Mind Mapping Guide to Present Your Ideas Visually

You probably have heard about mind mapping, but you are still clueless about the whole thing. Well, don't be! We are going to discuss what mind mapping is and how it can be beneficial for you – whether in education, in business, and even in daily life. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to make a proper map for your ideas or thoughts. In business, you need to figure out how you are going to represent (or 'translate') ideas into a written and easy-to-understand visual.

 

Digging Deeper with Mind Mapping

In simpler words, mind mapping is about a diagram that makes use of colors, lines, words, and even images to plot thoughts and ideas. In a more formal concept, mind mapping is related to a chart that can visually convey information by expanding the central concepts and connecting ideas.

If you observe a mind map, you will likely see one central idea in the middle, and the supporting ideas would expand outward from it. If there are extra ideas, they will branch out from these supporting (ideas) points. The main purpose of mind mapping is to focus attention. It is about capturing (and framing) knowledge that is helpful for concept and idea-sharing.

You see, the brain is a complicated matter. You can have so many things inside – so many ideas, thoughts, information, and inspirations. The problem is, no one is able to take a peek into your head and understand your thoughts. You need to 'translate' your ideas, so others can understand you. This is the main function of the mind map. With it, you should be able to convey the message to others – through the help of texts, words, and images. With it, not only are you able to translate your ideas to an understandable concept, but others can have a better grasp of what you say.

 

Mind Mapping VS Infographic

Some people say that it's hard to differentiate mind mapping from infographics because they are almost the same. They convey messages through charts or diagrams. They share a similar purpose of sharing ideas, opinions, and thoughts.

Well, if you understand the two terms in detail, you'd know that they are quite different in concept and also in visual representation. An infographic is usually packed with various charts. You can say that it has its own collections of diagrams, such as Venn diagram or pie chart. As if it weren't enough, it is still packed with text and images – all managed to explain the concept. In terms of format, it would be straight from top to bottom.

A mind map, on the other hand, ALWAYS begins with a central point, and it would build and expand outwards. It's not from the top point down to the bottom, but it is about expansion.

 

Why Mind Mapping?

Not everyone needs mind mapping, but you need to remember that the majority of us need visuals to understand things better. Even Aristotle said that 'The soul never thinks without a mental image.' Having a visual aid somewhat improves our understanding better. That's why most people would draw a map for better outcomes and productivity.

So, why would most students or professionals use the mind map system?

1. It helps structure the information

With the map, you basically store information and then structure it. The map shows relationships (between one idea to another, between one individual to another, etc.). It shows the hierarchy. It gives you 'the big picture' that gives you a complete and comprehensive understanding. Because of these features, mind maps are ideal tools to solve complex issues, create a knowledge pool, and present info to others.

2. It improves understanding and comprehension

It has been proven that mind mapping is extremely handy in an academic setting. University and school students are mainly helped with a mind map. Because the information is conveyed in a well-structured form, the map is compatible with the visual learning style. Moreover, the map can filter the longer texts or info into shorter topics, which helps learners to absorb the information better and faster. Even when they have to deal with a lot of information, they can still understand everything better.

3. It enhanced (creative and working) productivity

Mind mapping isn't only great for an academic setting, but it is also great for a professional setting. It helps to improve better (and more efficient) communication, faster learning, and more effective brainstorming. Many professionals claim that the map helps them save time (a tremendous amount of it) for project planning or meeting management.

4. It fosters creativity

There is no such a thing as a 'fixated' way to create a mind map. You can use tools or create one on your own. Even doodling out ideas on blank white paper with colored pencils will do! If you think of it, creating a mind map can be fun while achieving efficiency and streamlined activity at the same time. So, what's not to like about that?

5. It helps improve memory

In mind mapping, we are dealing with visual information. There would be shapes, colors, images, and connections. These elements are important to help the brain process information. Even better, the brain can memorize better because of these things. Scientific studies have shown that the map is able to improve memory up to 10% - even 15%! If you can maximize the function, it can improve to 32%. Studies also show that students with high function autism or dyslexia are greatly helped with mind maps.

