A graphical way to represent ideas and concepts is called a mind map. It is a visual thinking tool that aids in structuring information, helping you to analyse, comprehend, synthesize, recall and generate new ideas.
Just as in every great idea, its power lies in its simplicity.
In a mind map, information is structured in a way that resembles much more closely how your brain works. Since it is an activity that is both analytical and artistic, it engages your brain in a richer way, helping in all its cognitive functions. And, best of all, it is fun!
So, how does a mind map look like? Better than explaining is showing you an example.
This is a mind map. It presents, in a visual way, the core elements and techniques on how to draw mind maps.
Benefits and Uses
I already gave away the benefits of mind mapping and why mind maps work. Basically, mind mapping avoids dull, linear thinking, jogging your creativity and making note taking fun again.
But what can we use mind maps for?
- Note taking
- Brainstorming (individually or in groups)
- Studying and memorization
- Researching and consolidating information from multiple sources
- Presenting information
- Gaining insight into complex subjects
- Jogging your creativity
It is hard to make justice to the number of uses mind maps can have – the truth is that they can help clarify your thinking in pretty much anything, in many different contexts: personal, family, educational or business. Planning your day or planning your life, summarizing a book, launching a project, planning and creating presentations, writing blog posts -well, you get the idea – anything, really.
How to Draw a Mind Map
Drawing a mind map is as simple as a-b-c:
- In the middle of a blank page,
- writing or drawing the idea you intend to develop.
- I would suggest that you use the page in landscape orientation.
- The related subtopics around this central topic,
- connecting each of them to the centre with a line.
- The same process for the subtopics, generating lower-level subtopics as you see fit,
- connecting each of those to the corresponding subtopic.
Some more recommendations:
- Use colours, drawings and symbols copiously.
- Be as visual as you can, and your brain will thank you.
- Many people who don’t even try, just because they’re “not artists”. Don’t let that keep you from trying it out!
- Keep the topics labels as short as possible,
- keeping them to a single word – or, better yet, to only a picture.
- Especially in your first mind maps, the temptation to write a complete phrase is enormous,
- but always look for opportunities to shorten it to a single word or figure – your mind map will be much more effective that way.
- Vary text size, colour and alignment.
- Vary the thickness and length of the lines.
- Provide as many visual cues as you can to emphasize important points.
- Every little bit helps to engage your brain.
Mind mapping is a fascinating and rich topic. Try it, it will work wonders.