Mind mapping is a popular technique for visually outlining an idea. These diagrams can be simple or elaborate, and you can use software or a simple piece of paper. Our favorite method is the good ol’ white board. Whichever method you choose, a mind map will help you to turn your event ideas into concrete actions.
Benefits of Mind Mapping
Boost your creativity. Mind mapping sparks creative thinking. As you begin, know that it is not about being perfect and you can forget about editing and focus on getting all of your thoughts down.
Encourage collaboration. Although mind mapping is good as an individual exercise, it works even better as a group activity. Communicating information visually makes it easier for other team members to understand the message and strengthens group memory.
Increase your productivity. You will find that as ideas are better organized, it will free up more time for the actual nuts and bolts of turning an idea into action.
Learn to be more effective. The dynamic nature of mind mapping is ideal for getting effective results.
Structuring and discussing information promotes greater engagement than on a Zoom meeting and watching PowerPoints or taking notes.
How to Get Started with Mind Mapping
Create a central topic. Try to state your main subject in three words or less. Make it the central image of your diagram. For example, you can use “Virtual Event Ideas” or “2021 Virtual Conference”.
List all the relevant subtopics. Brainstorm about everything related to your main idea. You’ll be adding subtopics as branches using additional lines and shapes branching out from the center. Subtopics can be “Virtual Sponsorship Ideas”, “Speakers to Contact”, “Engagement Ideas”.
Organize your topics by categories and relationships. Now you can start thinking about groupings and the way things relate to each other. This will suggest how to position and connect different elements.
Link to supporting information. To keep your map easy to read, you may want to create links to external resources. For example, an organizational chart could reference speaker biographies or a document for a meeting could link to minutes from previous sessions. We find it helpful to link to other events and even sponsor websites.
Assign homework. Get ready for action. Generate challenging assignments. For team activities, give each participant specific responsibilities and a due date.
Review and evaluate. Look for ways to make improvements as you use your mind maps. You may want to make your labels more concise or vary your color schemes. A good example is after you have speakers and topics, start breaking them into tracks.
Add text. Even though this is a visual exercise, words play a valuable role. Add a legend to explain frequently used symbols. Use call outs for elements that require further notes.
Develop templates. Over time, you may find that you use similar formats over and over. Save your favorite templates to make the process even faster in the future. You might have annual conference templates, board meeting templates, etc.
How To Apply Mind Mapping to Virtual Event Planning
Make important decisions. When you are faced with a tough dilemma (Keynote Speaker A or Keynote Speaker B), sketch out all the pros and cons and the perspectives of different players.
Record your thoughts. Some of your most valuable ideas are likely to pop into your head when you least expect them. Experiment with free apps that will let you create maps on your phone. This way, once the initial meeting is over, team members can keep adding to the initial brainstorming.
Process large volumes of information. Given the information overload that comes with virtual events, it’s easy to see why mapping is becoming more common. Mind mapping is a simple way to deal with a lot of facts in a short time and spot the connections between them.
Mind mapping has the potential to improve your virtual event planning process. It enables better planning, consolidates key information, and triggers meaningful insights. Have fun while you draw your way to a better virtual event future.