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"The Essential Guide to Getting Started with Mind Mapping Software" - by Chuck Frey

In this blog post we talk to founder of the Mind Mapping Software Blog, Chuck Frey, about his new book: "The Essential Guide to Getting Started with Mind Mapping Software".

Could you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

I am the founder and publisher of the Mind Mapping Software Blog, the web's leading source for news, reviews, advice and best practices for mind mapping and visual thinking. My passion is helping business people understand how they can think, plan, execute and innovate more effectively using visual tools and techniques.

How were you first introduced to mind mapping?

I've been interested in creativity tools and techniques for a very long time. I was aware of hand-drawn mind maps and what they could be used for, but I had never seen mind mapping software. I had an opportunity to see a demonstration of Inspiration in Chicago when it was a fairly new product, and I was immediately hooked. I could see the potential of a visual hierarchy of information that could be easily added to and rearranged. At the time, it seemed to be a very elegant way to capture and organize ideas in a highly-engaging format. At that time, I had no idea of what it would eventually become. Today, I call it "the savvy executive's secret weapon," because it's such a powerful tool for thinking and planning. It can help business people get more work done faster, tackle more complex projects, make better decisions and much, much more!

Could you tell us a bit about your new book, "The Essential Guide to Getting Started with Mind Mapping Software"?

It answers two key questions: How can mind mapping software streamline and enhance your work? And how can you learn enough about it to make an intelligent decision on which program best fits your needs? The Essential Guide to Mind Mapping Software is a free 30-page e-book that is designed to help you understand what mind mapping software is, how it can benefit business people like you and what to consider when selecting a program that will meet your needs.

It contains a concise collection of information and advice on:

  • Selecting the best program for your needs
  • Benefits and advantages of mind mapping software
  • Powerful business applications
  • Must-have features to look for
  • A glossary of mind mapping terms
  • 11 leading programs compared on 80+ features
  • Software developer profiles

I know a lot of people come to Biggerplate.com seeking inspiration. They want to know what's possible - what others are doing with mind mapping software. It contains some wonderful examples. But they need more information and knowledge to take the next step, to identify their needs and then find software solutions that are a good fit for them. That's where my guide comes into the picture. It's a roadmap to help people along that process.

What prompted you to write the book?

For a number of years, I have published a comparison chart that shows the major desktop-based mind mapping software programs, side-by-side. It's part of my commitment to providing my readers with helpful, actionable information and resources they can use to be more productive, creative and effective. This comparison chart has always been very popular with my readers.

But earlier this year, I did some deep thinking about my readers and their information needs. I realized that the comparison chart only served a small percentage of them - those people who had already decided that it was time to invest in mind mapping software, and were just looking for advice on which program to buy.

I also realized there was a much bigger opportunity to help those people who are earlier in the process - who may have heard about mind mapping software, but aren't sure what all the excitement is about. They may think it's just for brainstorming and organizing ideas. In fact, it can do so much more today.

Also, these people may not be sure how they can use mind mapping software to enhance their work and life. They may be afraid that it has a high learning curve - which they don't have time to deal with. Once again, that's not an accurate picture. Today's mind mapping software offers intuitive interfaces that can help even newbies get started creating basic mind maps fairly quickly.

In summary, these people don’t have enough information to make an informed decision about whether or not it's a good match for their needs.

So I decided to assemble an e-book that contains everything a business person would need to know to accurately understand what today's mind mapping software can do for them, organized into a practical, four-step process. It's all presented in a concise format, so readers can get through it quickly and take action based on what they've learned.

Who would benefit most from reading it and what can they expect to learn?

It's designed for anyone who is challenged by having too much to do, multi-faceted projects that are hard to get their heads around, assignments with a high degree of ambiguity (where you need to clearly define what you need to know and where to find it before you can even begin working on the project itself) and other information management challenges.

That means any knowledge worker can benefit from the Essential Guide. Managers and leaders can also learn a lot from it. They tend to be choke points for a lot of information and have the most to gain from becoming more efficient at what they do.

When you're done reading The Essential Guide to Getting Started with Mind Mapping Software, you'll have an accurate understanding of what it is, how you can use it to streamline and improve your work and you'll understand the specialized terminology surrounding this type of visual thinking. You'll also have a very clear picture of the strengths, weaknesses and advantages of each of the 11 major software programs for Windows, Mac and Linux.

In other words, you'll be armed with enough information to decide if mind mapping software is a good fit for you, and which programs you ought to take a closer look at.

Where can we find it!?

The Essential Guide to Getting Started with Mind Mapping Software is a free download from my Mind Mapping Software Blog here: http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/the-essential-guide-to-mind-mapping-software

Would you like to add anything else?

Thanks for the opportunity to share this new resource with the readers of the Biggerplate blog!

A huge thank you to Chuck for talking to us, and for creating and sharing this valuable resource with the mapping community!

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Barney is Community Manager at Biggerplate and shares user stories, mind mapping tips, and other news and updates from our global member community!
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