Flash: Do you use MindManager for Virtual Meetings?!!

Filed Under Mindjet


December 14, 2006

If you do, I’d love to talk to you…FAST!! Financial Times is workng up an article on how technology either helps or totally debilitates online meetings. We’d like to pitch them stories about how our customers have better virtual meetings by using MindManager. So if you have a story to tell about this, please add a comment to this post or contact me directly at:

hobart.swan@mindjet.com or 415 229-4308.

Here is what the Financial Times is looking for:

Peter Whitehead, editor of FT Digital Business, wrote in the November 8 issue: “One great hope for saving the planet from ecological catastrophe is that technology will enable business people to travel less, reducing aircraft emissions and the number of towels and sheets washed by hotels. Meetings can be ‘virtual’, with teams collaborating via work rooms, instant messaging, video-conferencing, and the like. I recently saw Adobe demonstrate its latest online meetings software, for example, and it looked perfectly feasible. But a recent piece of research by occupational psychologists Pearn Kandola, carried out for Cisco Systems, suggests that computer-based communication is vastly inferior to face-to-face interaction between members of a team working together. The researchers found that virtual teams neglect the need to socialize to establish trust and understanding. With non-verbal cues accounting for 63 percent of meaning in face-to-face communication, the report says the main problems of virtual teams are an over-reliance on e-mail, a failure to respond to messages (‘virtual silence’), and inappropriate modes of communication.” The writer will examine this topic in depth and ask whether the solution is to get flying again or to get the technology to deliver a more all-encompassing package.

3 Responses to “Flash: Do you use MindManager for Virtual Meetings?!!”

  1. Ken Wall

    I regularly use WebEx and Mindmanager for virtual meetings. Typically these are small group interactions among professionals who occasionally work together in the same field, such our professional organization board meetings, regular seminars during a project, and for widespread data collection. My business is a consultancy doing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) primarily for natural resource conservation, and rural growth and infrastructure. I have found Mindmanager to be a very useful enhancement to WebEx primarily for note taking, documentation and enhancing collaboration. I formerly used Word and the whiteboard tools for WebEx, but found Mindmanager much more useful. Here are a couple of examples.

    I am the secretary of the Montana Assoc. of GIS Professionals, and regularly use MM/WebEx for board meeting minutes. Montana is a very large state with sparse population, and meetings often involve travelling 3-5 hours. With long winters, we often rely on online meetings to cut down on travel. Whether I’m in a WebEx session, or in person with a projector, I’ve found the ability to readily move items and expand/collapse, to be well suited to collective documentation. I typically share my desktop and pass the mouse and keyboard virtually to other board members to add items or lists. With templates, it is easier to drag board members and board actions from templates to keep up with the mechanisms of Roberts Rules of Order, without interrupting the flow. Mostly it saves me time in preparing the minutes, since they are mostly completed when the meeting ends. Recently I have been experimenting with Snap-XT Web 2.0 tools to publish the minutes and let other board members correct the notes prior to the next meeting.

    For several recent projects, such as mapping critical infrastructure in Montana for homeland security (police, fire, ambulance, shelters, etc.) and designing a geodatabase for a statewide federated model for maintaining the information, we used MindManager and WebEx on a weekly basis for between meeting webinars on a topic related to the project. With team members and Department of Emergency Services coordinators
    Spread over hundreds of miles, we found regular online meetings documented by MindManager very valuable. We were able to bring in experts from other states to lead discussions on specialized topics. We kept a master record of the sessions which were easily published from Mindmap to our server, and combined with Sharepoint, built an extensive collection of web meetings, references and documentation that was very useful in preparing final reports. Like the previous example, we did not have any significant issues with lack of non-verbal cues and other issues of online meetings, primarily because team members knew each other and had worked together regularly and the sessions were usually non-controversial, information sharing type sessions. People really appreciate the ability to take an hour at their desk for a meeting, instead of a day of driving back and forth for a 1 to 2 hour meeting.

    We have used the same combination of software to facilitate collection of highway/wildlife linkage areas and high vehicle/wildlife collision areas in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho from remote participants. Typically bringing together wildlife biologists, highway transportation planners, maintenance personnel, and non-profit land truysts and conservation groups. The simplicity of drawing on maps in WebEx with a common whiteboard and simple drawing tools(the “Where”), and collecting qualitative information about specific areas (the “What”) in simple templates and expanding outlines are a powerful set of tools that are also extremely simple for non-technical folks to use. We’ve tried to get career biologists who did not grow up with computers and technology on to web mapping sites with mixed success, but the MindManager/WebEx combination works well almost every time. It is simple to use, easy to quickly understand what is going on, and uses the limited screen real estate well.

    I’d be glad to elaborate more on these examples, or give some demonstrations.

  2. Andrew Wilcox

    Hobart, I have used MindManager for many years as the notetaker at Virtual Meetings. I share my desktop with RealVNC and occasionally Unyte and Umeeting. I use it for one to one discussions and for groups of up to five or six people. Recently I listened in on a discussion amongst a group of people in the Shetlands and Orkneys and mapped as they talked. Meetings with maps create clarity, actions are easily noted and allocated.

    MindManager is great for bundling up any web site links and reference documents at the end of the meeting and immediately emailing to the participants.