Two of the main reasons I use mind maps are:
1. To clarify my thinking
2. To explore my creativity
Both of these areas also include the generation and sharing of ideas. Mind maps help me to unearth solutions by creating links and associations. One of the recommended elements of mindmapping; using single keywords helps enormously in seeking answers. Often a single word can offer a shortcut to answer.
Instinctively before discovering mind maps I used to read large amounts of text or books and simplify, often dramatically, right down to a single word to aid comprehension and recall. I would (and still do) read a chunk of text and ask myself questions such as:
- What is the message here?
- What is the answer being provided here?
- If I had to summarise in one word; what is being said?
Literally, what I would do is dilute to meaning, by simplifying the essence of concepts. (Extracting “keywords”) The technique helps enormously when converting text to mind map and enables you to soak up books – you can quickly assess and explore content to see if you wish to read in more depth. Using techniques such as 5W1H and mindmapping you can begin to summarise what you are reading or learning.
Dilute to meaning points you in the direction of understanding and uncovering answers. Speed reading works well for others. Whenever I tried it I felt I was missing content. After a re-read I discovered I hadn’t really missed much at all; in fact I had gathered the essence, yet I still found it tricky. I prefer to use what I call Space Reading.
Space Reading encompasses dilute to meaning; I use it to ponder chunks of text and I find that “keywords” tend to attract my attention even when reading text as a whole rather than word by word. It requires an element of self-trust; feeling that if you are meant to read it you’ll see it.
Dilute to meaning is also about simplification; taming information and grasping concepts. The danger is of course, that you can misinterpret or incorrectly “label” during the simplification, so you do need to practice and experiment with non-important matters. Try books, magazines and newspapers. Read a section of text and try to summarise in one word; often quite a challenge!
Dilute to meaning is pretty much scan reading yet plucking out relevant words to grasp an overview and then, better still, incorporate the keywords into a mind map.
Try dilute to meaning – see if you find it useful. You may instinctively do it already? If so, do you find it useful? What are your experiences?