Mind mapping is an awesome way to take notes at a conference, during a class or to summarize the key points of any speaker. I suspect that many people don’t try it, however, because they’re afraid they won’t be able to do it successfully in an actual production situation.
They may doubt their ability to listen to the speaker and map at the same time. If they miss something, they may become hopelessly lost. So they never get around to trying it.
So how do you get good at taking notes using mind maps? Illumine Training recently posted a series of tips to help you get up to speed with this technique that I think are positively brilliant:
- Start with a low risk activity such as a TV show or the news.
- Create a mind map from your linear notes, highlighting the key words for your main branches.
- Work with a “buddy.” One makes a mind map, the other makes linear notes. Compare after the lecture or meeting.
- As a back up use a small voice recorder to record the talk. If you feel you are getting “behind”, “lost” or “in a mess”, you can re-visit the recording to check it and add to your mind map later.
These are excellent tips! I especially like the idea of practicing this technique in a non-production setting, where there is nothing “at risk.” It’s a great opportunity to refine your visual note taking technique and to build your confidence. Then, when you attend a meeting where there is more at stake, you’ll be prepared to produce a kick-ass mind map!
I also love the digital tape recorder idea. It helps to eliminate the fear that you may miss something or get behind what the speaker is saying. If you know you have a backup, you can simply focus on capturing the presenter’s key points, confident in the knowledge that you can listen to the audio recording later to pick up anything you may have missed.
For more tips on taking meeting notes in a mind map, you may also want to check out this blog post, which summarizes some tips on this subject that I received from readers of this blog: 6 awesome strategies for taking meeting notes with mind maps.