When you are planning your content for your workshops and seminars, organizing it can be a challenge. It is good to brainstorm all the points you want to teach. But how? Do you write them down on index cards, a legal pad, on a computer or on a flipchart? And then how do you organize them? You’ll have to write them down in different orders, duplicating your work over and over again. On the computer, you have to cut and paste and that can start to get confusing.
I have used the index card system, which is effective, but cumbersome. With the index card system you write all the points you want to teach on separate index cards. Then you sort them into topics and organize the topics into modules. I am always afraid that I lose one of my cards. Or I drop them and can start organizing all over again. And I have these stacks of cards all over my desk.
Luckily, I have found a better system, using mindmaps. I have always been skeptical of mindmaps. I had the Freemind software ( a free mindmapping program) on my computer, but never really used it. I thought it was difficult to use and didn’t see the possibilities. Boy was I wrong!
Last week, I decided to give it another try. I invested 90 minutes of my time to really learn the software by taking the Discover Freemind course. I was amazed! Within minutes, I had mindmapped my way to creating content for a new website I am working on. I am also using it to map out content for upcoming courses.
What I love about it is that I can move my different points into any order without cutting and pasting. I can either use my keyboard to move my teaching points up or down until I have the right order or I can drag and drop. Sorting them into modules has never been easier and I don’t have to be afraid of losing a card or getting them out of order. I have a picture of my entire course, what I want to teach and in what order right in front of me.
Not only does it work for creating speeches, teleseminars, workshops and other content oriented projects like websites, blogs and autoresponder series, it is a marvel for my To Do list. If you are anything like me, you probably have a huge To Do list. I used to write everything down and assign a priority to it. However, I found myself jumping from item to item.
With my mindmap, I can sort my items into categories by topic or by action. It is so much easier to group items together, like phone calls or writing emails or running errands. Or I can organize my action items by event or project I am working on.
If I get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of To Do’s, I can hide certain segments. That way I can concentrate on the topic at hand and not get distracted. Great for us suffering from “Bright Shiny Object Syndrome”!
If you are planning on creating content for your workshops and seminars, give Discover Freemind a try. Bob the Teacher has a great 90 minute webinar on how to use the software, and you can download the free software there as well.
Have you used mindmaps before? How do you use them? Share with me in the comments.