The Power of Mind Mapping – A Convert

Using this fabulous tool is something I have been doing for over 16 years now and I often take for granted the incredible power of Mind Mapping.  As a thinking tool it is second to none for its versatility, ease of use and of course effectiveness.

But using it every single day, one forgets just how much better one’s thinking is because the higher performance levels that using Mind Mapping gives you becomes the norm.  I am only reminded of its power when someone new to it or someone who has never really “got it” suddenly realises it for themselves.

I was working with a client recently on one of their Leadership Development Programmes and the local Site Director had just addressed a group going through the training.  As usual I took my notes using Mind Mapping on my beloved iPad (more about that and what App I use in another post).

Taking notes in this way in the past has always attracted some sort of attention but these days, now I have stepped over into the light and have invested in Apples seminal portable device I get double the attention and today was no exception.

After the Site Director had finished speaking and had departed, one of the delegates (from HR) came over and expressed an interest in the Mind Map I had created (though I secretly think it was the iPad that drew her over initially :-) ).

The conversation started in the same way that hundreds of similar conversations have started over the years:

“I had a go at Mind Mapping a few years ago.  I tried it but they didn’t really work for me”

“Oh Really” I replied “How long did you try them for?”

“Not long really.  Once I realised I couldn’t get the hang of them I stopped bothering” she replied.

Now there are many reasons this particular person may not have “got” Mind Mapping but I suspect it is one of two reasons:

  1. She wasn’t taught the technique properly (highly likely given that there are few professional instructors who a) really understand them and b) are able to teach it effectively
  2. She didn’t persevere with the tool if she had been taught it correctly.

Regardless of the reason, I was presented with an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past (well in Mind Map terms anyway!) and give her an opportunity to finally get it.

In the 20 minutes or so before she came over to look at my notes, we had both experienced her site director share his thoughts on leadership and on my iPad was interpretation and capture of what he had said in Mind Mapping form.

So I took her through it and reminded her of what he had said.  After going through it, she was stunned because the key words I used triggered her memory and allowed her to recall much of the presentation if not all of it.

Here is the actual Mind Map I shared with her.

The Power of Mind Mapping - Example

Now as you look at this image taken from my iPad it will mean very little to you because you weren’t there.  However if I was to sit down with you and explain what each of the key words mean then you would have a similar understanding of the key points raised as though you were there.

Because this HR professional was there at the time these notes made complete and utter sense to her but crucially for her, she had a recall experience by looking at this map that she would not have otherwise have had and it was at that moment of realisation that she “got” the Power of Mind Mapping.  As  a result, she spent the rest of the week using the tool and has since gone on to incorporate it into the way she thinks and manages information.

Now this is not my best Mind Mapping example because it was quickly jotted down as the Site Director was speaking.  However it conforms to the main guidelines recommended by Tony Buzan which are:

  • I have used colour
  • There are key words on a line
  • I have used images
  • The branches radiate out from the central topic
  • The branches connect to the central image and each other

The only thing I could possibly do to make it align more closely with the principles of best practice are to make the central image a picture and use at least 3 colours (let’s hope the Mind Map Police don’t get wind of this one).

So another successful day at the “office” as another person is now benefiting from this amazingly simple device.

Here’s my parting shot for you then…

If you have tried Mind Mapping in the past and don’t currently use it, why is that so?  Pop your answer in the comment field below because I am keen to understand why.

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