Do you learn best through your eyes, your ears, by touching, smelling, tasting—or all of the above? Shelley-Ann West, a participant in several of my recent career oriented talks for introverts, describes herself as a visual thinker. A user experience design consultant (she makes technology easy to use and understand!), West created a mind map of her takeaways from a Presentation Skills for Introverts class I recently offered at the New York University.
What’s a mind map? It’s a “diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea,” according to Wikipedia. If you’re a visual thinker or someone who learns through multiple modes including visually, you’ll probably enjoy creating and using mind maps. If you didn’t make the class and would like to see a snapshot of what we covered through West’s eyes, CLICK HERE.
How do other people process information? In a study of first-year medical students, only 36 percent preferred a single mode of receiving information. Of those students, 5 percent preferred learning visually (from graphs, charts, and flow diagrams), 5 percent learned auditorily (from speech), 8 percent from printed words (reading and writing), and 18 percent learned kinesthetically (from all their senses: touch, hearing, smell, taste, and sight). In contrast, 64 percent of the students preferred learning through multiple modes.
To learn more about mind maps and visual thinking, check out the following videotaped talk by Sunni Brown, author of the BrightSpot blog, who says, “doodlers retain 30 percent more content than non-doodlers.” She adds that “Seventy-five percent of your sensory neurons are dedicated to processing visual information. This is why visuals are powerful—because we are literally wired to perceive the world largely in a visual way.” CLICK HERE to see and hear more from Brown. Her talk is part of the new TEDx program, which enables local communities to create their own events inspired by the renowned TED series, whose tag line is “ideas worth spreading.”
Back to Presentation Skills for Introverts, if you’ll be in New York and you’d like to attend the next round (and create your own mind map or just take straight notes!), sign up right away. The next workshop, a two-part series, is on Thursday, June 10 and 17, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. It’s a fun and gentle way to take your presentation skills to the next level, especially if you’re an introvert, or someone who thinks before she or he speaks. Doodlers are welcome! CLICK HERE for more information.
Heidi Lujan and Stephen DiCarlo, “First-year Medical Students Prefer Multiple Learning Styles,” Advances in Physiology Education, March 2006, volume 30, pp. 13-16.