Mind the Gap: The Power of Mind Mapping

(Cross-posted on Communicators Anonymous.)

large_412 Last summer, I watched Kami Huyse prepare for her talk at Blog Potomac 2008. She was not writing out her main topic notes, but diagramming them! Kami was mind mapping. Intrigued and inspired, I set-off to learn more about this process. By nature, I am no David Armano, but a linear person. I did not think the visual form of mind mapping could assist me. Well, I was wrong.

The ‘Laws of Mind Mapping’ and phrase ‘Mind Mapping’ were originally devised by Tony Buzan, though the process has existed and taken many forms over the centuries. Now the process is made even easier with mapping software, but the principles remain the same. In The Mind Map Book, Buzan claims that the mind map is a vastly superior note taking method because it does not lead to a “semi-hypnotic trance” state induced by other note forms. Buzan also argues that the mind map utilizes the full range of left and right human cortical skills, balances the brain, taps into the alleged 99% of your unused mental potential, as well as intuition (which he calls “superlogic”).

Usually I reserve the instruction of mind mapping to my Speech students, but last night, I introduced the concept to my International Marketing students. Why? Not for individual note taking, but to ease cross-cultural communications! (Hat tip to Cindy King for leading me to this article.) This article made me think about sharing my mind maps and easing communications across social media tools.

I use mind mapping to plot my blog posts, story and speech outlines. Rarely do I use mind mapping for meeting notes. Nor do I share my mind mapping notes or process with anyone. My scrawling stays safe in my notebook. I use my blogs, email and twitter to crowdsource thoughts and occasionally use a hashtag to track feedback. Unless the feedback is summarized in a blog post, the original intent for solicitation is not generally shared.

Too often we see only through a narrow lens. What if I used mind maps to track the rabbit holes my mind takes and share with the world? Questions would be raised and answered by the people with additional experiences. Gaps would be filled in; pieces of the puzzle fit properly and the overall picture visible to all.

A common complaint about coverage of SxSWi and other conferences is that those tweeting or live blogging the event do not pause for reflection. The content is simply regurgitated.

Reflection is built into the mind mapping process.

This weekend, I will be attending Govt 2.0 Camp and will try mind mapping the unconference. I will post my maps on this blog. Wish I would have thought of this sooner…all notes of SxSWi are written long-hand.

How do you use mind maps? Pros and Cons? Favorite software tool?

Additional Resources:

(Mind Map image courtesy Buzan World.)

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