Bill Nye said, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t.”
Stay interested and curious about what others are saying or doing so you have the opportunity to learn something new every day.Ask open ended questions because closed questions will only get you an answer that you already thought of.When you ask open questions the other person will carry the conversation into new, maybe unexpected directions.That can be so much more fun.Then you have the unequaled opportunity to learn and share what you learned with someone else.Pass it on.
The advantages of using 3 of your senses instead of only 1
When you take notes as a mind map from something you are reading or listening you will be using visualization and kinesthetic senses as well as hearing (auditory). In addition, you will be engaging your brain, your deep thinking, as you organize the ideas on paper which organizes them in your memory.
Your results, memory, and understanding, will have multiplied.
Have you noticed that your eyes often glaze over and your mind wanders as someone gets up in front of your business meeting with another deck of typical bullet pointed slides? How can you avoid being the next boring speaker?
If you pride yourself on your analytical thinking you have a double whammy because your business associates, your audience, most likely wants you to be short and to the point. Get to the conclusion. Keep the data charts out. Executive summary please!
If you would like to know how to be the most appreciated speaker at your next meeting by using mind mapping instead of graphs and bullet points, let me know. I’ll teach you how. To get started you can watch my TedX talk https://youtu.be/5nTuScU70As
We can find research to support which ever side of an argument you need. Is that hard to believe? Here is an example.
I do seminars on creativity and powerbrainstorming (™) so this research supports its importance: “according to the Adobe® (Nasdaq:ADBE) State of Create global benchmark study. The research shows 8 in 10 people feel that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth and nearly two-thirds of respondents feel creativity is valuable to society, yet a striking minority – only 1 in 4 people – believe they are living up to their own creative potential.”
80% say creativity is most important.
But another study by IBM of 1700 CEOs by AMA of 50,000 leaders proved’ 80% say the ability to inspire (which I also teach and do seminars about) is the most important trait for leaders and teams.
So here is a take-away, both are important and you will get different statistics depending on how you ask the questions.
When an employee, family member, or friend brings you problem they are facing, how can you tell if they want solutions from you or for you to just listen?
Also if they are looking for a solution, ask first what they have tried or thought they could try. Get them thinking first.
Then if it does come down to offering your ideas, offer options, plural, so they can choose, and make it clear that these are ideas that if they choose something different you won’t be hurt. The choice is still their own.
Questions are a sign of intelligence, of interest, of curiosity, of caring about the other person and the topic, and of being a critical thinker. Can you think of anything else you can say that is this powerful?
Questions, to be able to drink in that power, must be paired with power listening.
Once you ask that question, it is essential that you become silent, wait for and pay attention to the answer.
Some people try to answer their own questions. Some think that the other person pausing to think before answering means they don’t know what to answer.
Just like asking the question is a sign of interest in the other person, waiting and paying attention to the answer is a sign of respect.
Making decisions with too much data is just as difficult and risky as making a decision with too little data.
There are ways to be logical and move forward in either case.
With too little data, you may want to step back and list or mind map the missing pieces. Which of them are critical, which, if known, would lead to very different answers, which can be discovered before moving on, and which would have little impact and are not worth pursuing. Then you can seek out or make estimates on the missing data noting, as you move forward, what needs a comment or footnote.
With too much data, again you may want to organize what you have into categories, perhaps with sticky notes you can cluster on a board or on a mind map. It’s important to be able to see the big picture all at one time. Then you can highlight, circle or bring to the forefront, the groups that will impact results the most. The others can go on an imaginary parking lot or into the background so you can focus on the most important without distractions.
In neither case, too much or too little data, do you want to feel so stuck that nothing happens. Doing nothing is a decision, too, but one that happens to you instead of by you.
Even if your company is working hard on inclusiveness and diversity, it is important to pay attention to how you get everyone equal ‘floor time’ in the meeting. How do you do that?
One way is to use silent and anonymous idea generation. Hand out a pile of sticky note paper or 3×5 cards. Challenge everyone to come up with a minimum of 5 ways to solve a problem you’ve been working on or a new way to market a declining product. No talking and no sharing during this initial thinking and writing time.
Then all ideas get put up equally on a flip chart or white board. Organize by categories or similarity.
All ideas are valuable, some will work on their own. Most will work better in combination with others on the board. Some can be expanded by discussion.
You may decide to organize the ideas by how long they would take to do a trial or to implement in general, or by cost, effort, or ROI. You may even decide to try out the most outrageous first because standing out is better than blending in and being boring.
Why do some people find ‘simple’ mathematics problems so impossible. I used common fractions for my research but it wouldn’t matter which specific concept I had chosen.
The answer I discovered and proved was that children and adults alike, who had a mental model of the concept, could solve the math problems. Those who didn’t were using rote rules that had no meaning, no models in their mind, so they made mistakes or gave up. They often could follow the rules successfully as long as the next problem looked exactly like the last one. If presented a problem that looked different, they couldn’t picture how to modify the rules, they couldn’t see where or how it matched up to the last one or something they had seen before.
Mental models are built by drawing, building with objects, and imagining.
One type of mental model that can help with thinking clearly and making strong decisions is the mind map. It helps you brainstorm lots of options and then it organizes those options for consideration.
The word brainstorming has gotten a bad rap from some who write on the www. The problem they seem to have is that their experiences with the subject have been the antithesis of purposeful brainstorming.
So I propose to use ‘idea generation’ instead of brainstorming. That is the purpose of most brainstorming sessions any way.
A good idea generation session has a clear goal but also leaves lots of room for playing around with ideas and exploring several different avenues that turn up.
A good idea generation session also will produce some ideas and directions that seem immediately applicable while others should be put in the parking lot to be reintroduced and explored at a next meeting.