I have observed that the vast majority of successful sales people are not linear thinkers. Personally, my best strategic and creative thinking comes in front of an empty white-board, ending up with boxes, text and arrows pointing everywhere. It simply helps me get my ideas out of my head and into a format that others can see and I can capture for future work and modification. You might be the same way. If so, this 5-part series on mind mapping could be helpful to you and your career.
Mind mapping is a powerful organizational tool that was developed in the 1960s by education consultant Tony Buzan. He created this new way of managing information because he felt that linear methods, such as list making and note taking, weren’t adequate.
The problem, he believed, is that the mind doesn’t work in a linear fashion. Therefore, linear methods are limiting. On the other hand, if you could develop a system that mirrors the way the brain works, it would be more effective.
The system he created is mind mapping. It visually organizes information so that it’s easy to take in at a glance and immediately understand even complex relationships. The mind map is an open organizational tool that is very flexible. It’s excellent not only for mapping out information but also for brainstorming.
Buzan’s 10 rules for mind mapping:
1. Start in the middle with an image that represents the topic.
2. Use images, graphics, symbols, and codes wherever possible in your mind map.
3. Use keywords and short phrases with both upper and lower case letters.
4. Each image or word should be alone with its own individual line.
5. The lines must all be connected. Those connected to the center should be thicker and should thin out as they branch out.
6. The lines should be about the same length as the images and graphics.
7. Use your own color coding system throughout the map.
8. Create and develop your own personal mind map style.
9. Emphasize certain features in your mind map.
10. Use radial hierarchy, numerical order, or outlines for clarity.
As you can see by reading the above 10 rules, there is great emphasis on the visual qualities of the mind map. Buzan also encourages people to develop their own personal style.
Mind maps can be applied to any area of life and to any problem or situation. This is one of the reasons the mind map is such a powerful and useful tool. It can play a big role in communicating important ideas in your sales or leadership role.
All this week I will be writing about the powerful benefits of mind mapping. If you are new to them, I hope you will give them a try. If you are an experienced Mind Mapper, share your thoughts, experiences and resources as we go along. We can all learn from your experience.