These are general guidelines to be adapted to specific circumstances. For example, when doing presentations, I'll sometimes do step 3 "on the fly", trusting my subconscious to pull the material off the Mind Map spontaneously.
Idea collection sheets serve as a bridge across the space and time that separate the great ideas you are capable of coming up with on any specific topic. The steps are:
The idea collection phase differs from the Mind Mapping phase in that some of the aspects of Mind Mapping disrupt the rapid flow of ideas during this phase's mental burst. For example, in the idea collection phase:
After completing the initial mental burst, take a short break to incubate related ideas. The 5-10 Minute Break Ideas section later in this chapter offers some ideas. After your break, take 30-40 minutes to pull related ideas from various reference materials. Follow this session with another short break or just move on to another project. Some topics require multiple passes.
If possible, place the idea collection sheet in a place where it will be handy over the next day or two. When related ideas come to you, write them on this sheet, or jot them in your calendar and transfer them to the idea collection sheet when convenient. I usually carry a portfolio around which contains a few sheets of unlined paper for this purpose. Idea collection sheets in progress are often stored here or in the adjacent pocket. Carrying my idea collection sheets around with me allows me to round them out from the perspective of a variety of mental states.
When writing a paper or a speech, the most difficult decision is often which topic to address. Doing an idea collection sheet is an excellent way to brainstorm possible topics for future projects.
Using idea collection sheets as a precursor to Mind Mapping was inspired in part by material in Charles Thompson's book, What a Great Idea. Thompson suggests using various symbols such as circles, squares and triangles to help categorize the points on the idea collection sheet before organizing them into a map. For example, in reviewing an idea collection sheet, you might notice that there are four main themes to the ideas. You could place a circle around all ideas related to theme one, a triangle for ideas related to theme two, etc. These symbols make it apparent how many ideas relate to each theme, which helps you decide how to organize them in the Mind Map.
Now that you've gathered your thoughts, you are ready to organize them into a structure based on how they relate to each other. This leads us to Mind Maps.
"Surveys of creative thinking have emphasized the importance of encouraging an initial right brain visualization, an intuitive solution, which can subsequently be evaluated logically by left brain processes." Colin Rose
An abbreviated list of the rules for converting ideas into a Mind Map are as follows (refer to The Mind Map Book, by Tony Buzan, for a complete listing and explaination of the rules):
At this point, you know what you want to communicate--the substance. You still have to figure out the how--the sequence. Whether you are writing a paper or delivering a speech, these are linear forms of communication where the material must be presented one word at a time.
In the case of a speech, you have three possibilities: writing it out word for word (extreme left-brain approach), winging it from your Mind Map (extreme right-brain approach), or something in-between. Sometimes I write out the speech based on my Mind Map simply as a mental exercise, then use new distinctions gained from this writing to evolve a new more sequential Mind Map organized something like the following:
"Linear" Mind Map for speech delivery.
The more right brain deliveries you rehearse from such a linear Mind Map, the better your chances of "winging it" successfully in front of an audience.
The following sections on reading and memory will discuss how these Mind Mapping concepts can be applied to these mental processes.
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Mind Mapping and Mind Map are registered trademarks of the Buzan Organisation.
Copyright © 1996 by Patrick T. Magee