Covering All The Bases: How to Sketch Out Your Perfect Event Plan on Paper
Mind Mapping was invented by Tony Buzan, a well-known English author and educational consultant, as a better way of taking notes to improve productivity & performance. He propounded that the human brain does not function in a linear way, but rather prefers jumping from one idea to another - so it is much easier to strategize or analyze critical information on paper, by adding new connected ideas to a central idea.
When you look at event planning, it also consists of several itemized deliverables with stakeholder and resource dependencies that can be mind-mapped for an insightful overview. With event mapping, changes can be made to event strategies on the fly. Their effects can be plotted on the other event deliverables set or to be set in motion, making your entire event creation project go like clockwork!
Some essential event-building themes you can mind-map around are:
The purpose of planning your event (Is it to increase event attendance, boost brand awareness or generate more leads?)
Want to work with event budgets in an easy-breezy format than complex spreadsheets? You can itemize your planned event costs, actual costs and cash inflows through mind maps, under the headers Food, Travel, Sponsorships, Signages and more, along with sub-headers; and also allow individual contributors to edit the budget map as and when warranted!
Charting internal team members, vendors, suppliers and their core responsibilities can avoid unnecessary workflow lapses and establish an execution hierarchy. Event-building stakeholders’ responsibilities can be mapped on a daily, weekly and monthly basis with meticulous graphical markers like deliverables, due dates, status of completion, stakeholder collaborations, resource requirements, workflow priorities and new idea pilot testings. You can even input your organizing team members and critical personnel contact details in the notes section for easy reference.
Event planning primarily involves decision-making acumen, on a daily basis. From Sponsors to Venue Selections, event planners need expansive mind maps to help them weigh up the pluses and minuses of their event decisions. Here’s citing an example of a venue selection mind map. You can examine your outdoor vs. indoor event staging decision, and compare and contrast if an art gallery or a café would be a better event venue. You can dive into aspects like pricing structures, the feeling that an event venue gives like ‘retro’ or ‘modern’ or if the venue has good natural lighting or if it is easily reachable from the airport.
When it comes to marketing and PR, deciding on the event promotional mediums and materials can be a task. You have the option to choose between online, print, radio and television. You can mind map the benefits of choosing each medium and within those mediums the type of brand voices you want to build. For example if your organizing a large-sized business conference, your tasks on your mind map would read something like website designing, announcing event website, sending out email invitations, email remainders (strategizing your drip email campaign), sending invitations to journalists, publication of press releases, developing social media calendar, identifying influencers and more.
If your event has sessions on various industry trends and topics, you can create a comprehensive mind map of the thought leaders, speakers; along with their list of the content focuses. Seeing this data in a visual format can help you identify the possible connections, learning gaps and build opportunities for more knowledge-building. You can leverage these content insights for your event-promoting social media or blogs.
Must-have Mind Mapping Tools and Softwares for Event Mapping
Mind mapping is a manual pen and paper exercise! Event organizers are known to most often make use of flipcharts and whiteboards to plan out their events - through the interconnected networks and sub-networks of the ‘mind mapping’ technique. But did you know there are also mind mapping tools, softwares and apps on mobile devices available in the market? At times, the mind mapping software like MindManager
offer ready-to-use templates with drag and drop and link & attachment adding options. Other mind mapping softwares also allow you to have a central file repository and several other documents attached to it, through links. The changes you make to the document are universally applied to the central file as well. Some websites like Mindmeister
take the collaborative and interactive event team mind-mapping approach. Mindmeister works online and does not even require a download!