Using Mind Mapping to Help Run Effective Meetings by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
Using Mind Mapping to Help Run Effective Meetings
Mind Mapping® is a powerful visual tool that stimulates your ability to think both creatively and logically. Mind Mapping works by first focusing on the central idea, issue or topic and then branching out to add details including inspiration, facts and thoughts. Mind Mapping has been applied to many high-level topics such as strategic planning, engineering projects and facilitating board meetings. The technique can be used individually or with groups of any size. The uses for Mind Mapping are almost unlimited and include: planning, brainstorming, taking notes, gathering ideas and studying.
Benefits of participation
Mind Mapping provides a new way of thinking and processing different work topics. The process creates a high-level view of the topic that can inspire creativity, problem-solving and a fresh perspective that can show areas that have been previously missed. The quality of thought that the technique provides, along with the speed of the approach, inspires delegates to use Mind Mapping in many situations. The benefits that they report are clarity of thought, creativity and increased speed in making plans and notes.
Here are four ways that you can use Mind Mapping to help run meetings:
1. Effective planning Capturing your thoughts on a Mind Map about what is needed to run an effective meeting. Here are some branches that you might put on your Mind Map:
- Outcomes what do you want to have achieved by the end of the meeting? For example, a list of actions, information shared, a decision or something else?
- Attendees who should attend to ensure the outcome is met?
- Logistics location, timing, A/V equipment, materials, catering
- Presentations who is presenting?
- Information what information do attendees need before the meeting?
Your main branches may be different, however, the Mind Map will help you to organize your thoughts and see what youll need to do to run a successful meeting.
2. Staying on track– Create a Mind Map of the agenda of the meeting, to serve as a visual reminder of the meeting topics. Keep your Mind Map on the table in front of you so you can remind the other attendees of the subject at hand if the conversation wanders. If youre using Mind Mapping in a small meeting or phone conversation, you can allow the conversation to unfold more naturally and then use the Mind Map at the end to check youve covered all of your main points.
3. Fast note taking– Meeting participants often jump from one topic to another and youll be easily able to group relevant notes together by using a Mind Map. This will make your notes more organized and its much faster to verbally summarized what has been discussed when reading from a Mind Map. Also, by using single key words and connecting ideas with branches, youll save time making notes.
4. Brainstorming/thinking laterally – Capture the ideas from the group on a large Mind Map on a whiteboard or flipchart. Use colours to stimulate creative thinking. Using single key words helps to make the Mind Map quickly and encourages the momentum of sharing ideas. As Mind Mapping organizes the ideas in a non-linear way, it promotes lateral thinking and looking at the project or topic from a different perspective. People often say: I thought of an area/issue/action that I wouldnt have considered if I had done this as a list.