Posted by: wordsmithsuk | November 10, 2011

Uses for Mind Maps

You can use Mind Maps in almost every set of circumstances where you would normally write linear notes or jot down lists of words. The more you use Mind Maps, the more uses will suggest themselves to you. I have included some of the main ones here just to get you started.

Decision making

Mind Mapping can be of tremendous value when you are trying to make a decision. The next time you have to make an important decision, try using the main branches of a Mind Map to identify the options available and to explore the implications of each alternative. The process of free association around each one will enable you think deeply about them and, in some cases, to clarify your personal feelings.  You may find, as many people do, that the very act of Mind Mapping actually helps you to identify the decision you want to make, or recommend to others.

Time management

There are several advantages of planning your day or your week in Mind Map form:

  • It gives you the chance to think through each task. This can make even the most daunting tasks seem less unpleasant – good news for procrastinators!
  • The Mind Map helps commit your tasks to memory. You will find that you can fit things in to little ‘windows’ of time that appear unexpectedly during the day, that you are less likely to forget to do things and that less time is wasted.

Taking notes during meetings, presentations, speeches

This is one of the most valuable uses for Mind Maps. Some people feel it is also one of the most difficult because you are creating the Mind Map while other people are speaking – and unfortunately you can’t rewind the tape if you happen to miss something. However,  the reward that you will gain from being able to do this type of Mind Mapping makes it well the effort of persevering. This is because you are not only making a record of what is being said, you are also organising the information in a way that will make it easy to remember, integrating it with the things you already know and adding your own comments and reactions as you go along. When you are Mind Mapping from the spoken word, get your central image from the topic of the meeting, speech or presentation. This image should be strong enough to take your mind right back to the meeting when you review your notes – so make it as colourful, humorous and exaggerated as possible. You may be able to prepare your main branches from the meeting agenda or any printed materials provided by the speaker. If this is not possible you will have to listen hard to work out what the main themes are as you go along.

Don’t worry too much if your Mind Mapped notes end up looking messy and disorganised. They will still probably be ten times as good as pages of linear notes. If it is very important to have a clear record of the event, you can always do a neat copy later by way of review.

Taking notes from written material

The technique is very similar to taking notes from the spoken word except that it is a lot easier because you have more time to think. You can either use the chapter headings or sub-headings of a report for your main branches or you can look for particular points of your own.
You will retain much valuable information from books and reports if you Mind Map them and then review your Mind Maps at regular intervals. If you are using Mind Maps as a study tool, you will save yourself hours of tedious note taking and revision and studying will be an enjoyable rather than a tedious occupation.

Planning written material

Any kind of written material can be prepared using Mind Maps – letters, memos, reports, books. What happens is that you do all your thinking
before you actually start writing, rather than during the process of writing. The result that you can develop all your ideas and see where they relate to each other before committing them to paper. In this way you will avoid producing over long rambling letters, reports that repeat themselves endlessly or other kinds of papers that are poorly expressed and seem to be going nowhere. Instead, your finished product will be focused and concise, you will waste little time in revising and editing and the piece of text should be easy for others to read.

Planning presentations or speeches

There are many advantages of using Mind Maps to prepare your speeches, presentations or training sessions: It is much easier to memorise your presentation when it is on a single piece of paper with all the Mind Map features (ideas clustered around the main theme, pictures, key, words, symbols, colours and so on) You will not have to keep referring to lengthy notes written on paper or cards (there is therefore less risk that you will lose your place or that the audience will lose track of what you are saying) Because you do not have to read from written notes you will be able to maintain eye contact with the audience. Your presentation will be natural and relaxed, rather than stilted and formal You will be able to maintain the structure and the focus of the presentation even if questions or comments from your listeners force you to stray off the point temporarily. In short, a Mind Mapped presentation allows you to be flexible and informal while at the same time maintaining the required structure and clarity. The net result is that you will feel confident and relaxed while giving a presentation an you will be able to communicate effectively with your audience.

Group Mind Maps

Mind Maps can be created by a group as well as by individuals.  It is a good idea for the group members to do an individual Mind Map before contributing to a group Mind Map. In this way individuals will have thought through their personal ideas before the group effort begins. There are many benefits of group Mind Mapping, including:

  • All members will feel that they have made a contribution and will therefore be willing to commit themselves to the outcome
  • Associations will be triggered, not only by one’s own ideas but by the ideas of other people in the group.
  • They in turn will be inspired by your ideas and the way you express them
  • They are great fun!

Contact me if you would like a copy of my free ebook ‘Mind Mapping for Success’. And please send me copies of your own MInd Maps – I would love to see them!



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    • hello Kim
      Your blog post is very interesting – I have always thought that it ought to be possible to use MInd Maps to plan a novel or a story. But I’m not a creative writer so have never tried it. I use MInd Maps to help me remember aspects of a book I have enjoyed – and they are great for that as well!
      Let’s keep MInd Mapping and discovering more of their magic.

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