Now I know what you might be thinking.
What have mind maps got to do with speed reading?
Well, it’s quite simple. As we have seen, our brain works best when it sees visual images and linked associations as this enables it to absorb much more information than from a page of text. A mind map is exactly this- a visual image with connected pieces of information- so this helps our brains to remember, retain, and recall these facts much faster and more effectively.
Speed reading techniques also aim to activate the visual sectors of our brain to help us understand more information, so they can work in tandem with mind maps.
The key to using mind maps is to not fill them with text. You need to start by asking yourself what are the few key points that you need to know. These will be your first main branches that come out of the center. From there, the rest of the information you need to know will be linked to these points and to each other, which should help you to remember everything.
Of course, it might be useful to put some images in the mind map too! You don’t need to rely on text because, as we already know, vivid images are much easier to remember.
It may seem off-topic to be discussing mind maps but using them alongside your speed reading will actually help you to not only understand more but also to read quicker.
When you’re speed reading, you are always looking to identify the key pieces of information that are crucial to your understanding. So, the practice you have of picking out these details for mind maps and making connections between complex pieces of information, will help you to more quickly identify important ideas, process them, and understand what is going on. When you speed read you don’t want to waste time trying to get your head around what the text is saying, so building a mind map in your head to make these connections will help you to read even faster!
Creating mental mind maps as you speed-read will help you to make connections and understand the overall picture that the text is explaining. The better you get at understanding and absorbing lots of information in a short space of time, the faster you will be able to read. If you try to speed read without this preparation and ability to process and connect information, you will struggle to understand what you’re reading so will undoubtedly have to reread everything again!
As we can see, mind maps and speed reading use a lot of similar techniques so improving your skills in both of them will be mutually beneficial. Why not try reading a chapter in a book and drawing a mind map to help you get into the habit of picking out key details? You will be thanking me later when you find it easier to increase your reading speed without losing any understanding of the text!
Next lesson the excitement goes up another level as we look at what rapid pre-reading and skimming are, and how they can help you to ‘read’ a book in a matter of minutes!