I am going to share with you some Mind Mapping Examples from a recent real life meeting I had with a client to give you an idea of how you can use this tool in meetings.
But before I go any further, let’s put Mind Mapping to one side for a moment and remind ourselves that it is only a tool.
It is too easy to get focused on how amazing the Mind Map is and get caught up in all the rah-rah that some specialists in the field like to use.
I will remind you again that the Mind Map is just a tool – a very good tool admittedly – but still a tool nevertheless.
So when we are looking at how to apply Mind Mapping in meetings and give you some Mind Maps examples we must remember that our focus is to have better meetings however we can do that.
Mind Maps Methods for Meetings?
So let’s look at some meeting basics first.
I hope it is not going to come as a surprise to you but the fundamental principles of a successful meeting are:
- Knowing exactly what the purpose of the meeting is
We could dive deeper into how to run a meeting, communication, conflict resolution within a meeting, brainstorming ideas, good minutes etc etc but for now let’s just focus on these two core ideas.
So someone says to you “Hey let’s have a meeting” and the first thing you have to think is “Why?” closely followed by “What’s the outcome (or purpose) of the meeting?”.
Getting crystal clear on what the purpose of the meeting is will mean that the second key principle – preparation – can be far more focused saving time and setting you up for a successful meeting.
I had a meeting recently with a client exploring how they could introduce Mind Mapping and Speed Reading training to one of their internal developmental programme.
Ahead of time we agreed that the purpose of the meeting was for me to seek to understand their context and ascertain their needs for this sort of training.
Now once we got that clear I then had to prepare for the meeting.
Ok now we can introduce Mind Mapping back into the equation and I can start to share some examples of mind maps that I used.
Using Mind Mapping for Meeting Preparation
First of all the preparation.
The potential client was a local college and so my preparation evolved around researching the particular course they were hoping to target with Mind Mapping and Speed Reading.
I was given a prospectus, details of the course website, together with a presentation usually delivered when briefing people on the components of the course in question.
So using the trusty Mind Mapping process, I set about working my way through the material and gathered sufficient information to give myself a working background on the topic.
I did not need to be an expert, I just needed to have enough information to allow me to ask targeted and pertinent questions rather than waste time in the meeting exploring basics.
And so here is an example of Mind Mapping used in that context:
Now that I had some background information on the client and in particular the topic that would be the focus of our discussions, I was much better prepared.
If you examine the above example of mind mapping you will see that it follows the guidelines of using colour, having key words, some pictures and with main branches radiating out from a central image.
The beauty about this is that it harnesses the power of keywords and so having done the research and used the map to gather my thoughts and observations, each of the key words and images triggers back quite a lot of related information that will be useful in the meeting.
Using Mind Mapping for Taking Notes in a Meeting
On the day of the meeting, I had a very productive session with the client and of course used Mind Mapping to take my notes.
There are different schools of thought on what should be captured in a meeting but personally I like to focus on these:
- Useful information pertinent to the meeting’s purpose
- Decisions made
- Action steps agreed (what, by who and for when)
Now when you are taking notes during a meeting (or indeed in any other situation where you are listening to someone speaking) Mind Mapping is such an great way to do that and here is the reason why:
Conventional note taking is a “content gathering” process that has conditioned us into capturing exactly what was said.
Mind Mapping is a “meaning capture” process that forces us to think about what we are hearing, analyse it, summarise it, synthesise it and then organise it on the paper before us.
Because we are not writing down “everything” and only focusing on the key ideas we have MORE time to think about what we are hearing and MORE time to keep track of what is being discussed.
Not only that we also have a thorough capture of what was being considered.
It really is very powerful.
The last of my mind mapping examples for you today is the map I created during the meeting.
This is the exact same map I created in real time and although the meeting was nearly a month ago, I can still recall the discussions around each key word.
Using Mind Mapping for meetings is extremely powerful and as I stated at the beginning of this post, you should always remember that it is a tool.
If you go to unfocused, badly organised and poorly prepared meetings and use mind mapping then you will still have a map of an unfocused, badly organised and poorly prepared meeting.
Do let me know in the comments below how you use Mind Mapping in Meetings.