 

Greater Benefits of the Map

Naturally, mind mapping has its own benefits, and those benefits apply to different parts of our lives, here goes:

1. Businesses

Never underestimate mind mapping because it makes data organization easier. Whether you want to layout a project, brainstorm on a point or plan, or engage people to understand your point, the map is crucial. It is often used in project management, making ideas and plans easier to understand and simpler to execute.

2. Creativity

Never underestimate mind mapping because it makes data organization easier. Whether you want to layout a project, brainstorm on a point or plan, or engage people to understand your point, the map is crucial. It is often used in project management, making ideas and plans easier to understand and simpler to execute.

3. Teamwork

The map is also great for teamwork because everyone can actually take part in it. When you are brainstorming for a project, for instance, everyone can contribute their ideas and then connect all of those ideas with the central idea.

4. Thinking

Remember about our brain stuff earlier? Based on scientific researches, the brain consists of chains of synapses. That's why it works well by connecting one idea to another, and then onto the next one, and so forth. With mind mapping, you should be able to see the whole (and bigger) picture.

 

What is the general benefits of mind map?

In general, here are some examples of how the map can be extremely functional for your life, whether for academic success, life management, or work productivity.
  • It helps with business planning
  • It organizes and manages projects, events, or meetings
  • It helps with research and development
  • It is great for developing critical and creative thinking about topics
  • It helps to brainstorm ideas and also to solve issues
  • It helps to memorize materials or subject books
  • It helps with personal or group financial planning
  • It is great for goal setting
  • It is handy for tracking crucial events, dates, or information

 

How to Create the Map

In reality, there is no rule about creating a casual (doodling type of) mind mapping or a professional one. However, people tend to differentiate the two. The casual doodling map is useful for daily stuff (what you are going to do in the way, your goal in a week, or even planning your finances), while the professional map would be great for business.

Casual Daily Mind Map

If you need a mind map for daily or casual activities (meaning that you don't need it for a professional presentation or such thing alike), the process is quite simple. As long as you understand the concept and underlying structure, you are good to go.

Here are the steps in general:
  • Have a big (sheet of) paper. Put it in front of you horizontally.
  • Draw a central image representing the topic. You can also make a big circle with some words inside to represent the image. 
  • Have THICK organic branches that go outward from the central image. Make at least 4 of them. It would be even better if you use a different color for every branch. However, it is optional. If you don't want to use colors, a regular black and white color will do.
  • Write the headings within these branches. They should represent your central topic or image.
  • Make additional branches extending from those (four) main branches. These extra branches are the subtopics from the heading.
  • You can expand the map outwards with extra sub-sub topics or sub keywords.

 

Professional (and for Business) Mind Map

  • Choose a template. You'd be surprised to find that there are so many free mind mapping templates out there. There are also tools (like mind map makers) that you can use for this purpose. Choose a design that fits your purpose. Think about how much info you want to convey, and also consider your audience. How are they for details? Do they need general info only, or they want to get to very detailed ones? Try exploring the net, and you would be pampered with tons of examples and templates.
  • Start out with the central idea – and then branch out. This is basically similar to the previous method. Choose the big and wide idea, then expand the headings. Add the subtopics and then sub-sub topics. In the end, your mind map would look organized, clean, and streamlined.
  • Pick a theme. Keep in mind that the mind map is about visual representation. Your audience WANTS to get a better understanding of the visual. If you nail it, you can even generate a 'wow factor. Picking a theme can add visual appeal to your map. There are many stock images or photographs (and they are free too!) that you can use for your map.
  • Use color organization. As it was mentioned before, a color organization is handy to attack the audience's attention (and eyes) to specific information. You can use different colors for different headings, for instance, or use the same hues to connect sub-sub topics to their subtopics. You will figure it out. The color arrangement makes the map easier to scan and read. You can separate different ideas from one another.
  • It doesn't hurt to consider color psychology. For instance, yellow and gray (color) schemes are related to trustworthiness, especially in the tech industry. In law firms, on the other hand, prefer gray and blue. In the education sector, they prefer black and blue. In general, purple and blue are often used to represent power, ambition, and competence. If you need this, you may not want to dwell so much on color psychology, but you can consider it further. After all, it can be fun!
  • Make a (visual) hierarchy. A hierarchy is crucial because you want to deliver a message to your audience about which information is crucial – and differentiate it from the not-so-important ones. Using different sizes of nodes can help. Bigger ones are for important thoughts, for instance, while the smaller ones are for the not-so-important types. Another alternative is to use double lines – they are for important ideas. A single line is for the extra (and supporting) info. Again, another alternative is to use different geometric forms. Circles are for key information, while squares are for the supporting one or vice versa. In short, be creative! You can come up with a way.

