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Mind mapping is a popular technique for visually outlining information. These diagrams can be simple or elaborate, and you can use software or invent your own designs. Either way, they help you to turn your great ideas into concrete actions.
Mind mapping sparks creative thinking. Forget about editing for a while and focus on getting all your thoughts down on paper. This can be an individual or group activity. Communicating information visually of ten makes it easier for other team members to understand the message and strengthens group memory.
Most people get introduced to mapping at the office. It’s good for many tasks, from meetings to project management. You can also extend this visualizing to other areas of your life. When you’re faced with a tough dilemma, sketch out all the pros and cons and the perspectives of different players.
This exercise can also help you to record your thoughts. Some of your most valuable ideas are likely to pop into your head when you least expect them, and there are free apps available that will let you create maps on your phone. Mind mapping is a simple way to deal with a lot of facts in a short time and spot the connections between them.
Here are some tips on how to get started with mind mapping.
Create a central topic
Try to state your main subject in three words or less. Make it the central image of your diagram.
List all the relevant subtopics
Brainstorm about everything related to your main idea. You’ll be adding subtopics as branches using additional lines and shapes branching out from the center.
Organize your topics by categories and relationships
Now you can start thinking about groupings and the way things relate to each other. This will suggest how to position and connect different elements.
Link to supporting information
To keep your map easy to read, you may want to create links to external resources. For example, an organizational chart could reference staff biographies or a document for a meeting could link to minutes from previous sessions.
Get ready for action. Generate challenging assignments. For team activities, give each participant specific responsibilities and a due date.
Review and evaluate
Look for ways to make improvements as you use your mind maps. You may want to make your labels more concise or vary your color schemes.
Even though this is a visual exercise, words play a valuable role. Add a legend to explain frequently used symbols. Use call outs for elements that require further notes.
Over time, you may find that you use similar formats over and over. Save your favorite templates to make the process even faster in the future.