Interaction is key during events. But often there’s a paradox: it delivers distraction from notetaking, and it seems that people tend to forget a lot of the information that was shared. Mind mapping is an interesting technique to capture event information.
I sat down with Alexis van Dam, a Dutch Mind mapping Pro and we talked about live mind mapping at events. Let’s dive into the mind mapping technique and apply it to events.
What exactly is mind mapping?
A mind map is a diagram used to visually outline information. Usually you start with a word, sentence or question and then you start adding main- and subbranches. Add images, video, links to create a rich content experience.
One advantage of a mind map is that it provides a very clear understanding of the contextual coherence. It is also believed that this kind of visual representation is close to how our brain works.
What problem(s) does it solve?
With mind mapping you have a systematic and structured way of storing and visualising information. It’s a great fit for events because people tend to forget a lot of the details that are discussed during sessions. And while personal notetaking is a great way of capturing event content, it momentarily drives away the attention of the attendee.
So what does it add to your event?
Mind mapping can add several things to your event:
- you can visualize what information has been shared (by a speaker, through discussions or during Q&A sessions);
- engage (remote) audience. By involving the audience you can add content coming from the audience in the room or coming from social media sources;
- summarise key points of presentations/discussions;
- facilitate discussion and sharing (of information);
- event stretching. By providing the Mind maps post-event there’s an opportunity to engage the audience even after the actual event is over.
What are the key features of mind mapping?
You can build your mind map in real-time during the event. Next to that you’re able to add rich content (URL’s, images, video, etc). It’s great to provide a livestream on large screens with the mind map being created to engage the audience. Make the livestream available online for your remote attendees. Mind maps are extremely suitable to export in different formats, from PDF, images, linear notes to a fully interactive website (included the discussion).
How can you apply mind mapping?
At larger events it’s great for focussing attention, capturing presentations, brainstorming, Q&A sessions, preserving knowledge, solving problems, opinion sharing. Mind maps also are a valuable instrument with hybrid and online events. Via a live mind map it’s possible to engage remote audience/experts, crowdsource questions or problems and share information to a wider audience.
In a smaller event setting like an incompany training mind mapping can be beneficial to strategic aligning sessions, facilitating the change process, capturing knowledge, brainstorming and product improvement sessions.
What do you need to implement it?
It’s fairly easy to setup mind mapping for your event. The most crucial part is a thorough pre event briefing with experienced and skilled mind mappers. Important for them to know what information can be published online and what not, in case of confidentiality. Furthermore you’ll need (online) mind mapping software, input devices like laptop or tablet and output devices (screens, beamer, etc.). If you want to broadcast to online you’ll need an internet connection. Ideally you have 2 mind mappers, so they can split up tasks. One is focussed on capturing the information in a mind map the other is enriching the mind map with sources such as links to research, images, video’s or documents.
Some showcases and best practices?
See several example events, congresses and sessions that were facilitated using live mindmapping.
Tips and tricks
- try to involve your mindmappers early in the process of event design, so they can advice on what’s best fitted for facilitating interaction or content capture for your event
- have your moderator and your mindmappers work together closely, their interaction during the event is important
- have a good briefing for both moderator and mindmappers, with detailled scheme about tasks and responsibilities
- depending on your goals the synergy between mindmapper and moderator can facilitate idea collection and brainstorming or structured problem solving,
- list of mindmapping software
- basics on mindmapping
- 100 reasons to mindmap
- mindmap resource website
- mindmap inspiration
- example of an online, clickable mindmap
- conference on mindmapping