Robert Scoble
I made a promise years ago to never use PowerPoint in front of an audience again. So, how do I organize a presentation? Mind Manager.
It's magic. Frees your mind from the stupid bullet list that bores audiences to death. Every time I see a PowerPoint deck my brain turns off. - Robert Scoble
I have used this for years, great communication tool - Mel Buckpitt
i prefer personalbrain. not as easy to use as mind manager but powerful nonetheless. - Daniel Langendorf
Robert, as a former highschool teacher, I can assure you that Powerpoint is the evil enemy of learning...and yet every school insisted teachers started using it because the schools thought PP "was" technology...yikes. Advice? Tell stories with passion and understanding. - Daniel Kenney
Daniel: I totally agree. The way schools teach technology just makes me ill. - Robert Scoble
anyone ever try it's a bit different-- much more visual - Ted Curran
So instead of Powerpoint™, use a real presentation platform that allows interactive data and tactile response to both you and your audience. - Eric Martindale
i have been working on a new keynote /powerpoint method I can - Ted Curran
PowerPoint is only a problem in that it makes it way too easy to just make lists of bullet points. They almost force you to go down that path. If they could somehow turn that off, and just provide the functionality to create a series of slides, each of which had a line or two of text, an image, etc... I don't think it'd get such a bad rap. - Ken Sheppardson
*call "Attention Method"-- it's a way to use PPT or Apple Keynote not in the way the program wants to be used but in the way people's minds work - Ted Curran
similar to other software noted is my favorite.. Big Mouth - Daniel Kenney
What makes Mind Manager the first platform to come to mind? I have never heard of it until right now. - Amani
I agree Daniel Kenney :( - Mohammad Abdurraafay
Amani: I saw Buzz Bruggeman give a talk with it and was mesmerized. - Robert Scoble
Try Prezi, and if you have some time to devote to it, Keynote. Both are really pretty impressive. - Ivan
I came across last month, worth a look. It has sort of a tv commercial look, like the 2-d Ford pickup commercials. - Tanner Powell
I kind of like Prezi too. Very visual. Depends on the situation I suppose. - Kim Feraday
Keynote. - Jeremy Franklin
I don't want to get into a PowerPoint bashing thing here, but I agree it's bad. Another thing I've noticed is that the boring speakers usually have the most elaborate PP presentations. Yikes. - Christopher Harper
I'm a big fan of MindManager as well. Once you're done conceptualizing your presentation, Powerpoint (or any other presentation tool) can obviously be used as an effective tool. Powerpoint isn't innately evil, it's just too easy to miss-use. If you want to try a different tool give a try. (but I'd stick with Mindmanager) - Jason Goldberg
Well that's two programs I had no idea existed 15 minutes ago. - Dean Clark
Do you use iThoughts iPhone app? I use it every day and they just upgraded to allow Mind Manager export - Dave
Prezi is too difficult to learn for anyone - it is supercool but if you want to get right down to working, forget it - I wish I could use it - for mindmaps to me nothing beats MindMeister both for presentation materials as well for organizing ideas and tools - it is much easier and immediate than any other mindmapping tool I have tried, including having a full revisions history, working offline, integrating images and cloning existing maps among many others. I don't have a commercial relationship with these guys and I have made already over 100,000 views with the maps I have created there. - Robin Good
In the end the vote of PowerPoint chastity should really be targeted at avoiding making the "types" of PowerPoint slideshows that are so bad. Bad choice of images, too much text, and you reading them as you show them. It is not the tool so much, but the culture we have built around it. Whether with PowerPoint, Keynote, Sliderocket, OpenOffice or GoogleDocs the power of your presentation comes from having slides that speak and illustrate themselves at a glance while being NOT a repetition of your own words during a presentation. - Robin Good
I wholeheartedly agree with you..PP is horrible! I refuse to use it and I've made a point to reject ppt files that colleagues send me with slides re design changes. I'll have to give MindManager a try..sounds great. - Sufian Siddiqi from fftogo
Prezi does look cool. I definitely need to take it for a spin. - Alexander Grundner
Chalk board & elaborate hand gestures - sofarsoShawn
The issue with powerpoint (and keynote) is that the flow of the presentation is completely locked in, and the presentation environment is unchanging. Mindmanager (or Freemind) allows branching, and the ability to store extra content for questions (only use as needed). Powerpoint or equivalent is good for building a screen when you want one that can dynamically build. An alternative way of using it without constraint therefore, is to create webpages of the presentation and then use Freemind (or even a top browser index page) to fire up content that can be video interview clips, dynamically building slide show pages etc in a completely freeform way. Using webpages to handle some parts of the presentation means that REALLY cool effects like flash can be part of how you present. - Alistair Nicholson
