Using Mind Maps to take notes in a meeting is a very powerful use of this thinking tool but its application must be appropriately geared towards what your aims are for taking notes at the meeting.
There are two broad scenarios you might find yourself in:
- You are the secretary of the meeting and you need to capture either everything that goes on (So why not record it and get it transcribed then!) or keep an accurate record of the main discussion points, decisions and actions.
- You are attending the meeting and want to capture the key points that are relevant and/or important for you.
Mind Mapping A Meeting As The Secretary
Let’s take this first scenario where you are Mind Mapping a meeting as the secretary. If you have a good chairman who is running the meeting then you will already have an agenda. Of course if you are a good meeting secretary, you will have already prepared that with them in advance J .
The agenda will form the basis of the Mind Map with each main item being a main branch on your Mind Map. Minor points for discussion/action in each main item would form sub-branches on the relevant main branch. For each branch, I suggest using a different colour to allow you to differentiate between each area of discussion.
You could draw up a draft Mind Map from the agenda in advance of the meeting and simply add to it as the meeting unfolds. Alternatively, you could start with a fresh piece of paper and develop the Mind Map as the meeting progresses, using the Agenda as the basis for your branch structure. Both ways will work and your choice will be a matter of preference for the way you find most comfortable.
Then once the meeting begins, you simply add either keywords, pictures or symbols to the growing Mind Map to capture discussion outcomes, decisions or actions. You might want to have a symbol code to help you distinguish between these three or maybe use a different coloured highlight pen to outline where these appear on the Mind Map (this was my preference but both work).
You will find that by focusing on outcomes, decisions and actions you will be less drawn into recording tedious and long winded debates and will have a much more succinct record that is far easier to create minutes from.
Mind Mapping The Meeting As An Attendee
Very simply, you do just what the secretary of the meeting will be doing because you will have the agenda at the start (if not ask for one) and can do the same as them.
Then only difference is that you will only take notes on the issues that are of immediate concern to you. Depending on the meeting of course this could be everything but for larger meetings it is likely to be a subset of what is covered.
You could of course record everything on your Mind Map and highlight the bits that are relevant to you and then you would have a record of what went on and the bits that are important to you.