How to prepare a mind map – examples of use and step by step guide
June 18, 2021
This article will guide you through the process of planning a mind map, creating it manually and will show you their purpose, thanks to the examples of their practical use.
What is a mind map?
A mind map is a type of diagram used to organise and present information visually. Mind mapping can help organise your thoughts, break down a complex topic, or create a plan.
It presents tasks, words, concepts or elements related to a central idea or topic. They are arranged around the main theme using a non-linear layout.
Mind maps use a two-dimensional system instead of the list format conventionally used for note-taking. It makes it easier to remember information and facilities reviewing it quickly.
Benefits of using mind maps
- they are more compact than conventional sticky notes and often only take up one side of the paper;
- their two-dimensional format is easy to comprehend with just a glance, which makes it easier to remember information included in it;
- they begin with a central theme, and expand to more sub-topics connected by lines to form a relationship;
- mind maps help to create associations and generate new ideas;
- they encourage whole-brain thinking because they combine a wide range of cortical skills, from logical and numerical to creative and unique.
Components of a mind map
Mind maps are structured like a tree. Each mind map has one central node (or theme). Branches grow out of it like tree branches. In turn, each component connects the central node to its subtopics. Each node can have a sibling topic or a subtopic. Each node can also contain icons, external links, or images.
The mind map concept was formally developed in the 1970s by Tony Buzan, a researcher and educator. His colourful, spider / tree-like shape branches show connections between thoughts, solve problems creatively, help us remember what we have learned.
When should we use a mind map – examples
Mind maps can be used in all aspects of life – whether at home or work, for activities such as planning projects, organising finances and organising productive meetings.
Mind maps can help and make things easier to understand. For example, it can turn a long list of monotonous information into a colourful, memorable, and highly structured diagram that aligns with the brain’s natural way of doing things. You can also easily add new information to an existing mind map. It is especially beneficial for complex data, such as in business planning and strategy development.
Mind mapping is helpful for much more than just brainstorming. You can use them to learn or assimilate new information faster, schedule a meeting, create an outline for an essay or blog post, communicate complex information more clearly, and much more.
Mind mapping can also help break down large projects or topics into manageable chunks so you can plan efficiently without being overwhelmed, without forgetting something important.
Mind map examples – what to visualise with it?
A primary example of the use of mind maps is brainstorming or creative search for ideas. Start with a central “bubble” and then create other bubbles as ideas flow into your mind. By the time you finish, you will either have an idea that excites you or many new ideas you can further discuss and develop.
2. Taking notes
You can take notes on a mind map when participating in a class or a workshop, or listening to a speech or lecture. There is no way to link the new things you learned with the original notes you did on the topic with liner notes. It’s easy with mind maps because all materials are from related issues.
3. Teaching at school
Mind mapping is an excellent technique for teaching students in school and even using a mind map to teach about mind maps. Lessons should encourage group work and especially brainstorming among team members. And students can use mind maps for learning, brainstorming, organising, taking notes, etc.
4. Preparation for an exam
Creating a mind map is a great way to study for your upcoming exam. It forces you to review the information you have learned and look at that information critically to make connections. In addition, the visual nature of the mind map makes it easier to recall information when you are taking an exam, which can improve your grades.
5. Learning a new language
They’re a great tool when you’re trying to learn a new language – whether you’re taking language lessons, getting ready for an international vacation, or just learning for fun.
Because mind maps are visual, they help you easily recall information. For example, when you’re missing a word in a language you are currently learning, you could just visualise the map you created beforehand and hopefully the word will just pop up in your head.
6. Planning an event or business strategy
The mind map example of use can be planning events – from a wedding reception to a large industry conference. It’s a great way to evaluate available choices when making decisions, keep track of what needs to be done, and share your plans with others.
When it’s time to plan your business strategy for the next year – or design your system for the first time – mapping your mind is a significant first step. It helps in brainstorming and tracking research and is also a great picture to relate to once you’ve started implementing your strategy.
7. Planning of finances
Want to create a budget or plan to send your kids off to college for the upcoming vacation or retirement? A mind map is a great way to describe all the expenses you need to account for.
Mind maps are such an excellent financial planning tool that even financial planning companies use MindMeister to present their financial plans to their clients, replacing spreadsheets and piles of paper with a one-page, accessible and visual roadmap.
8. Prepare the agenda for the meeting
One of the best ways to conduct effective meetings is to communicate your schedule to all participants in advance. It allows people to prepare for the conference, write down any questions they may want to ask, or develop ideas for additional topics they may wish to discuss.
9. Organisation of information
If you’re trying to create a knowledge base for your business, creating a knowledge map is a great way to get started. For example, maybe you are a lawyer or legal assistant who is planning the case. A mind map is great for case planning, including evidence to share and questions to ask during testimony.
10. Designing user experiences
A mind map can be a great replacement for a flowchart when designing a user experience. A mind map can visualise how customers can navigate through a mobile application.
Another example of using UX mind maps is to delineate the navigation of a website and structure all of its pages. In addition, they can determine where blog posts and landing pages fit into the buyer’s journey, and figure out how to link blog posts using hubs and internal links, and more.
How to create a mind map – example of the process step by step
Saying “A picture says more than a thousand words” is a way of understanding what a mind map should look like. There are many ways to create mind maps. As this is a creative exercise, the process of making them will vary based on personal preferences, tools and design.
The primary approach is to use a pen, pencil, coloured felt-tip pens and paper, but you can also use the app. There are various grips and tools for creating them. Regardless of the selected tool, the process is like following:
Step 1. Create a central topic or idea
It is the starting point, the foundation on which the rest of the mental map will be built, and at the same time, the topic you intend to explore. The topic should be simple, concise, but meaningful and wide enough for the map to expand. It should be in the centre of the page and may contain an image or colour that matches the subject of your mind map.
This attracts attention and creates associations because our brain responds better to visual stimuli. Taking the time to personalise your main idea, whether it’s hand-drawn or digitally crafted, will strengthen your connection with your mind map content. To do this, brainstorm ideas or related ideas by adding new fields.
Step 2. Expand the topic with the main branches
The main branches that flow out of the central picture are the key themes and the main pillars of the map. They act as anchors to the underlying concept and allow you to quickly see the interaction between all the nodes you create.
The way your mind map stretches now will become natural as you add more ideas – the child branches. When adding each component, always include a crucial concept. Draw lines to connect ideas and depict relationships between them.
Step 3. Add keywords
Add details to your individual branches using keywords, short pieces of text or images. Keep them as short and concise as possible; this will allow you to trigger more associations than longer, more complex phrases.
The use of keywords begins connections in your brain and enables you to remember more information. Use them to show how the different elements correlate with each other, and everything connects to the central core of the map itself.
Step 4. Colourise areas and elements
Colour coding combines visualisation with logic and helps the brain create mental shortcuts. It allows you to categorise, highlight, analyse information and identify more connections that would not have been discovered before. Colours also make images more attractive and engaging compared to regular monochrome images.
Step 5. Use the visual signs
Images and other visuals have far more power to convey than words or sentences. It is because photos are processed faster by the brain and act as visual cues to recall information.
They are also a universal language that can overcome any language barrier. For applications, use the formatting tools to organise and display data visually – change colours, add icons, images, etc.
A mind map can be prepared by yourself using a traditional approach, but there are also ready-made tools. Mind mapping tools range from simple brainstorming applications to complex data visualization and diagramming software.
If you would like to try some ready-made mind mapping tools, we prepared a summary of 11 top of them. Check out this article: Mind mapping tools – 11 examples of ready-made tools to create mind maps.