I used to use personal brain for the same purpose. I stopped when I moved to multiplatforms (Mac and linux as well as Windows). I just checked back at the site to find that it is now available cross-platform (haven't checked that the data files are yet tho). I might be remaking contact with an old friend! I liked the easy way one could use local files or web resources. By using Dropbox to synch data cross platform, I can keep a uniform structure so most of my cross platform products work on the same cross-platform data structure too. - Alistair Nicholson
@alistair: It is possible to branch PowerPoint -presentations with hyperlinks that jump from slide to another. Never considered it, but interesting idea. For example, after determining audience level, it could skip slides that explain basic things for experienced audience. - Jemm
I like Mind Manager. Wish i had a reason to use it. - Rodfather
Mind Manager rocks on a tablet pc - Mel Buckpitt
Definitely. That was the last time I used it. It integrated with OneNote well too. - Rodfather
Check out the free pptplex from Office Labs which is an add in for PP that gives you a similar zooming interface as Prezi. - Jamie
Alistair: That is exactly how I use PersonalBrain. I have it set up in Dropbox and am able to access it with any computer. It's worth a look-see again. It's also worth using to flesh out ideas for presentations, too, no matter what tool you end up using. - Daniel Langendorf
Use Prezi at! ;) or - Csaba Mad
I am adoring Prezi - just the freshness of the look gives you a 50% boost in new biz meetings, and I really haven't found it at all hard to learn to use - Jamie
Last week i was thinking how lame PP is and actually did a presentation at college bashing it. The tool i've used for that was, the one mentioned by a lot of ppl in this thread. You should give them some love, definetely a great worth a look tool. - Diego Sana
I got tired of trying to find the perfect presentation technique and ended up developing my own not perfect, but it works for me. - MLx
Daniel & Jemm - thanks for that. I've just installed personalbrain on the Mac and opened some old brains done in the PC (aahh nostalgia). I really missed it as a tool. I've been using freemind, which does have some very good features, but personalbrain is still a better tool for this sort of work. Thanks. - Alistair Nicholson
Jemm - in some cases I will just generate one or two slides using ppt or similar. By exporting them they become individual objects that I can mix and match - or call on as I need, without having to consider how to jump to them within the powerpoint package. Powerpoint (or keynote) then becomes a graphic slide authoring tool that just generates some components or objects I use in my presentation. I believe there are times during a presentation when a summary or even (excuse the heresy) a collection of dot points is appropriate. Agile doesn't have to mean 'abandon all structure'. - Alistair Nicholson
I have presented for many years with MindManager. Its great for interactive presentations. Tomorrow I will use it present to a conference of independent financial advisers on the subject of mind mapping and mind mapping software. I humbly suggest they will remember my hour more than the 5 other hours of PowerPoint. This is web version summary. - Andrew Wilcox
Final Cut...create a video! - Michela Cimnaghi /cimny
Powerpoint is a time sink - whenever I have had to use it I ended up using more time fixing the presentation than focusing on the message. Can't remember which company took powerpoint off the systems and said they measured a productivity increase... or if it is a digital legend... but from my experience I can believe it. - Iphigenie
"It's a poor workman who blames his tools" -- old proverb - Karim
Meh. Powerpoint is a tool to put stuff on screen. As long as you're not just reading off it... - Yuvi
Just convert powerpoint slides into pdf and present pdf to the audience.Although I am not a great fan of PDF or for that matter any powerpoint like software. - Ashish
ashish: you're not getting it. There's nothing worse to do to an audience than to present a standard powerpoint deck to them. The format is NOT what makes that boring. - Robert Scoble
Robert: Flash is the answer but it's a pain to learn and expensive to outsource, but that's the answer I think. Besides that, Mindjet MindManager is a fantastic peice of software - Brandon Hall
You're right, it's not the format, nor is it Powerpoint. It is not using it to in an engaging way. - Dennis Beatty
Robert,Sorry for misinterpreting your question. This one is a really tricky question. - Ashish
I often find slides take away from the message - people are reading the slide text instead of looking at and listening to the speaker, and the speaker is looking at the slides instead of at the audience. I wouldnt mind the speaker looking at the screen if he was demonstrating something (or writing, in the old blackboard style) but in a way slides which were supposed to support the presentation end up taking away from it. Too passive? - Iphigenie
