Your self-directed employment assistant
This past year, I have witnessed an increase in professionals seeking help for writing support. Many businesses have, or are making budget cuts and reducing or removing access to assistants who were essential in helping to edit written-work or communications to clients and customers. If you experience challenges organizing your thoughts in writing or effectively communicating your thoughts, you will want to read this blog article and future posts in this series.
The past month, I wrote about grammar and spell checkers. This month I will write about mind-mapping as a strategy and I will provide common software resources used to implement it.
Many people struggle with getting his or her thoughts organized to present for presentations or in writing. Mind-mapping as a concept can help you create templates for writing emails, letters, and documents. It can help you decide a plan of action for your daily tasks or for creating new project proposals and presentations. It can also be used as an effective strategy for communicating with others, so they may better understand what is being presented.
Think of mind-mapping as creating a “map” of information.
Main Topic: Email Request for Scheduling Meeting
Category Concept: Date Sent
Category Concept: Salutation
Category Concept: Request for scheduling meeting
Sub Category Concept: Reason for meeting
Sub Category Concept: Who is invited
Sub Category Concept: Date/time/location
Sub Category Concept: Outcomes
Category Concept: R.S.V.P. info
Your map can look like a traditional linear outline like the example above. It can also be more creative and graphic. Graphic style mind-mapping can be helpful to visualize the “big picture” or visualize concepts within a “system.” When using graphic mind-mapping it is helpful to consider placement. Does it make more sense to use a timeline style map, or categorize information going around the main topic in a clockwise manner. Does the information being presented need to be considered in a specific order? If yes, make certain it is represented in the correct order. An example to visualize is the steps involved in a task. Think of a traditional circular wall clock. In the center, it has the task “how to make photo copies” and where each of the numbers representing the hours is, there are the ordered steps for performing the task of using the copy machine to print copies.
If you are using this strategy to convey information to others, and you desire for them to increase their understanding of it, or you are using it to enhance your memorization of the information, then you want to consider how far apart you place information. Additionally, you want to consider if you need to add visuals to the text. Condense your text when possible to only have the least amount of words that correctly express the idea presented. Too much text, or text that is too close together and cluttered may distract the reader and decrease memorization. The addition of a visual “graphic” that represents the concept information presented can be very helpful with comprehension and with memorization.
There are many programs available for PC and Mac computers, web and cloud-based options, and mobile options (Android/iOS). Many now offer collaboration features to allow users to do group projects. You will want to decide if it is helpful to allow a colleague and/or boss “share” in your mind-mapping project by offering the ability to “view only” or to “view and edit.” Additionally, some programs offer more features than others. Some allow you to easily insert graphics, sound files, and offer various font/color options. Some allow you to create your map and then write detailed information, and transfer written information to various word processors. This can be an extremely helpful option when using mind-mapping for creating a written document like a letter, manual, or proposal.
Here is a list of common programs for you to consider:
Writing is an essential skill for most jobs and life. Writing can be in the form of paper or electronic. How one organizes his or her thoughts on paper as an effective communicator is important. Mind-mapping can be an essential strategy to help create well-written documents, as well as a helpful tool to organize thoughts when creating projects and trying to memorize information.