Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mind Mapping

Today I'm speaking at She Speaks and one of the things I'll be leading my audience through is a simplified version of the mind-mapping process.

A mind map is a diagram used to represent ideas, tasks, or other items related to a central key word. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas. They're an an aid to organizing information, solving problems, planning, making decisions, or brainstorming.

By presenting ideas in a graphical, non-linear manner, mind maps encourage creativity in brainstorming. They can also display a lot of connected or related information in a one page format.

You can use a mind map in many ways - as an info-graphic, as a to-do list, or as a speech or writing "outline." Take a look at the examples below.

Here's a pretty elaborately drawn mind map of the topic of Creative Intelligence by Alan and Amy Burton:

Here is a more simplified version of a mind map - this is just someone mapping out what they need to do to prepare for an upcoming trip:

And here Mark Jaffer shows his mind map of a sermon he preached: Jaffer's sermon mindmapping.

So what can the mind-mapping process help you do?

55 Possible Reasons to Mind Map
  1. Explore a subject
  2. Study or learn a new topic
  3. Plan your schedule
  4. Innovate or invent
  5. Expand existing ideas
  6. Consolidate your existing knowledge
  7. Summarize your skills
  8. Plan your career
  9. Plan your learning
  10. Outline your business, or a potential new business
  11. Outline your writing
  12. Outline your goals or hobbies
  13. Study for, and pass exams
  14. Boost your memory
  15. Unlock your potential
  16. Solve problems
  17. Increase motivation
  18. Take notes and create overviews
  19. Develop your creative thinking
  20. Plan speeches or presentations
  21. Fire up your imagination
  22. Clarify your thoughts
  23. Simplify your life
  24. Summarise your budget
  25. Create targets
  26. Teach others
  27. Improve thinking skills
  28. Control time management
  29. Plan story writing
  30. Plan an event
  31. Summarize books you read
  32. Catalog your past experiences
  33. Plan a party
  34. Take meeting minutes
  35. Investigate what makes you happy
  36. Investigate what makes you unhappy
  37. Discover what you want to do with your life
  38. Plan a blog post
  39. Summarize an event, like a wedding
  40. Plan a website
  41. Pinpoint your values
  42. Unlock associations
  43. Pinpoint your goals
  44. Outline daily tasks
  45. Create teaching overviews
  46. Plan and present your resume
  47. Create year summaries
  48. Investigate lessons learned from failures
  49. Summarise content of sermons or classes
  50. Meal planning for the week or month
  51. Plan a diversified exercise regime
  52. Create a journal of self discovery
  53. Plan Christmas gifts
  54. Organize your life
  55. Shift your thinking from "left brain" to "right brain"
I learned the mind mapping technique in an undergraduate communication class (it was taught by the man who turned out to be my future husband). And I've used it off and on since then. If you're interested in some professional training on it, I can recommend Kim Cordes as a coach/consultant.

Finally, here is a mind map on reasons to mind map. Google the term to learn more about it. You'll discover there are several mind mapping software programs out there. Here is a review of over 50 of them by CNET. But paper and pen works just fine too. So why not give it a try?


  1. I love this! I'm a list maker by nature but I like the idea of doing it in a more graphic way! Thanks!

    1. Give it a try Amy! Often people will use mutiple colors on their map ... using color as well as lines to group realted pieces or tasks together. But plain old black ink on white paper works well for me in most cases.

      Thanks for the comment.


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