Mind Mapping Graphic Way to Plot Thoughts On a Theme to Better Understand
Mind Mapping: A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.
Mind maps have an organizational structure that radiates from the center and use lines, symbols, words, color and images according to simple, brain-friendly concepts. Along list of monotonous information can be converted into a memorable and highly organized mind map that works in line with your brain’s natural way of doing things.
The process is time-proven—mind mapping (or similar concepts) have been used for centuries in learning, brainstorming, memory, visual thinking, and problem solving by educators, engineers, psychologists, and others. Some of the earliest examples of mind maps were developed by Porphyry of Tyros, a noted thinker of the 3rd century, as he graphically visualized the concept categories of Aristotle.
How to Do Mind Mapping
Start the mind map in the middle of a landscape (sideways) sheet if you are doing it on your own, or use a flip chart or white board if you are doing it in a group. Many say that the main idea is best presented as an image, but I’m lousy at drawing!
Do use colors, so that you can see groups of things and ideas easily. Connect the main branches to the center and try to keep things in groups by having branches on branches for subsidiary ideas. Use curves if you can, since the ideas are not likely to be linear and straight lines are boring to the brain. Use as few words as you can and images really are best so your thinking is not too constricted. On the other hand, if your thinking is very scrappy and disjointed, you can use the Affinity Diagram to help you sort the wheat from the chaff.
A Mind Mapping Example
Here is a mind map that I drew about entrepreneurship workshops for a university (using MindNode Lite—a free tool for Mac)—developed by an Austrian company called IdeasOnCanvas.
Though I personally use MindNode, but there are many you can try online, both free and paid. I have also used XMind and other software. Tony Buzan was the inventor of Mind Mapping and here is a gallery of mind maps that might inspire you.