Mind Map

A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualise, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organisation, problem solving, decision making, and writing.

It is an image-centered diagram that represents semantic or other connections between portions of information. By presenting these connections in a radial, non-linear graphical manner, it encourages a creativie approach to any given organisational task, eliminating the hurdle of initially establishing an intrinsically appropriate or relevant conceptual framework to work within.

The elements are arranged intuitively according to the importance of the concepts and they are organized into groupings, branches, or areas. The uniform graphic formulation of the semantic structure of information on the method of gathering knowledge, may aid recall of existing memories.

So why use a mind map?

Mindmaps can be drawn by hand, either as ‘rough notes’, for example, during a lecture or meeting.

You could listen to a lecture or meeting and take down notes using mind maps for the most important points or keywords.

Our Process for Mind Maps

Key Idea – Have Fun

Step 1

  •   Take a blank piece of paper, A4 or larger.

  •   Blank paper allows 360º of freedom to express the full range of your cortical skills, whereas pre-drawn lines restrict the natural flow of your thoughts.

Step 2

  •    Use the paper in landscape orientation.

  •    Words and images have more space in the direction we write, so they don’t bump into margins as quickly.

Step 3

  •   Start in the centre

  •   Thoughts start in the centre of our mental world. The Mind Map page reflects this!

Step 4

  •    Make a central image that represents the topic about which you are writing/thinking:

  •   Use at least three colours.

  •   Keep the height and width of the central image to approx. 2’’ or 5 cm (proportionately larger for bigger paper).

  •   Allow the image to create its own shape (do not use a frame).

  •   A picture is worth a thousand words. It opens up associations, focuses the thoughts, is fun and results in better recall:

  •   Colours stimulate the right cortical activity of imagination as well as capturing and holding attention.

  •   This size gives plenty of space for the rest of your Mind Map, while making it large enough to be the clear focus of the topic.

  •   The unique shape makes it more memorable and enjoyable. A frame makes the centre a monotony of shape and disconnects the branches.

Step 5

  •   The main themes around the central image are like the chapter headings of a book:

  •   Print this word in CAPITALS or draw an image.

  •   Place on a line of the same length

  •   The central lines are thick, curved and organic i.e. like your arm joining your body, or the branch of a tree to the trunk.

  •   Connect directly to the central image.

Step 6

  •   Start to add a second level of thought. These words or images are linked to the main branch that triggered them. Remember:

  •   Connecting lines are thinner.

  •   Words are still printed but may be lower case.

  •   Your initial words and images stimulate associations. Attach whatever word or image is triggered. Allow the random movement of your thought; you do not have to ‘finish’ one branch before moving on:

Step 7

  •   Add a third or fourth level of data as thoughts come to you:

  •   Use images as much as you can, instead of, or in addition to the words.

  •   Allow your thoughts to come freely, meaning you ‘jump about’ the Mind Map as the links and associations occur to you.

  •   Your brain is like a multi-handed thought-ball catcher. The Mind Map allows you to catch and keep whatever ‘thought ball’ is thrown by your brain.

Step 8

  •   Add a new dimension to your Mind Map. Boxes add depth around the word or image. To make some important points stand out.

Step 9

  •   Make each Mind Map a little more:

  •       ARTISTIC

  •       COLOURFUL


  •   Your eyes and brain will be attracted to your Mind Map:

  •       It will be easier to remember.

  •       It will be more attractive to you     (and to others as well).

Step 10

  •   Have fun!

Add a little humour, exaggeration or absurdity wherever you can. Your brain will delight in getting the maximum use and enjoyment from this process and will therefore learn faster, recall more effectively and think more clearly.

This is a sample of a mind map that we use, it shows our service offering


2 thoughts on “Mind Map

  1. Great to see step number 10, but you probably should have that as step 0 in your list. I would think that you use a mind map not only because of more clarity and for capturing ideas, but also because it is fun :).

    Question: What tool are you using with the team to collaborate on mind maps?

    1. Arjen,
      I agree, mind maps are fun, and a team building experience also.

      Many thanks for your comments and thoughts on this.

      We use paper flipcharts with groups, keeps the speed / flow of information and collaboration with in the group. Either writing words or post-it’s on it, easier to keep up with the flow and speed of ideas that are suggested.
      Afterwards transferred to Buzzan’s iMind to circulate around to members once it is over. I have considered using electronic means, but the attention is on this and not on ideas. Prefer IMind as the arms/branches have colour and catches the attention.
      Find mindmaps great for presentations also, than just bullet points.

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