WHY?
In  many occasions diplomats need to organize or to be organized. Sometimes this activity refers to practical events (Conference, Meeting, Visit. etc.), sometime it refers to concepts or ideas (Reports, Speeches, Analysis, etc.).

In both cases a technique such as Mind mapping can be very helpful in order to structure (either the activities or the thoughts) and to plan.

WHAT IT DOES
A Mind Map is a way of organizing an area of information on a chart on a single page of paper. It contains words and drawings connected so as to show associations between them. Mind Maps use and stimulate the visual abilities of the mind. If represented visually, a complex subject can be understood and remembered much more efficiently. By using visual elements, it becomes logically ordered and spontaneously expressive.
Anything can be mind mapped: a book one is reading, one’s to-do list, a complex set of diplomatic issues, the economy, flower arranging, or one’s experience of a piece of music.
Mind mapping has also been described as “the Swiss army knife of the brain.”

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The concept of modern Mind mapping has been introduced and developed by Tony Buzan who has published extensively on his technique. According to Buzan, a Mind Map is a 'a tool to overcome mental blocks, organize ideas, brainstorm, strengthen one's memory and imagination, and make meetings more productive'. The technique is based on bio-physiological and neurophysiological research concerning the human brain.

WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT
Freemind is a good a good example of Mind mapping software which is available for free. The software can be downloaded at http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Download

Commercial products are Mindmanager and Imindmap

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