Mindjet Dashboard Series: Adding an Expert Tracker Mind Map

Filed Under Mind Mapping

RCP Expert Tracker header
Roger C. Parker

by
October 15, 2013

An Expert Tracker mind map is one of the most important enhancements you can add to the Mindjet Content Dashboard I introduced in my recent Mindjet Dashboard Series, Latest Thinking article, and which was selected as part of the latest Maps for That Roundup on social media marketing.

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Like my previously described social media #Hashtag Tracker, my Expert Tracker is intended to be added to the Resources section of my Content Dashboard.

Simplicity is the Key to Consistency

The Expert Tracker is designed to make it as simple as possible set up parameters, add experts, and update information.

With a single click on your Content Dashboard, which is always running in the background of your other tasks, you can access your Expert Tracker, add a new expert, or update a previously-entered expert.

Ease of operation is the key to building the habit of always being on the lookout for new experts, and adding them to your Tracker as quickly as possible. This makes it less likely you’ll overlook important resources that could make significant contributions to your success.

I’ve been using my Expert Tracker for over a year, and it’s become an almost “invisible” part of my online activities.

Initial Decisions

My fundamental decision was whether to track experts by their personal names, i.e., Jay Conrad Levinson, their “brand names,” i.e., Guerrilla Marketing, or by their website’s name.

For consistency’s sake, and to eliminate decisions while adding resources encountered while doing other tasks, I decided to track experts by their given names. These days, many experts have more than one website or blog address. Indeed, many authors have a separate URL for each of their books.

Also influencing my decision to focus on first and last names, rather than books, brands, or URLs, was my desire to make it easier to build familiarity with names that (usually) never change, although books, brands, employers, and URLs might.

Creating your Expert Tracker Mind Map

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The Expert Tracker’s basic structure is very simple. There are 4 topics, one for each quadrant of the alphabet. Expert names are always added as subtopics in the following order: Last Name, First Name, without middle initials.

Each time you add a new name, sort the topic. (Select the topic, followed by Format > Sort Topics > Alphanumeric.)

Keep your Expert Tracker as simple as possible. When getting started, avoid categorizing or prioritizing experts. The goal of the Expert Tracker is to make it as easy as possible to add their names and primary website URL as you discover them. There will be time, later, to update your Expert Tracker as described below.

Notes vs. Links

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Here are some tips for adding additional information to your Expert Tracker:

- Notes. When starting out, use Mindjet’s Notes to describe the area of their expertise, the titles of their books or blogs, and their overall relevance. In addition, you can include links to their key pages of their website, such as their About pages, the Services they provide, or their Upcoming Events. You can also add links to the Amazon.com pages describing their books, or links to one or two of their most important (to you) blog posts.

- Sub-subtopics. To save time checking each expert’s recent social media activity, add sub-subtopics, i.e., Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube channels, etc. This eliminates copying and pasting, allowing you to easily select the desired link, rather than copying and pasting information.

As you can see from the Expanded example above, the Expert Tracker efficiently permits you to pack a lot of information, including numerous links and details, into a small amount of space.

Note: if you’re a Windows user, you can collapse all of the topics in your Expert Tracker by clicking anywhere in a map using the CTRL+D keyboard shortcut.

Customizing your Expert Tracker

After setting up your Expert Tracker, and getting in the habit of adding new experts each time you discover or meet one, there are several ways you can enhance it:

- Photographs. You can add a personal touch to your Expert Tracker by inserting photographs in either the topics or Notes areas associated with each expert. This enhances networking by making it easier for you to recognize individuals you might meet at conferences and workshops.

- Linking and subdividing maps. If your Expert Tracker gets too large, you have the option of making each quadrant a separate, linked mind map. If you do so, you can use Mindjet’s Insert Topic command to subdivide the A-E quadrant into separate subtopics for A, B, C, D, E, and F.

Because of MindManager features like the ability to search and view linked maps, your Expert Tracker can grow with you.

Tagging and Filtering Your Expert Tracker

How, exactly, can your Mindjet Expert Tracker grow with you? As you begin to identify the most relevant or interesting experts in your field (and beyond), you can start using Tags to categorize and prioritize experts.

There are two important ways you can use Tags to categorize and prioritize:

- Using Tags to Categorize: Although the basic structure of the Expert Tracker is alphabetical, I encourage you to use Tags to indicate areas of expertise. For example, I am adding Tags for the following topics: Authors, Book Coaches, Content Marketers, Graphic Designers, Mind mapping, Photographers, Sketching, and Social Media. The reason for this approach is simple — these days, many experts defy easy categorization!

- Using Tags to Prioritize: I also encourage you to develop a simple “grading system” to indicate the importance, or relevance, of each expert. Obviously, all experts are not equally important. Tags provide an easy, unobtrusive way for you to easily indicate the most important experts in terms of their relevance. You can choose simple A, B, or C ratings, or use a scale of 1 (for most important) to 3 for “everyday, garden variety” experts. There’s no need for precision! Use the simplest system that makes sense to you.

Once you master the habit of inserting Tags, you could even add tags for location, i.e., L, for local experts (within a half-hour drive)!

Tags, by themselves, are useless, of course. This is where Mindjet’s Filtering feature comes in, allowing you to Filter on multiple attributes. This means you can query your Expert Tracker mind map, or linked maps, to locate the most important business authors, book coaches, or mind mapping resources within a half-hour drive from wherever you are.

Leveraging your Expert Tracker in the Future

At a time when there are “too many experts” and not enough time to follow them all, a Mindjet Expert Tracker provides an easy way to get started now tracking experts in your field, building towards more comprehensive solutions in the future. Can this be a better solution for you than multiple RSS feeds?

For example, given what you can do right now — create and filter a simple, alphabetical Expert Tracker Mindjet mind map using Tags to indicate category and relevance — it should be a simple step to export your mind map to a random access software application, which could prompt you each day of the week to visit two or three relevant experts!

What do you think? Are their experts with relevant messages in your field — and beyond — that you simply can’t keep up with?  Download my Mindjet Expert Tracker mind map, and start building for the future. Feel free to explore or delete my experts and replace them with your own!

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  • Stephanie Chandler

    Very cool post, Roger, and not just because you used me for your example! ;-) You always have such great ideas–thanks for sharing!