In any industry or profession, knowing the tools of the trade has always been an advantage to staying ahead of your competition. Whether it be a professional athlete, building contractor or marketing genius, knowing what information is required to make you a success is crucial to achieving your goals. In training and education our “tools of the trade” cover a wide range of products. These tools include such items as an electronic survey, a Learning Management System, a behavioral test, courseware development tools, Web based training options and much more. While each of these tools serves a specific purpose, the knowledge required to be adept at each is very broad. However, there is one tool that can be utilized in all of these areas and is consistent throughout. That tool is a Mind Map.Mind Mapping has been in existence much longer than online training tools and sophisticated testing programs ever existed. It was originally created back in the 3rd century and has resurrected in the last 40 years. A Mind Map incorporates thinking using both sides of the brain and has the capability to exist in any learning environment using crayons or colored pencils. The secret to unleashing a powerful Mind Map is interesting and fun, and just like any other master craftsmen’s tool does require knowledge and practice.Often referred to as “a visual roadmap” or “the ultimate visual organizational tool”, a Mind Map incorporates the use of color and a free flowing thought process that starts in the center of a page and moves outward in a radial fashion. Mind Maps are not restricted to creative thinkers, however they can create thinking that you never thought existed. The way to incorporate the use of a Mind Map is different for everyone, however once you see the benefits it can bring, you will understand the endless potential it offers. Let me briefly explain some ways to incorporate a mind Map into your learning organization.Creating a Learning Organization – While the criteria for successfully creating and implementing a Learning Organization within a company will vary based on size, the one component that is required and consistent, regardless of size, is a vision. Without a vision in anything in life, success will come hard served or simply not ever arrive. Having a vision to implement a learning culture starts at the top and cascades out to each associate. Companies that lack a vision in this area create a culture that is void of growth and limits potentials within their team.Presentations – If you rely on a PowerPoint as your crutch in your presentation it is likely to let that shine through to your audience. If you are presenting a topic for the first time you know that it can be challenging due to lack of confidence or lack of knowledge or both. Using a Mind Map to prepare for a training deliverable or a customer presentation allows you to remember the key talking points of your presentation and not rely on your crutch to get you through. Incorporating the effective use of imagination and association allows you to be better prepared thus creating a more relaxed and confident delivery.Retention – Whether we are providing a training seminar or attending one, the ability to remember what was covered is extremely important. If you are one who likes to scribe every detail from a seminar or takes as limited information as possible, incorporating a Mind Map as our note making system is a highly effective way to retain the information into our short term and long term memory. If you have ever walked away from a training session and said “I will remember that for sure tomorrow or next week or next month” but never review the information, the likelihood for retention is limited. Using a mind Map as a retention tool is fun since you can view the information at a glance and commit the information to long term storage.Greg Liberto has over 15 years experience in the training and development industry and provides training in the areas of Mind Mapping, social networking, personal branding, time management and more. Greg is the Managing Partner of Web Learners which provides a live online training solution in these areas. If you would like to learn how to implement Mind Mapping into your learning organization.