It exists. Too much: The meeting without agenda and without minutes. And in the end, we wonder why tasks and progress are not clear. That projects fail.
Recently, a manager proudly told me: "II now go into meetings completely relaxed and unprepared."This works especially well when attendance is more important than progress and results. (Please do not be surprised if employees then do the same.)
Meetings are valuable when
- they have a fixed and vis-à-vis all participants goal communicated in advance track,
- Agenda and distribution of roles (z. B. Taking minutes, moderation) all participants known are,
- the Participants added value provide,
- Tasks with Due date and responsibility agreed (this only works if those responsible are also present),
- Binding start and end are (and only exceptionally last longer than 60 minutes),
- the participants adhere to (agreed upon) Communication rules hold (cell phone off!) and
- a Moderator The aforementioned points.
Meeting time is also life time. And we don’t want to waste that in worthless meeting time! Or?
Protocols as mindmap
In mind maps, individual topics can be visualized around a central question. The more topics become concrete, the further out the mindmap branches out.
Minutes kept as a mind map offer so fexible the possibility to record the course of the conversation. Leaps of thoughts and discussions during the meeting are attached to the respective topic branch.
colors and symbols help to arrange the mindmap clearly.
Already during the preparation of a meeting the mindmap helps. It can be used to record and structure ideas (about the process). From this finally the agenda develops.
When Tony Buzan developed his first mindmaps in the early 1970s, he was still using paper and pencil. The digital possibilities available in the meantime open up additional design space – also when creating mind maps.
- can be used almost infinitely update (without getting to the edge of a paper),
- adapt in the Layout automatically on when a branch is later expanded to include more thoughts/topics,
- can be used – by means of a beamer and video conferencing – to "live" and worldwide share,
- offer possibilities of digital linking (through links to other content) and design (through images and symbols).
Protocols as a digital mind map
OK. We know how important meeting minutes are (especially in project management). And we know the flexibility that digitization gives us in mindmapping. Then the next step is to create minutes as a digital mind map.
For several years now I have been using the digital option when taking minutes. Initially only for me. Meanwhile also in the teams I work with.
Do you also want to create minutes as a digital mindmap in the future?? Then I’ll give you a few tips here to get you and your team off to a good start.
You start yourself
My first introduction to mindmapping was in 2007 with the pocket guide MindMapping (by Horst Muller) . The gave me a first overview and explained the "technique" of mindmapping.
But the most important thing: you create your first mindmaps. Self. Go into the next meeting and take notes as a mindmap. This is how you experience the flexibility inherent in mindmapping. Just for taking minutes.
If you have taken notes by pen and paper so far, then stick to it (for now). It is important that you gain your first "mindmapping" experience. Switch to digital mind maps only later.
use a program that supports you
How important is the layout to you? Is it (only) you who creates protocols? With which systems (operating systems, browser, notebook/tablet) the tool should work?
If you have clarity here, you will also find the suitable program. The selection is meanwhile enormous. You can find a few examples below.
The appetite comes with eating – also with mindmapping in the team
When you create your first mindmaps in meetings, it’s going to happen: You’ll be asked about it. Use this to "pick up" and "plug in" others. Explain how you use mindmapping for meeting documentation. And what it gets you.
Agree on a test
As a recorder, I initially only created my notes as a mind map on my tablet. I offered to attach the mind map to the protocol. (Quite quickly, we then continued to work with the mindmaps in subsequent meetings.)
We have arranged test phases in which the "traditional" minutes were replaced by mindmaps. From the test (almost) always became the rule. This approach can also work in your teams.
If you take the mindmapping to the team, you already have a head start. You have probably already "practiced" for weeks and also mentally occupied yourself with it. Share this experience. And give the team time to catch up with your knowledge advantage. If this is successful, other protocols will also be created as a digital mind map.
Many apps lead to the goal
The selection of digital mindmapping tools is now quite large. There is certainly something suitable for you and your team. Here are three examples:
Creates nice mindmaps in the "Apple universe. Available for Mac and iOS (tablet, smartphone). Great: Mindmaps can be used not only for (z. B. export it as PDF) but also publish it (online). (In-)App purchase.
Offers a good opportunity for collaboration. For Windows, Mac, iOS, Android. Subscription model.
An open source project for creating mind maps. Available for Windows, Mac, Linux. Free of charge.
From my perspective, it’s worth using professional (paid) software. Whether the decision then falls on a program such as MindNode or MindMeister depends not only on the budget but also on the use: MindNode is more suitable for the "single-user creation" of mind maps. MindMeister plays to its strengths when working in teams.
The practical and the useful combined
For developing a strategy and brainstorming I used digital mindmapping already for many years. And I started to prepare for meetings and workshops with mindpaps. To develop and structure these. The step to documentation, to taking minutes, was not far away.
Logs? Digitally created as a mindmap! This saves me time and ensures that meetings add value for participants. With this, I go into every meeting completely relaxed and prepared.