Run Productive and Effective Business Meetings with Mind Maps
Business life is impossible without meetings. We spend a lot of time on countless meetings, but sometimes, the results of our long discussions can hardly be called impressive. If your business meetings don’t bring you the desirable outcome, they need optimization. Mind mapping is an approach that has proven to be effective, making meetings more productive and helping in achieving important goals.
How Does It Work?
People have used mind maps for many years, drawing maps on paper. Now we have many mind mapping programs that allow everyone to choose software that fits their agenda and specifics of work.
Mind mapping is often associated with notes. Indeed, this method involves taking notes, but at the same time, it combines different features of planning, such as planning meeting time and objectives. Mind mapping allows participants to be more involved in the process, modifying the general mind map and seeing changes made by other participants.
Why Use Mind Maps?
First of all, they allow you to present information visually. The audience doesn’t need to dig through the lines of boring text. All the information is presented in a convenient structure that allows your audience to remember all key details at glance. This approach provides a set of tools for connecting ideas logically and highlighting most important thoughts. A mind map is a record of a long discussion available in the simplest form possible.
Another important feature of mind mapping is that it allows all participants to make their contribution. They can vote on ideas, add their own notes to each item of the broad topic, and sort tasks by priority. Making notes remains the main function of mind mapping, but an interactive approach also makes planning the agenda easier than ever. For example, you can share the original draft of the map with managers before the meeting starts, and then share it with other participants after managers add what they think is important to discuss.
Tips on How to Improve Your Meetings with Mind Maps
1. Decision making
This form of presentation simplifies the decision-making process because you can easily break the main problem down into several steps and all the people involved will be able to comment on each step. It’s possible to record everyone’s opinion and so develop a flexible approach, taking into account needs of each specialist and department. Using mind maps, managers can choose from among several available options and stay up-to-date about new ideas, making important decisions fast and seeing the team’s response immediately.
2. Clear communication
Sometimes it's hard to prepare for meetings properly. We need to answer dozens of emails and cope with everyday routine. At the same time, we need to bring some fresh ideas to the meeting. Mind mapping helps you focus on creativity. You can create your own mind map plan and organize all activities. Sort your ideas by topics and use keywords to simplify navigation. You can share your plan with colleagues before the meeting starts so they will clearly understand what you're going to discuss.
3. Preparing the meeting objectives
All participants can quickly get a grasp on the meeting objectives due to a simple visual structure. A properly designed mind map serves as a quick overview. You can start making a mind map from scratch, or use various templates available online. If you have weekly meetings devoted to the same project, there’s no need to create a new map every week. Just copy the previous map and change it so that it will fit a new topic.
Use different colors to highlight the most important information and to visually separate information into groups. You can also choose icons for every section of the map. All tasks can be marked as done or in progress. You can also attach necessary files and add links to important sources.
4. Creating presentations
Mind mapping offers you more convenient interactive approach than traditional PowerPoint presentations. You can create a dynamic slideshow in just a few minutes and present a new idea to executives or members of your team. You will also save a lot of discussion time because all participants will be able to add their comments to the map during the meeting. You can connect your laptop or computer to a projector or broadcast your presentation online so that people won’t need to sit in the same room.
5. Using time effectively
Sometimes everyone faces a difficult situation when one needs to prepare a presentation, but there are only a few minutes left before the meeting. Mind maps allow you to solve this problem quickly: you can open a template or a blank map and start making notes when the meeting begins. Mind maps are the best tool for taking notes of any kind, and here’s why:
- They allow you to jump back and forth between different topics, adding new notes everywhere on the map. This is especially useful when a meeting involves active brainstorming.
- You can sort topics by keywords and make a specific section for detailed notes. This will make the overall structure clean and free of the unnecessary details.
- Instead of writing what you’ve just said word for word, mind maps encourage you to make fewer notes, highlighting the most important points.
- You can add new notes incredibly fast, creating shortcuts for key topics. This approach helps you save time and use it with maximum efficiency.
6. Increasing productivity
iMindQ template. Available for download.
Mind maps can make you more productive because this method of presentation boosts both functions of your brain: creativity and analysis. Pictures and bright colors increase creativity, while the opportunity to quickly make and share notes makes it easier to analyze bigger amounts of information. A simple system of branches allows you to stay focused on different aspects of the discussed issue, without missing important details.
7. Assigning tasks
All the effective meetings end with defining important tasks and assigning them to the responsible people. You need to clearly indicate what must be done and who is responsible for implementing new ideas before you leave the room, otherwise, everything said will be forgotten.
Using mind maps, you can add new tasks to the map, assign tasks to people who participate in the meeting, set deadlines, and the priority of every task. Everyone will see this information immediately. Moreover, everyone who works on the project will be able to open the map and see whether or not some task is completed. You can also use mind maps along with task management tools.
8. Summarizing discussions
It’s the simplest and the most effective way to summarise discussions. All the participants see the main topic and all its aspects, staying focused. You can easily plan the necessary actions with no need to recall things that have been discussed already. It's easy to trace logical connections between different solutions using the keywords.
Mind maps take your business meetings to the new level of efficiency. Engaging presentations can be created in just a few clicks. You can add comments, links to important sources, diagrams, and images on-the-go, with no need to spend a lot of time preparing classic presentations. Not only does mind mapping show the necessary information in a form of understandable graphic structure, but it also adds an element of interactivity. This approach allows participants to quickly remember key information, visualizing connections between ideas and navigating through keywords. If you want to make your meetings more efficient, try mind maps now, and you will see the result immediately!
About the author
Berta Melder is a brand manager, co-founder and member of the Masterra professional content writers. She graduated from University of South Carolina with a degree in Public Relations. Being passionate about her job, she cooperates with different universities as a guest lecturer. Enjoys creative writing and blogging. Follow her on Twitter @BertaMelder.