prezi is pretty amazing mark. i also use Free Mind but have never used it for a presentation... - Morgan
wishing for 2nd like or something to bump this up higher amongst my likes and discussions - metalerik
I have a talk tomorrow morning at my kids' school about technology in education. I was brainstorming it in Curio and Keynote, but I bought Prezi Pro just cuz it looks so cool. It's a little quirky, a little buggy, and not as flexible as, say Keynote, but it sure is a unique look. Mindmapping + Presentations. - Leo Laporte
Nothing wrong with Powerpoint, it's just a tool. I do just fine with it and Keynote. Sounds like it's a presenter issue if you're bored - Bwana ☠
I love mindmanager, but its license is toooo stupidly and insanely expensive!! - Mohamed Salem Korayem
yeah I love using xmind for organizing talking points but I don't normally use them to present - most audiences don't grok them ime - mike "glemak" dunn
I'm sorry, trying to learn. I have a 30 slide presentation (+-10) that i present to customers around the world usually in a room of about 10 people. What could Mind Manager do that PPT isn't doing? - Steve C, Team Marina
For everyone looking to learn more about using MindManager for presentations, I have written up a number of posts on the Mindjet blog that talks about how to do it, some best practices and sample maps. The most popular post in the series was from PresentationCamp SF, "Become a Presentation Superhero": while other posts covered using images, colors, and fonts within your mind maps. Check'em out or contact me if you have questions! - Michael Deutch
thx michael, bookmarked. - Steve C, Team Marina
ah, michael good to see you here - for those who don't know him michael is mindjet’s chief evangelist & one of the hardest working community engagement folks on the net - i use xmind because i test lots of open source tools but have been a customer of mindjet for years & love mindmanager :) - mike "glemak" dunn
I find using a Mind Map a lot easier for people to follow and sparks a lot more collaboration from the group. - Jim Lavin
Robert try Prezi: - Dean Kakridas
If you hate Powerpoint, Robert & friends, then you have to check out Edward Tufte's essay "The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within." It's brilliant. And the cover still cracks me up: - Alan Mairson
Funny thing for me is that I've always made fun of PP style presentations and have been known as someone who really gets groups interacting, etc. (check out this clip of a game I led at Seattle Mindcamp - BUT, just recently, I've discovered that for my type of improvised, interactive, often scattered, creative style --powerpoint is actually a good (much needed!) balance. So I've been upping the KeyNote. MultiModal is the way :) - Leif Hansen
Robin Good: great comment on - is a very interesting app to keep track of, if you are doing a lot of online presentations. I use Skype screen share (Mac) for Coaching and presenting ways and methods to use applications. - Jan Friman from Nambu
How about having a standard cheaper version of mindmanager. I dont use all the awesome features version 8 - Mohamed Salem Korayem
Jemm and others - I'm back having been in the most boring presentation today that I have experienced in a very long time - powerpoint slides of the most horrible structure, plus given over a video conferencing tool where the presenter didn't read any of the questions in the typing area! Thebrain has a free version. What I've found is that because I use tiddlywiki (also free) to organise a lot of my information (e.g. PDF versions of my video and SLR manuals as links) and the free version allows me to link to local tiddlywiki pages as a URL. I can organise all my personal planning info! I have the paid version of dropbox but the 2G version is free ( and now I have my personal info synched across PC Mac and Ubuntu. Yes I sound like a cheapskate - because that's a good call. Tiddywiki allows imbedding video, images and external links. If my presentations are boring now, there is no-one else to blame. Robert - thanks for this prompt - we have different solutions but the same aim - make it sing! - Alistair Nicholson
just a quick reaction to the person who suggested video - what can video add if you are there in person? - Iphigenie
@Joelle a video is a way to engage the audience and let the main messages be reminded. Your role there is to give the right introduction to the video and then open and manage the discussion after it. People will partecipate more to teh discussion. That's my personal experience by the way! - Michela Cimnaghi /cimny
