‘It looked awkward and it was difficult to see how this would save me time, and give me the focus and clarity I needed to run my business properly. But once I tried it, I found it was very easy and after the first few times, I now find that I mind map everything in my life,’ explains Cross.
In preparation for presentations, Cross originally used to write reams and reams of notes and lists that for the most part ended up in a pile on his desk. Mind mapping has not only helped to focus his ideas and manage his time better, but it has also been a useful technique for remembering facts and statistics.
‘It helped me to clarify my ideas and get my message across more coherently. Having a plan and a structure meant I didn’t mumble anymore. Consequently, I got three referrals when I did a presentation using mind mapping and two of them led to business. I used to put in too much detail to start with and only now have I realised that getting your message across lies in finding the key word,’ acknowledges Cross.
One of the main challenges that he faced was using colours and symbols. ‘I don’t normally tend to work with a set of colouring pens,’ he laughs.
Shilpa Panchmatia, founder of consultancy Human Xpression, which offers mind mapping courses, believes that use of colour can add a new dimension to the way you think.
‘Don’t be afraid to redraw your mind map several times. What we may think are “stupid” thoughts often produce some of the most insightful, original and creative ideas. The more you add to your mind map, the more sense things that seemed stupid will make.’