By: Emily Finlay
The post-pandemic business world looks far different than it did before. One of the most prevalent changes is an increase in remote teams—an estimated 26.7% of US workers now work remotely.
As a result, employees connect with their coworkers and other teams increasingly through digital and virtual tools rather than in-person gatherings.
For remote teams to communicate effectively, having the right tools in place is a must. It’s no longer enough to simply talk with your team over video or chat. Instead, you need the ability to collaborate and connect on a variety of tasks to keep your workflows and projects moving.
Microsoft Teams quickly became a team favorite as remote work grew during the pandemic. Its file sharing, chat, meeting, call, and collaboration features helped empower teams to get critical work done, no matter their location.
With Microsoft Teams, coworkers can collaborate on documents in real -time. The ability to add comments and make changes that everyone can instantly view helps streamline tasks, eliminating unnecessary back and forth.
Workers can also add clients and contractors to internal channels, connecting with people outside of the company for instant feedback.
More importantly, the many application integrations offered by Microsoft Teams allow employees to build out and follow processes that are best suited for the tasks they need to complete. Along with accessing the tools they need, users can integrate various tools and applications that simplify their daily efforts.
Using the MindManager application to create mind maps within Microsoft Teams, for instance, helps users visually brainstorm and organize ideas.
In this post, you’ll learn how creating a Microsoft Teams mind map with MindManager can help improve team collaboration so projects are completed more efficiently, and with better results.
What are mind maps?
Mind maps are data visualization tools that create graphical representations of ideas or concepts. You start with a main idea that you can use to branch off into subtopics. You can visually diagram thoughts, tasks, items, and more, using lines to connect these blocks to related concepts.
Rather than showing all information in a list, mind maps give you the ability to illustrate how topics and tasks fit together. In addition to providing an easy-to-understand, visual representation of important information, mind maps mirror the ways people think in order to help teams achieve better results.
What are the top 4 benefits of using a Microsoft Teams mind map?
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of using mind maps in Microsoft Teams.
1. Enhance meeting collaboration
When teams start a project or kick off a brainstorming session, ideas often move rapidly and can be hard to document and keep up with.
Usually, a team member has to take notes to keep track of everything, and those notes are visible only to that person, which means things can easily be missed. A mind map solves this problem by enabling real-time collaboration.
The visual nature of Microsoft Teams is ideal for the mind map format, offering a big window that clearly shows the information you share.
During Microsoft Teams meetings that use mind maps, all participants can add their ideas to the shared diagram, directly within the Microsoft Teams application.
Easily share MindManager maps in Microsoft Teams with other team members for collaborative editing
This allows everyone to see the progress of the meeting and what has been documented, as well as the ability to edit the map directly, adding their own ideas. This mind map can also be shared with team members who were unable to attend the meeting.
2. Move quickly from ideation to execution
Once you’ve created a mind map, you can send it to anyone involved in the project. You can assign tasks directly within the mind map to the right people, and even set due dates and priority levels for deliverables to keep projects on track.
You can also add links, files, and other resources directly within the Microsoft Teams mind map so that all team members have access to the right contextual information. All of this helps ensure that post-meeting action items are clearly outlined and executed.
3. Improve productivity with all tools in the same place
Even when tools are productive, adding new ones into the mix risks complicating processes, especially if there’s a steep learning curve.
But with MindManager’s Microsoft Teams integration, this is a non-issue. Your team doesn’t need to jump between tools because they can create and access mind maps directly within Microsoft Teams.
Users can easily save each map or the folder used to store it as a tab that they can open with a single click. They can also open the MindManager application in the Apps section of Microsoft Teams, just like they would any other application they’re using within the platform.
With these quick and easy options, you don’t have to sacrifice productivity for improved collaboration.
More importantly, you can use Microsoft Teams maps to combine links and data from other platforms to keep everything centralized.
Tasks from Microsoft Outlook, documents from Microsoft Word, and data from Microsoft Excel can all be easily imported into your mind map, creating a visual record that contains all necessary information in a single location.
