Posted by J Matthew Buchanan at October 19, 2005 11:30 PM
If you haven’t tried MindManager yet, you’re really missing something. I’ve been hooked on this program for the last couple years. It has changed the way I organize information…and the way I think about information. Everything has a place.
I have found all kinds of uses for the program in my practice — including mapping of competitive intelligence information. But, that’s another post altogether. I thought I’d share a simple tip that you can put in practice on your next business trip — city maps, er, city mind maps, that is.
Here’s the idea. When I travel, I gather all sorts of information that is related to a particular city — not by doing anything special, but just through the regular activities everyone does on a business trip…I meet new people, learn about local culture, local industry, etc. This information comes to me from various sources, including the activities I participate in while I am in the city, discussions I have, news I hear on the hotel television, etc.
Before MindManager, all of that information was lost because I relied solely on my memory to recall it at some point in the future, or my ability to find scraps of paper on which I scribbled cryptic notes.
Now, I create a city mind map to organize all of the information. I use an “anytown USA” template map I created (see the screen shot below) and throw every bit of information I can think of onto the map…usually on the plane trip home. I link relevant Outlook contact records into the map, add tidbits of information about local “legend and lore,” add flight details to and fro, and even add a brief description of each of my visits.
Why on earth would I do this? What value does it have?
It pays off during subsequent trips to the city. Prior to making those trips, usually on the plane ride there, I review the map. Everything comes right back to me. I might remember a local tidbit that helps with small talk during a meeting or be reminded of a favorite restaurant. And, because the Outlook contacts are linked, the map provides a great way to review contact records for people that are connected to that city (much easier than sorting/searching Outlook in an attempt to find those contact records).
And here’s a bonus tip — as soon as I create a new city mind map, I assign an ActiveWords keyword to it using the airport code. The result…no matter where I am headed, all I have to do is enter an airport code, hit the space bar twice, and up pops an organized map of relevant information.
It’s a beautiful thing.