In our busy working lives it’s not always easy to organise our thoughts and ideas or to clearly demonstrate our creative plans.
That’s where mind mapping comes in.
If you’re an old hand at producing mind maps then you’ll be well aware of their importance and their benefits to your everyday lives, but if you have never produced a mind map before then let us explain what they are, how they work and how they can allow you to drive your career or your business forward.
What is mind mapping?
Put simply, mind mapping is a visual information tool which allows us to brainstorm, structure and memorise lots of information in an organised and demonstrable manner.
It is a tool used by academics, students and many other professionals across all areas of industry to display vast amounts of information in a structured manner.
Gone are the days when you just make lots of different notes in your book and hope you can understand them all afterwards. Using the mind mapping technique gives you the opportunity to not only write out your thoughts and ideas, but also refer back to them at any time in the future without worrying you won’t understand what was discussed.
What are the benefits of mind mapping?
There are a wide range of benefits of mind mapping, including:
* Helps you structure information into bite sized and easy to remember chunks.
* Helps improve your memory and understanding of information
* Helps you cope with large amounts of information which might otherwise be overwhelming
* Helps you to understand the bigger picture of the specific topic area
* Helps you to deep dive into areas of discussion and get under the skin of what it really means
* Helps your imagination run wild and allows your creative juices to flow, knowing that everything is being documented on the map
* Helps you to keep your focus and concentration while working on a potentially difficult or complicated project
* Helps bring out more creative ideas than may otherwise have been the case
* Helps to make sense of the subject area which can improve chances of you achieving your targets or goals
* It can make learning fun!
How do I draw a mind map?
The actual drawing of a mind map is fairly straightforward, once you have established your subject area. Here are a number of simple guidelines to get you underway:
* At the centre of your large sheet of paper you should draw a memorable and colourful image which represents the topic you are going to be mapping.
* Draw a number of branches moving outwards from the central image. These should be thick branches (maybe using different colours for each).
* Along each of these branches you should write the key words which highlight or explain the topic you are mapping.
* From the main branches, you should then draw additional branches – and then write sub-topic headlines of your main subject topic.
* Keep using this methodology, adding more branches and more sub-topics or keywords as required.
Of course, it could be the case that a period of time goes by before you refer back to your mind mapping exercise, and so you are going to want to make sure you have drawn it in such a manner that ensures the map is clear to understand for the long-term.
You will want to create your own rules to determine how you weight the importance of specific sections, but here are some suggested pointers to help you along:
* Use capital letters on keywords when you want to emphasise their importance
* There will be a lot of words on this map so you will want to keep the spacings between each topic consistent
* You can also use different fonts or different colouring of words to separate your topic ideas
* Use lots of interesting and stimulating images throughout, both to break up the text and to help retain focus
* Vary the thickness of the branches depending on their relative importance
How can mind mapping improve work productivity?
There are lots of ways in which you can apply the concept of mind maps to your day to day working life:
* To organise and manage projects or meetings
* Business planning
* Research and Development
* Planning Sales or Marketing strategies
* Preparing for interviews or networking events
Information management is crucial to business success, hence the rise in popularity of drawing mind maps.
Of course, in this technological age, there are lots of software solutions online which can help you in the creation of your mind map, so if you prefer an online template rather than traditional paper and pens, then that option is also available.
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