mind mapping: A graphical way to represent ideas and concepts. It is a visual thinking tool that helps structuring information, helping you to better analyze, comprehend, synthesize, recall and generate new ideas.
Just as in every great idea, its power lies in its simplicity.
One of the least utilized resources in the workplace is the creativity of the human brain. Unfortunately people often do not know how to incorporate ideas into practical, organized and workable solutions. Mind mapping may just be the answer that you have been looking for. It will take all those messy concepts, ideas and phrases, and creates a visual representation of a solution, concept or issue. Utilizing mind mapping will help you improve your personal presence, increase personal effectiveness and increase productivity.
Mind mapping software and paper with colored marker both work well. Whichever method you choose, the main thing is to get started! If you are working with a group, posting the mind map projected on the wall or a white board manipulating nebulous ideas to workable, logical categories becomes a focused and highly interactive group effort.
This is an amazingly simple process. Here are the main steps:
- Draw a reasonably sized (colored) memorable central image that represents the topic you are going to be mapping.
- Draw at least four thick organic looking branches radiating outwards from the central image. Make sure to use a different color to represent each branch.
- Write key-topic words along these branches that represent the central image and the topic you are mapping.
- Draw additional branches that extend from your main branches. The words on these branches are sub-topics of the words you wrote on your main branches.
- Keep expanding the mind map with additional sub sub-topics/keywords and branches.
- Once you have the finalized map it is easy to convert all the information to a strategic plan, report, chart or actionable timeline. It is also very simple to attach this data to an email or post it online. This will immediately allow all members of the team, organization or business to have instant access to a very professional looking compilation of the information.
- Facilitators, consultants and trainers can use the technique to evaluate an understanding of a concept, test current knowledge, brainstorm how to handle a challenging event, issue or problem. Although often used for strategic planning mind mapping is also a highly effective way to provide a visual and interactive representation of information.
Simplify Your Life!
If you aren’t convinced of the benefits offered by mind mappng, here are some more reasons:
- The ability to capture simple to complex ideas and solutions and retain the entire message
- Enhanced ability for the facilitator to focus on the participants and the discussion as opposed to managing a complicated and often confusing pen and paper mind map
- Easy and streamlined options for making changes, adding, deleting and editing information
- Full compatibility to export and import other data and information to the finished product
- The ability to turn the mind map into a polished, professional report using a pre-set, time-saving templates
- Instant information sharing without the need to convert information from hard copy to documents
Mind mapping is a valuable tool in building interaction, participation, and allowing the creative side of problem solving to really come to the surface. Give it a try. You will see increased professional presence, improved personal effectiveness, and higher productivity.