Mind Mapping

Posted on May 15 2009

Mind Mapping is a Decision Making Tools that is very often used when brainstorm or trying to generate ideas. Within the Decision Making Process– it is especially valuable in generating alternatives. Mind It is also an important skill to have for the purpose of taking better notes. The mind remembers structures and pictures much better than it does sentences, words and bullet points.

Think of Mind Mapping as pictorial list making. You are essentially expanding high level bullet points into finer grains of detail. Using them allows you to show the structure of a subject and the linkages between the details.

It also allows you to keep track of the raw data or facts about the subject. They are easy to remember, and make for decision analysis and review.

You will find an audience that needs to hear about your concepts and alternatives very alert and interested in what you can draw for them, or the picture that you present.

The pictures that you draw in your Mind Maps now bring your alternatives into a two-dimensional format. A good map shows the “shape” of the subject, and draws attention appropriately to the level of importance in which you have drawn the branches.

These diagrams are more compact than traditional note taking, and make effective use of doodle time. The creative nature in which the maps are drawn can allow the free spirit in each of us to explore all we can conjure up in a very short period of time.

Mind Mapping can be done as a group, or as a means of individual brainstorm .

One of the biggest advantages is that you may make associations very easily, as your mind wanders as you draw each branch. It allows you to conveniently add more information as you think of it – without starting over.

They can be used to consolidate a group meeting, seminar or brainstorm session results. They can also be used to summarize a great deal of information in a manner which is interesting to the audience.

It helps to show the entire structure of the subject, which requiring the presenter to “drone on” about mundane details – they are there if the reader cares to follow every branch. The Mind can also use this type of tool to think through a very complex problem and allow a person to “free associate” by drilling down and adding more branches as they pop up into the mind.

They are incredibly effective for people who have spatial memories – remembering the shape and order of the branches are usually enough to allow you to recall the small branches and leaves on the tree.

The Method

Get a large piece of poster paper, a sheet of 8 ½” by 11” paper, or try Microsoft’s Visio tool for a fun and dynamic method of getting your ideas out on something you can edit and reuse.

Step 1: Title

Write down the title of the subject in the center of the page – circle it.

Step 2: Branch Out

Draw curved lines or branches out to major subject sub-headings. If you wish – put it in words and later come back with a picture. If the picture is easy and foremost in your mind – draw it but keep in mind that we want this to be a speedy process.

Step 3: Free Associate

If there is another level of information to be drawn from one of the sub-headings, extend another line. Free-associate – write one or two word headings for each thought relating to the branch. Allow the ideas and alternatives to expand outward into branches and sub-branches. Put down all ideas without judgment or evaluation.

Step 4: Speed

Quickly jot down all of the ideas that you can. You might use main words, symbols and images in your Mind Maps as mind-joggers to help you record ideas as quickly as possible. You have little time to allow your mind work at its optimum so let it out.

Step 5: Be Creative

Use colored pens, drawings, and humor to make Mind Mapping an enjoyable, creative and a lot of fun. Imagine the speech you have been dreading to write – if you break it down into a few key sections or points using this method, the subject will be written for you quickly!

Step 6: No Restrictions

Nothing is silly or should take a lot of time. Being a Picasso when the Mind Mapping Process is in full motion will only hinder you. Deciding that drawing a little pig with a dollar sign on it will cause you to recall the tight budget situation for this particular business decisions isn’t stupid – it’s part of the facts!

Step 7: If you stall…

Keep the creative juices flowing – if you are slowing down in your drawing or idea generating, put in some blank branch lines – your brain will find a way to fill them. Maybe a change of pen color or drawing a few diagrams beside the words you have written will rejuvenate you. Standing while drawing helps too!

Step 8: Reorganize – It’s Allowed!

It’s allowed! Sometimes you see how the linkages work right away, and sometimes you need to stand back. Perhaps some of the branches are repetitive, and sometimes they are better placed at a different point in the diagram. You can fill some things in, draw in some arrows, or move them around (if you are using software to help.) Organization can always come later; your first job is to get the ideas out of your head and onto the paper.

In Summary

Your brainstorm or organizing sessions will benefit greatly from trying, learning and perfecting your skill in using this Mind Mapping Tool . It’s great for reports, memos, letters, speeches, presentations, meetings, planning and especially for alternatives or summarizing data around your decision making activities.

Copyright © Firefli Media