Personal Maps

Personal Map

How does it make you feel when someone remembers personal facts you once told them, e.g. “How is your son Mateo, did he like the Lego Avengers you gave him for his birthday?”. I feel appreciated, that someone has an interest in me and even remembers details I told them. Even though this person subsequently asks me for a favour.

Today I engage in communication with many people, and it can be difficult to remember every little detail. A way to deal with this amount information is to build mind maps about personal facts to remember details quickly. A mind-map is a visual and structured representation of information. The Management 3.0 book calls this mind map a Personal Map.

A hand-written mind-map is a good exercise to remember and structure information. It makes it easier to recall information even without the mind-map. Also, you can improve your sketching skills. However, sometimes I use an application to create mind-maps, such as XMind for Mac, as it is much easier to make changes, restructure and reformat the map. For every organisation, I use one Collection of Maps, for each person a sheet.

I use a stop-symbol to mark which topics to avoid. I also have a branch where I note what I like about the person. This helps to get a positive attitude when I have to deal with a person.

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Nevertheless, I rarely draw a personal map or even take notes during a private conversation. The conversation then seems much like an interrogation. Instead, I write down particular facts or draw a map after a conversation. I dedicated a notebook solely for Personal Maps. It is easy for me to see what I know about the person, what topics to avoid, what is missing or where I can follow-up.

Before a meeting, I have a quick look at the map. Even if this might sound superficial at first, people will feel appreciated. Remembering personal facts is a much better opener in a conversation than talking about the weather. Additionally, you learn about the other person, understand their point of view and know what is important to them. Moreover, you might also learn something new.

Further Readings

 

 

(Title Image by Rizky Djati Munggaran, Creative Commons 3.0)

Chris

Agile Practitioner, Trainer, Coach at vividbreeze consulting
Since the late 1990s Chris has been working in different projects for major national and international corporations, small businesses and start-ups, advising companies in areas from software architecture to project management. Chris has been part, led or coached project teams of different sizes. His field of expertise encompasses agile project management, business and requirements analysis as well as technical analysis, design and implementation.
Chris