Joelle (thanks Michela) another use of video is short interviews or contributions. For example case studies with a manager from the customer explaining their problem, a business analyst explaining their technique around a specific problem, a web designer talking about how they 'imagine' the personality of a site, demonstration of an experimental technique with a patient. It creates variety of experience for the audience, allows careful editing to focus on the key issue, adds credibility by demonstrating a real experience while retaining control over the pacing and direction of your presentation. It's just another tool - like making sure you switch from projector to whiteboard to demonstration and back to ensure the audience stays engaged. It allows other voices to break my monotone without the disruption of multiple presenters. It allows me to bring my clients, patients, experts with me to a presentation without the cost of air fares and accommodation. If I'm doing half or full day workshops a humorous clip helps refocus attention after an activity or break. Michela has already talked about using video to set the scene for exercises or interaction. - Alistair Nicholson
I also meant to draw attention to Lief's comment about multi modal and how sometimes a powerpoint slide can present the underlying structure or main points of the presentation. I still believe there can be a place for dot points - so long as they are not the sole content. I believe there are few that would suggest Steve Jobs' presentations are boring, for example. Always worth a watch and they can be found on youtube. Other exemplars are the top rated talks on gives me something to aim for. - Alistair Nicholson
FreeMind is very useful and Open Source. Give it a try! - Nicola Junior Vitto
just got into Amode 4 project mgmt. same company @MindSystems. imports @MindJet. - Courtney Engle
IMHO, my best tool is a whiteboard, and second place, a notebook with squares to plan a sort of storyboard. When I switch back to analog planning, I started to get my best results back on PowerPoint (I love 2007 version). Cheers, - Rolando Peralta
Wow, what a great thread! I explored some best practices for presentations and wrote the following posts on the Mindjet blog. They could apply for any type of presentation but they're primarily focused on mind mapping...The first: 10 Steps to Great Presentation Maps -- - Michael Deutch
Next, How to Make a Great Presentation: Mapping Your Content -- This one applies to using mind maps to 'think through' your presentation content, regardless of what tool you select for the actual presentation: - Michael Deutch
Your use of colors will impact the audience. Use them well! The Secrets of Using Colors in Maps - - Michael Deutch
What’s a Picture Worth? Here's a post about incorporating images into mind map presentations. -- I saw an interesting tweet from Andrew Wilcox earlier today where he suggested placing large images inside 'topic notes'. - Michael Deutch
Prezi reminds me of microsoft photosynth. - Ashish
And finally, here are a couple of posts about fonts in your mind map presentations: 10 Fixes for Font Foibles! ( and More Fun for Font Fanatics ( - Michael Deutch
michael: constructive suggestion - you should setup a mindmap group here on ff so these suggestions can be feed in separately and others can participate, they're just going to get lost inside this thread... - mike "glemak" dunn
Wow what a great discussion. I have never heard of Prezi before and I will have a very imortant presentation to one of MNO next week. I prepared with PP, but now consider to do from scratch via Thanks guys! - Jacque
Robert, do you have anything that you can share that you've used Mind manager for? Do you actually use it in presentations or do you use it as a thought organizing tool? Thanks for answering if you have the time! - Gregg Morris
i was blown away by a preso done in tried it out, the UI takes some getting used to, but w/ patience the zoom in/out approach yields great presos. worth checking out some of the demos. I saw a preso done w/ it that all took place inside the dot of a question mark (that was the reveal at end of preso). cool. - Adrian Chan
re. TiddlyWiki: should I mention, that there's also a true presentation version?... - schilke
Or you could emulate Carrot Top and use props from a great big trunk. Problem is you need to be a) really pumped up and b) certifiably nuts. - bob corrigan
Schilke - thanks for the link to tiddlywiki presentation version. I've bookmarked that and visited the example. With tiddlywiki each 'tiddler' has a specifically adressable URL so that pages can be individually linked from mindmapping software. That way a complete subtopic can be created as a 'deck' but not invoked in the presentation unless we choose to go there. Back to the 'horrible' presentation - the conference software had a 'poll' function and the presenter did not poll the audience to see where the interests lay before we started. Therefore he tried to cover 'everything' at a pace that varied from leisurely as we were told how wonderful the company was (in great detail) to rushing through the rest of the slides at the end - that naturally were the ones dealing with the very info I had sat through all this for. What I think Robert is trying to achieve is flexibility and the ability to respond to audience reaction. Various contributors here do this in different ways - a traditional 'deck' does not allow this. Tiddlywiki (and I use this as an example, only because it's in my own toolbox - any wiki will do) provides a LHS menu allowing navigation as the example provided by Schilke shows. My I add a special thankyou to Michael Deutch for his valuable collection of links. Appreciated. - Alistair Nicholson
A cool MindMapping alternative is XMind. - Martin Seibert