 

Mind Mapping Tips

In case you are a beginner at making such a mind map, starting out may be too overwhelming. Don't be discouraged because there are some helpful tips that can assist you along the way. One of the biggest misconceptions about the mind map is related to drawing ability. A lot of people don't want to use the mind map because they can't draw.

Here's the thing: Mind mapping isn't about how good you are in the drawing. The mind map is about improving your function and ability to plan or execute things. It's never about showing off your ability to draw or to doodle. That's why you shouldn't fixate your thoughts on drawing ability. Everyone CAN doodle a mind map, for sure!

So, here are some helpful tips if you want to create your own mind mapping, whether it is for personal use or professional purpose:
  • You can always doodle it out on your own or use a certain tool for the creation.
  • There is no (fixed) rule about making a map. Anything will do.
  • Use different symbols to classify various types of ideas and thoughts.
  • Use the keywords within the lines. If you have to write down words, make sure that they are short.
  • Make use that proper spacing is implemented – so the audience understands your separate ideas.
  • It's a good idea to use stimulating colors and images all through the map.

 

Different Mind Mapping Software or Tools

If you have to do mind mapping by directly doodling it onto the paper, you won't need any tool or software. However, many people prefer using software or program – mostly because they like the idea of making use of technology. Not to mention that such a program can be helpful for professional usage. After all, you can't really show off a doodle or hand-drawn map to your clients or the company's CEO, right? It's a good thing that there are many potential programs that you can use to help you with the creation.

Ayoa

This is both a free and paid service to create an effective and efficient mind map. The software is influenced (quite heavily, in fact) by Buzan's rules for maps. The software is easy to use. You only need to use your mouse to draw and also to extend the branches. If you have a digital pen, you can use it too. It is a perfect software for students or even kids. The images are whimsical, bold, and fun to look at. If you want to use the free service, you will only get the basic features. If you want more, you need to upgrade it to a paid service. However, most people say that the basic service is enough to create an appealing and functional mind map.

Created by Ayoa

 

MindManager

This is software designed especially for professionals and businesses. The result would be elegant and yet straightforward. The features are available for goals, projects, and information management. Not to mention that it enables you to arrange, categorize, and organize information in various methods and ways. It integrates quite well with Microsoft Outlook and Office. The software isn't free, unfortunately, but there is a free version. If you want to learn about the software, you can try the free service.

Created by Mind Manager

 

NovaMind

This is software that combines all the good features from MindManager and iMindMap – and improves them all. You are given a high level of flexibility and easiness when using the software. Again, this isn't a free service, but you can always try the free version for 30 days of trial.

Created by Novamind

 

Xmind

The software offers both free service as well as paid type. Its main function is to create a functional, informational, and easy-to-understand mind map. You can try the free service and see how it works for you.

Created by XMind

 

Conclusion

Creating a mind map isn't complicated or fussy, but you need to understand its basic concept to reap all the benefits. If you're not too handy in doodling, you can always use the software mention above to help you out. Mind mapping can be very beneficial to your work routine. It usually only takes a little bit of your time initially and we guarantee the rest of the working process will be much easier to finish. We hope you enjoy reading this article, and please feel free to leave any comments regarding this topic in the section below. Cheers!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published