A Guide to Mind Mapping

What is a Mind Map?

If you work in an office environment you may have encountered the term ‘mind map’ before, possibly in a different guise. Alternative terms for mind map include ‘brain storm’ or ‘board blast’ but the fundamental concept is the same in each case. A mind map is exactly what it sounds like: a visual aid that captures thoughts, ideas and concepts in a way that is easy to reflect upon and digest.

Maps can assume many forms but will commonly resemble simplified flow-charts, combining text and basic shapes to capture information. Regardless of shape, size or content, each mind map broadly serves the same purpose: to capture ideas and encourage creative thought.

How does a Mind Map Work?

A mind map captures ideas and information

A mind map captures ideas and information

The basic resource for mind mapping is ideas. Without these, there is no information to place within the map. Imagine that you want to learn to play the guitar; a mind map can help you plan ahead and avoid complications. Using a mind map you would draw a circle with your goal inside; from this centre point various requirements would be ‘mapped’. These could include ‘buy guitar’, ‘find music teacher’, ‘buy sheet music’. From each of these strands more specific considerations would appear: ‘earn more money to pay for teacher’, ‘find new job’ etc… Eventually you will have mapped a comprehensive list that normally you would not have considered important to learning the guitar.

The Different Types of Mind Map

Mind maps are flexible tools used for a variety of purposes, below are three common types of mind map.

Reference Mapping’ – These maps are sued to capture and store information for future reference. The advantage of a map structure means the thought processes behind the information can be followed easily.

Presentation Mapping’ – As the name suggests, presentation maps are used to convey information to an audience. The map format provides a more attractive and memorable method of delivery.

Problem Solving’ – As used with the guitar example above. Problem solving maps enable the creator to better identify potential obstructions to their goal and work through them methodically.

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