Posted by: wordsmithsuk | May 3, 2010

What is a Mind Map?


A Mind Map is a a powerful way of expressing the thought patterns, pictures and associations that already exist in the brain. It seems that everyone who uses this form of note-taking has their own way of describing what they are. Here are few of the typical things people say about them:

‘a way of hot-wiring your creative energies’

‘a multi-handed thought ball catcher’

‘a way of catching, organising and interpreting thoughts and ideas’

‘putting on paper what’s in your head’

‘doodling with a purpose’.

Firmin MInd MapHere is an example of one that I created to remind me of the main facts and ideas contained in Sam Savage’s book ‘Firmin’.

As you can see, the principal thought or idea is drawn in the centre of a blank page, with major branches, representing connected themes, radiating out from the centre. Second and third levels of thought, expressed in terms of key words or images, are connected to the main branches with thinner lines.

Note some of the main features of this MInd Map:

  • It is visual: this is important because the mind thinks in images, rather than words. Pictures are a powerful means of expressing ideas, describing past events and making hopes materialise. This fact has been understood and used by cave painters thousands of years ago, by the creators of the Bayeux tapestry hundreds of years ago and by advertising companies today
  • It contains key words: part of the information on the Mind Map is distilled down into a series of key words which themselves trigger images and other thoughts. The shape and resonances of the selected words add to the overall effectiveness of the Mind Map
  • The structure is based on associations: the Mind Map allows the user to put together words and pictures that are closely associated. This reinforces the memory, helps the user to think creatively and results in the clustering of ideas into separate themes.

Much of the value of a Mind Map stems from the conscious involvement of the creator as it is being drawn. People become completely engrossed while they are creating their Mind Maps, they enjoy the experience, they derive a tremendous amount of satisfaction from doing it: all these factors add to the usefulness and effectiveness of the finished product.

Many people have found that Mind Mapping has revitalised their whole approach to thinking and note taking. This simple technique has enabled them to record, organise, and analyse large volumes of information and to see clearly how different pieces of data relate to each other. But more than that, Mind Mapping has been a tool for boosting personal growth and self esteem. Discovering hitherto undreamed of talents, becoming more confident in meetings and presentations, being able to access and recall vast amounts of information quickly and easily – these are just a few of the benefits that users have discovered.

How do you use MInd Maps? And how do they help you?

Please email nick@word-smiths.co.uk if you would like a copy of our free ebook, Mind Mapping for Success.

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