4. Keep remote workers connected and engaged
For many organizations, Microsoft Teams is a key connectivity hub, allowing teams to chat via text or hop on calls with coworkers. Adding the additional ability to create and build out mind maps within the tool helps further streamline collaborative work.
You can use mind maps for planning projects and meetings, improving processes and workflows, brainstorming ideas for a new campaign—the list goes on.
Using MindManager with Microsoft Teams can also prevent meeting burnout, particularly for remote teams. Workers can engage with each other directly within maps during meetings, meaning you can swap out dry presentations with active collaboration sessions to improve employee engagement and overall productivity.
How do you create a Microsoft Teams mind map?
Creating a mind map is easy! Just follow these four simple steps:
1. Create a diagram
To create a mind map in Microsoft Teams, open the MindManager app. You can choose to either create your diagram from scratch or use one of the templates available in the MindManager library.
Remember, mind maps start with a central topic and branch off into additional ideas. The best types of diagrams to use for a mind map are radial maps, flowcharts, org charts, trees, timelines, freeform maps, and concept maps. These templates and designs help simplify the process of building out your map.
Simply select your blank template or pre-made diagram, and click “Create Map”. You can then add individual users to the file or share it with entire teams. Once you’ve created your map file, get started by adding a main idea, topic, or starting point to the center of the map.
2. Add your ideas
Now it’s time to start brainstorming. It may be overwhelming to open up a map to a large group of people who start adding their feedback and ideas, so consider setting some ground rules to better manage the process.
For example, you might task different team members with fleshing out different parts of a project, so each person is responsible for a different part of the map.
Each new concept should ideally branch off from the topic it’s most closely related to. If you’re building a new product for a customer, for example, the product should be the central idea within the map.
You could then add ideas for the features and capabilities you want to add, adding a new branch for each one. Next, add branches from the feature blocks to capture the specific capabilities of those features.
No matter the topic, mind maps give you endless ways to ideate and capture key takeaways from meetings. Even if you’re just using a mind map to document meeting minutes, the collaborative nature of mind maps enables team members to add thoughts, ideas, or potential next steps to your meeting record so you can move from planning to execution.
3. Organize your mind map
Depending on the depth of the topic you’re covering in your mind map, it can grow quite large, which can result in information overload. Luckily, this problem can be easily resolved because mind maps can be edited down, and you can collapse entire sections so the whole map is not visible all at once.
There’s also a Slide Deck mode in MindManager that automatically breaks your diagram down into easily digestible slides.
Color-coding is another great way to organize certain parts of your map. You can choose a color for each team or worker to easily show who is responsible for what. Other options include using colors to show priority levels, due dates, and more.
A MindManager map in Microsoft teams organized with colors, priority levels, and more
4. Enhance your mind map with external resources
As mentioned, having access to other tools and information is one of the biggest benefits of using Microsoft Teams to build mind maps. Enhance your maps by importing data from Excel, linking to other documents or webpages, or adding tasks to specific items.
You can also add scheduled events, such as calls and meetings, if you want to note which topics need more discussion.
MindManager offers an abundance of features that you can use to create mind maps that best fit the project or task at hand. Easily tailor your maps to your unique needs, whether that’s meeting minutes or a step-by-step action plan for a critical project.
From simple, small mind- maps to in-depth diagrams with extensive details, you can create maps that help you achieve your most important goals.
5. Share your map
Once your mind map is complete, you have several options for sharing it. You can export a snapshot to send via email (although this option doesn’t allow recipients to edit the map).
Alternatively, you can publish mind maps, which allows you to send an editable link to others so long as the map is stored in SharePoint, Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, or another cloud storage option. Editing options are limited with these methods, but they do allow users without MindManager accounts to view and edit diagrams.
Within Microsoft Teams, you can save your mind maps (or any folders you store them in) as tabs in your channels for ease of access. You can also add the MindManager app to the Apps toolbar in Microsoft Teams, just like you would any other application, to easily pull it up whenever you want to use it.