This scenario is just all too familiar for a lot of people: you attend a brainstorming session or a meeting in the office, armed with your trusty notebook and pen, or your laptop, or you tablet, confident that your mad skills in note taking will be of great use for reviewing the details of the agenda later and giving your valuable inputs for your next project. But after a an hour or so (sometimes even shorter than that), you find yourself scribbling like mad, trying to get as many words and sentences and paragraphs into your notes as possible, and you look into them after a while and, to your horror, realise that they make very little sense, if any at all, just pages and pages of random information that will take you hours and hours to decipher and collate into a digestible version of the hodge podge that you made. If you want to break away from this habit, you can effectively change your note taking and try using mind maps to record data. Here are some mind mapping tips that you can follow to maximise your time and efforts during meetings or brainstorming sessions.
Find out your central idea beforehand. As with most meetings in the office, the agenda or main topic will most likely be announced prior to its schedule. Because mind maps work by starting out with a central idea, branching out to subtopics and information that eventually lead to the smallest of details, you can immediately begin organising possible subcategories by mapping out which parts of the new marketing plan, client project, or brand product that you will be working on.
If your main order of business is the timetable for your team’s tasks, mind maps can be amazingly helpful in making sure that everyone’s responsibilities are all clearly delegated and set, and you can add the deadlines, and some important notes on what you or your colleagues will have to undertake to complete your assignments. Try making branches with your members’ names as the subtopics, and branch it out to their specific workload, timeline, and expected date of accomplishment. This is leaps and bounds better than having to enumerate each task, write names beside them, and end up missing one person, or an entire group of tasks because it got lost in the depths of all your notes.
Do not limit yourself to just words. Corporate set ups may require something a little more formal than a doodle of light bulbs and stars and hearts when you submit your inputs after the meeting, but using images and drawings of your choosing will actually help you recall more details and information, compared to when you attempt to write everything down with words—and failing. This is because mind maps take advantage of our brains’ cortical skills: processing photos, colours, lines, curves, shapes, and so on. There is better recall and greater memorisation with mind maps than any other productivity tool of its kind, and it’s so simple to use, you can do it while listening in and discussing important matters in your meeting.
Add the details as you go. In meetings, it’s not just a presentation of information made by just one person and that’s it. Several team members will always share their comments, suggestions, and points of view, and it’s important to capture those crucial data. After all, your next biggest campaign slogan, or the best option for your new product’s name might be in one of your colleagues’ inputs.
It’s easy to take those down with mind mapping. As you go along the meeting, branch out with the information you get from your work mates until you reach the end of the session. Don’t be afraid of adding as many branches and subtopics as you need—mind maps are designed to be comprehensive and understandable, even the most intricate ones. You’ll surprise yourself at how much details you retain once you utilise this productivity tool for your brainstorming.
The most basic and best mind mapping tip: be creative. Never believe the notion that not everyone can be creative. As long as you use your imagination, you can come up with a unique and efficient mind map that will be just as productive and effective. Whether you use post it notes, photos, your own drawings, or your favourite squiggly lines, your mind map will always maximise your note taking and data capturing capabilities.