By: David Halverson (Guest Blogger)
This is the fourth entry in a series of blog posts discussing the topic of building a mind mapping community within your company. You can read the full series by clicking on the links below:
- Why Start a Mind Mapping User Group?
- Building a Mind Mapping Community — Part 1
- Building a Mind Mapping Community — Part 2
As the name implies, a community of mind mappers is a group of employees that have been exposed to mind mapping at some point and wish to further their personal skills or wish to promote mind mapping within their company.
Idea Mapping or Mind Mapping is applicable to a wide range of uses, and so is MindManager. However, I have found a core group of users within the project management types. Every company runs on projects so you are not really limited to a single organization within your company. PMs are everywhere…they’re just not called PMs. You might want to focus your efforts at least to start on the folks that perform this vital role.
Why would you want to lead or participate in such a group? There are a number of possible answers including leadership opportunities, personal visibility or just a plain old commitment to making your company more successful! If you move forward with starting, leading or participating in a community of practice for mind mapping, you will find support from unexpected places and you will build a network that you did not anticipate. Your visibility internally or externally as an expert in the field of mind mapping will not hurt regardless! You might check out my first blog for more discussion on this subject.
In our third blog, we:
- Discussed community meetings, speakers and programs for your community.
- Provided an overview of developing a charter for your organization.
You may want to read the previous blogs to provide context for this one – they’re listed at the top of this blog post.
Expanding Your Mind Mapping Community Membership
Once you get your community started, you will want to grow that community so that your message can be heard in many places within your company. The larger your group the more impact you will have. Here are a few pointers to get you started:
- Make contact and link with other communities within your company. Look for commonalities where you might get some synergy from a relationship. If your company allows websites for user groups, do some linkage between sites.
- Do demos of your mind mapping wherever you can to acquaint those unfamiliar with the methods or tool. Let them know how to join your group. Not everyone will get it or be interested but don’t worry about it. Don’t waste your time trying to convince non-visual people. You will find people that naturally understand and appreciate mind mapping so focus on those people.
- Do you have ways to advertise your community within your company? If so write up some quick snappy teasers to attract new members or meetings. If not, think about writing some interesting, informative emails which your membership will want to forward to their colleagues.
- Speak at conferences either internal or external. If internal, be sure that you tell the audience how to join your group. Externally, ask your audience for possible linkage within their company. You never know what links prove really useful to your efforts. In either event, your visibility as an expert in the field does not hurt your resume!
Educating People About Mind Mapping
Of course establishing or promoting educational opportunities regarding mind mapping for our membership is one of the first objectives of a community. Here’s some possible avenues to explore:
- Research existing webinars or other types of tutorials available for free and easily accessible. If possible, rate the sources so that your membership does not have to filter through the chaff and can get to the best sources quickly. You might want to also categorize the tutorials by level of learning or by the particular field that the tutorial applies to.
- Great tutorials and webinars are available through MindManager.
- Sources for inspiration can be map libraries such as MapsforThat (MindManager) or Biggerplate.
- Additionally, there are fee courses available from Biggerplate and IdeaMappingSuccess. Some courses are offered virtually and some in-person at your location.
- One of the most effective ways to build your membership while educating at the same time is to develop a set of guest speakers to talk on specific subjects related to mind mapping or a software product. I know that MindManager is more than happy to present one-hour courses or webinars on a specific topic that you wish to present to your membership.
- Jamie Nast of IdeaMappingSuccess is another guest speaker who is outstanding and would be pleased to present to your group. I have found that most people in the mind mapping arena are more than willing to speak to your group as long as you give them a good audience.
- Excellent education can be had from your internal MindManager users who are delighted to share their maps, explain what they are for and how they developed them. As fellow employees within your company, they have instant credibility. It’s a win-win situation! I would caution that you should have a dry-run, however, to make sure that they have what they say they have in regards to their presentation. I have been burned a couple of times.
- Post ever educational opportunity to your community website. If you don’t have that capability, send out emails with a few educational sites each week. Your members will appreciate it.
This blog discusses issues associated with starting and maintaining a mind mapping community. The concepts are transferable to other types of communities as well of course. In our next blog we will discuss how to get the most from your investment!
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About the Author:
Dave Halverson has teamed up with Jamie Nast, creator of Idea Mapping and internationally known trainer of over 25,000 students to offer a one-day course titled ‘Idea Mapping Using MindManager’.
Dave was previously Mindjet’s Customer Success Manager and worked for 30 years at The Boeing Company as a systems analyst, business analyst and project manager for various Boeing divisions. He was President and Director of the N/W Electronic Commerce Roundtable and 8 years ago started the Boeing Mind Mapping Interest Group which grew from a dozen members to over 600. He has also taught business at Bellevue College and City University in Bellevue Washington. Dave can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Jamie through her website.