Today’s post is by Jamie Crosbie, CEO and founder of ProActivate. Jamie is a certified peak performance mindset trainer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214/720-9922 to learn more about how her training can help your sales team reach peak performance levels.
We all have those moments. Moments like when someone is explaining something to you – and you see their mouth moving and hear words coming out – but you don’t have the slightest idea what they’re talking about. Or you have a really, really good idea (at least you think it is), but you can’t quite flesh it out or even understand why you think it’s a good idea. You need to find a way to comprehend it and get un-stuck so you can execute on it and succeed.
There are ways to approach it. You can quietly ponder it or talk it through with someone else who “gets” you. You can sleep on it hoping for enlightenment in the morning. You can keep re-reading those notes you took. After a while, though, if you haven’t been able to think it out, talk it out, or the notes still don’t make sense – and the bright light of inspiration failed to show up the next day – it’s time for a different technique.
Enter Mind Mapping, an increasingly popular and helpful technique for sorting through thoughts and the subcomponents of them in a way that turns traditional, one-dimensional note taking into two-dimensional visuals.
Mind Mapping is a technique developed and promoted by British author and consultant Tony Buzan. Following his highly popular 1970s BBC series Use Your Head, he released several books on logical thinking and memory mnemonics, including The Mind Map Book. The mapping technique has been challenged over the years as pseudoscience lacking real evidence of value. However, studies of the technique have shown that concept mapping is more effective than “reading text passages, attending lectures, and participating in class discussions.” The Mind Mapping concept is useful for brainstorming as an individual or with a group, studying and memorizing, consolidating data from diverse sources, thinking through difficult concepts, and creating a readily-understandable summary of more extensive notes and information sources.
Mind maps rapidly display the structure of a concept by showing its various components and subcomponents in a single visual that fits on one page of paper – or a single white board if your concept is particularly grandiose.
Starting in a circle at the center with a statement of the highest-level statement of the concept, you then branch out to components of that concept. From there you branch out to the subcomponents – going for as many levels of breakout as you need to represent your idea fully. The visual result is more compact than more traditional note-taking. It allows rapid delivery of the concept to others who may be stakeholders or contributors to the concept in its execution. And it facilitates taking a large concept and breaking it into manageable, bite-sized bits that can be more easily translated into tasks and milestones – while, at the same time, reducing the possibility that something important will be completely overlooked.
A good Mind Map allows you to understand the relative importance of each of a concept’s individual parts as well as the dependencies of one component on another. That, in turn, allows you to prioritize the order of tasks in a more meaningful and productive way.
Fortunately, there are many sources online showing the Mind Mapping technique and coaching people in how to approach it. Don’t let yourself sit behind a mental log-jam. Do yourself a favor and learn how to take a difficult idea, break it down, and paint a picture of it. Over time it will become more and more intuitive to you. Then you’ll become a shining asset of productivity and originality.