Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mind Map 101 & Examples

(click on mind map image for a bigger view)

My thinking and writing has change ever since I learned how to mind map (one of Tony Buzan's 7 tools for transformation) and understood its purpose. This got further clarified when I attended a Tony Buzan mind mapping workshop last May. This I owe a great deal to Ardy Roberto who also introduced me to iMindMap.

Mind map helps you to plot or map out your ideas. It also helps putting information into our brain using imagination and association.

Looking at the example above, a mind map typically has the following:
  1. It has the topic at its center and branch out from there.
    • The central idea, ideally, must be represented by an image.

  2. Create branches and sub-branches out of the central idea.
    • Don't hesitate to play around with the branches by making them curvy or use other presentations.
    • Use a different color per branch to make it more appealing.
    • Put images in the branches

  3. Use one keyword per line for flexibility.
I must admit that the use of images and curvy lines is partly dependent on the software you have and how creative you are in coming up with images.

I find mind maps helpful in doing the following:
  1. Conduct a presentation
    Gone are the days when my slides are all about text and screen shots. I find it interesting to use mind maps to elaborate a point and discuss ideas.

  2. Show survey and poll results
    An alternative to charts is to show survey results in a mind map format. Very useful in giving a one page snapshot.

  3. Project discussion
    When designing website and blog projects, mind mapping the plan and steps with the client and team members allowed me to communicate the scope much easier. The same can also be helpful when creating a site map for a website or blog.

  4. Writing book summaries and review
    I find it easier now to do book and report reviews with a mind map. Also personally, if I can't mind map a book, it implies that the structure of it was not well thought of.

  5. Mind map a book project
    My latest book, Blogging from Home, became possible after I mind map its outline. It was a helpful tool in communicating as well with my layout artist. I'm glad to be getting positive feedback also from book buyers where some are becoming eager to learn how to mind map.

  6. Communicate ideas and lessons learned
    I find mind maps helpful in discussing lessons learned and insights on a variety of topics.
There are numerous tools you can use to mind map such as:
  • Tony Buzan's iMindMap
    If you can afford it, I find it to be one of the best tool for this purpose.

  • MindMeister
    It has an offline edition and allows you to collaborate with friends. Invite 10 friends to register and try the tool to get 3 months free premium subscription.

  • FreeMind
    An open source and free mindmap tool.
To learn more about mind maps and how to do it, I suggest watching this video and check out Tony Buzan's book How to Mind Map and Embracing Change.