How mind mapping can help you communicate with clients

Oct 08, 2020

As a remote freelance worker who is juggling multiple clients and projects, if there’s one thing you need to streamline your freelance business, it’s the ability to clearly communicate with your clients.

Whether it’s setting expectations, clarifying doubts or sharing project updates —maintaining regular communication leads to fewer misunderstandings and higher productivity.

But it’s not as straightforward as scheduling meetings. The question is: How are you communicating and what are you doing to convey your message clearly?

An effective tool you can use to improve client communication is mind maps.

A mind map is a diagram that lets you organize information visually. The main concept is placed at the center with supporting ideas branching off from it.

Let’s take a look at how freelancers can use mind maps to present ideas and improve client communication.

Brainstorming

Most projects begin with a brainstorming session. The idea is to generate as many ideas and explore new possibilities along the way.

Whether you’re brainstorming alone or with your clients, it helps to use a brainstorm bubble map to document all those ideas and make associations.

Not only does this let you present ideas visually, it’s also a great way to run a focused brainstorming session.

Here’s an example of a brainstorm bubble map you can use to summarize and present your findings. Notice how the different forms of content are color-coded, making them easily identifiable.

Source: Venngage

Visualize concepts

Let’s say you’ve thought of some great ideas and want to present them to your client. There are two ways to do this:

  1. List them in a linear fashion
  2. Present them visually

While the first option is quicker, it’s not the best because your ideas are likely to get lost and leave readers overwhelmed.

On the other hand, visualizing your ideas using mind maps improves comprehension and retention while keeping readers engaged. This is because the brain works radiantly — that’s exactly what mind maps embody.

Instead of listing your ideas, use an idea mind map to present your ideas and communicate clearly.

Here’s an example of an idea mind map. It gives readers a bird’s-eye view of the entire picture and demonstrates how the elements are connected without overwhelming them.

Source: Venngage

Perform a situation analysis

As a freelancer or consultant, it’s always important to back your ideas and suggestions up with research and analysis. This makes it easier to persuade freelance clients and helps them understand your point of view better.

A useful evaluation model you can use is a SWOT analysis.

It lets you assess internal and external factors such as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, helping you gain a thorough understanding of the business situation, do a competitor analysis and make informed recommendations.

Here’s a SWOT analysis template you can use while delivering work for clients. This is a good way to compare and present all data in one place while making it easy for readers to digest the information with ease.

Source: Venngage

Communicate strategy

You might have come up with a groundbreaking strategy but if you don’t present it well, does it even matter?

High-level strategy tends to be complex but your presentation need not be. Strategy mind maps are a good way to communicate strategy because of the following reasons:

  • Reduce overwhelm
  • Break information into manageable chunks
  • Organize insights

You can use them to visually group ideas, make associations, and break down concepts while letting clients see the big picture.

Take a look at this strategic mind map that is numbered for readers to visualize a process and the steps required along the way.

Source: Venngage

Outline the project plan

Being a successful freelancer also means being a good project manager because you’re expected to plan, execute and monitor projects.

This becomes all the more important when you’re managing multiple projects at once.

Don’t be that freelancer who keeps their clients waiting for an update. Be proactive, plan your time well, and always keep them in the loop.

You can use a project mind map to show them the complete scope of the project at a glance and keep them updated on the progress. Make it a point to highlight the project goals and outline the steps required to achieve them too.

Here’s an example of a project mind map. The design accurately captures the project goals and uses colored boxes to show the steps in the process.

Source: Venngage

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send us your blog post.

Simki Dutta

Simki Dutta is a content marketer at Venngage, a free infographic maker and design platform. When she's not working, she can be found refreshing her Twitter feed and binge-watching Netflix shows.