind maps to deliver effective presentations and provide their clients with an intuitive channel of communication that runs both ways.
The Benefits of Using Mind Maps for Client Presentations
Many of our customers here at MindMeister use our digital mind mapping tool to deliver effective client presentations. They cite a variety of benefits:
- According to transportation and technology consulting firm Milligan Partners, “We often work with executives and department heads—people who simply don’t have time for endless slideshows and 50-page documents.” Using mind map presentations, the company is able to deliver the strategies they’ve prepared for clients at a glance. (Read the full case study.)
- According to financial planning firm IRONSHIELD, “In our business, we often deal with rather complex financial issues and strategies which can be difficult to communicate. Mind maps allow us to deliver this information in a way our clients can consume very easily. After a presentation with MindMeister, people often come up to me and tell me how engaging it was.” (Read the full case study.)
- Financial consulting and investment advisory services company Coyle Asset Management uses mind maps to help their clients understand “their very complex financial lives. Our clients now have a one-page roadmap. Spreadsheets, reports, statements, tax returns, and legal documents, formerly a stupefying and overflowing old file drawer of documents, now organized and reduced to just one page!” (Read the full case study.)
So as you can see, mind map client presentations are not only more effective and engaging, they’re also simpler. They make it easy for clients to understand large amounts of information by condensing that data into an accessible, visual, one-page resource.
Here’s a quick overview of what you can do with MindMeister:
- Visualize your whole presentation on one single page.
- Attach documents, graphics, links, and notes to individual topics.
- Invite clients via email or link to collaborate with you—it’s like Google Docs, only visual!
- Zoom and pan to relevant areas of your map during the presentation.
- Easily update the map during subsequent client meetings.
Types of Mind Map Client Presentations
There are essentially three different types of client presentations, and each type requires a different kind of preparation and delivery:
- Prepare a complete map upfront and present it to your client.
- Bring a mind map template to the meeting and collaboratively fill it out with your client.
- Start with a blank canvas and create the entire mind map right in front of your client.
Let’s take a closer look at each of those use cases:
1. Presenting a ready-made mind map to clients
Preparing your entire mind map presentation in advance makes sense if you’re speaking in front of a bigger audience and don’t need or want anybody’s input while you deliver the presentation. It’s a great way to introduce yourself and your company, explain the consultancy services you offer, or present reports to your clients.
The benefit of this approach is that you can invest as much time as you need/want structuring it, filling it with information, adding attractive visuals and—if you want—using MindMeister’s presentation mode to zoom and pan to relevant areas of the map.
How to create a mind map presentation
Start with a new, blank mind map in MindMeister and write the subject of your presentation in the center of the map.
Create a new branch for each topic you will be covering in your presentation. Start at about one o’clock with the first topic, then keep going clockwise around the center. This is how mind maps are generally read.
Be sure to use keywords or short phrases for the topics in your map. You can store additional information in the notes section of each topic. This way you can add lots of details without cluttering up the map.
When the basic structure of your presentation is prepared, start adding subtopics to each of the branches you’ve created. Again, try to stick to keywords whenever possible to preserve the great overview the mind map provides. You can also use images to add extra information to a topic and to make it more memorable.
Now it’s time to improve the look of your mind map. You can:
- Change the theme of the map (e.g. to fit with your company’s branding).
- Emphasize and highlight topics using different font sizes and colors.
- Add images (upload from your computer, paste directly from the web, etc.).
- Add icons (MindMeister offers a huge icon library).
- Visualize connections between branches using arrows.
When your mind map is complete, you can present it right inside the mind map editor. If you don’t want to distract your audience with all the buttons and features, just press CMD+ALT+F to switch to full-screen mode.
You can also use the + and – keys to manually zoom in and out of the map—and move around by clicking onto the canvas and moving the cursor.
Using presentation mode
MindMeister’s presentation mode lets you turn your mind map into a dynamic slideshow that’s comparable to a PowerPoint presentation.
The big difference between a slideshow created in MindMeister and one created in PowerPoint is that you’re still able to show how individual topics are connected, as well as showing the entire mind map at key points during your presentation.
Seeing how everything is related to each other is essential in helping your audience understand and remember the information more easily.
To enter MindMeister’s presentation mode, just click on the presentation icon in the footer of the map editor. To create slides, click-drag your cursor over the different areas of your map while keeping the CMD key (or CTRL key) pressed.
Then, right-click on individual slides in the footer to select a different transition. You can choose between pan, slow zoom, fast zoom, and blur.
If you need help creating your slideshow, have a look at our tutorial video in the MindMeister training program.
2. Using a mind map template
Bringing a template or partly-finished mind map to a client meeting makes sense if you need to gather information from them in order to devise a concrete strategy.
A template or partly-finished mind map lets you involve the client actively in the information-gathering process while, at the same time, providing your meeting with structure and ensuring that each piece of information comes up at the right time.
How to use mind map templates for client presentations
When you’re dealing with rather complex issues and strategies (e.g. in the finance industry), mind maps allow you to deliver this information in a way your clients can consume very easily, especially when you create the map live in front of their eyes.
When you meet with a client to present your strategy, bring a map template or a mind map that is about 75% complete. Share the map with the client via email or link, and during the meeting, work together to fill in the details.
If you want clients to be able to access and view the map but not edit it, you can give them read-only access in the sharing settings.
Let the mind map guide you through your presentation. This automatically ensures that each piece of information comes up at the right time during the meeting.
If you’re going to use the same set of templates for each new client, be sure to save those templates in a designated folder—either directly in MindMeister or on Google Drive, for instance—where your whole team can easily access them.
3. Building a mind map from scratch in front of a live audience
Use this method if you need to walk your audience through a complex strategy, making it clear how exactly key points are related. Use this method only if you’re well-prepared and are sure that you can (re)create the whole mind map from memory.
This method is incredibly engaging and impressive. It helps your audience follow your train of thought like no other method of presentation does.
How to start client presentations with a blank canvas
If you’re going to create an entire mind map from scratch in front of a live audience, the most important thing is proper preparation. If you want to be convincing, you simply can’t stop in the middle of the map to try and remember what that next branch was you wanted to create.
To confidently recreate a mind map from memory, you should have created it multiple times before—both on your own and in front of a test audience.
The good news is that this isn’t as hard as memorizing a normal text or speech. In fact, mind maps were originally created to help people memorize information more easily.
Memorize MindMeister’s most important key shortcuts. This way, you can go into full-screen mode while creating the mind map and even format topics (e.g. making them bold) without distracting your audience with the software’s features and buttons.
Get Started on Your First Mind Map Client Presentation
Using mind maps to create your client presentations is a flexible approach that allows you to quickly create engaging presentations that are simple for your clients to understand. They’re also flexible, allowing you to use your presentation to present information and collect information as needed.
If you’ve used MindMeister with your clients, please share your experiences with us and let us know what your clients thought in the comments below!
Originally published in September 2016, this post has been updated with new case studies showing how MindMeister’s customers use mind maps to deliver effective client presentations.