I use Mind Maps all the time to help myself and my clients with projects, coaching, sales proposals and nearly anything that needs clearer thinking.
So what is mind mapping?
Well mind mapping is a tool that engages both your left and right sides of your brain and as a result you actually complete activities more effectively and with better quality. You basically put your thoughts down in a very effective manner on paper or a computer as a diagram that represents the way you think.
They can be used in many different situations and for many different reasons. Use them during business meetings, when you study, when you plan or to come up with the most innovating ideas.
Here are some of the ways that I use mind mapping:
Studying – Quickly take notes that flow as your mind works making reviewing easier.
Project Planning – Identify tasks in a logical way ensuring everything is effectively captured.
Presenting – Speeches are clearer, more relaxed and alive. You can be at your best.
Proposal writing – Identify the required components of a sales proposal ensuring you don’t miss anything.
Meetings – Excellent way of capturing notes during a meeting.
Workshops – Brainstorming with a group of people has never been easier.
Now that you know the benefits and where to use Mind Mapping, lets find out the 8 steps that I use when creating them.
MIND MAPPING PROCESS
To start mind mapping all you need is blank piece paper and a pen (colour pens are very useful but not essential) and you’re ready to go.
Here are a 8 steps to follow when Mind Mapping for clearer thinking.
Step 1: Write down what you want to think about – Write down a word or two of what you want to think about in the centre of the page. Put a circle around it to ensure that it has the focus.
Step 2: Don’t over think it – Write down the first things that come up into your mind when you start to think about related issues, people, objects, goals, etc. Put these thoughts around the central thought. These can be anything, even if they look strange or unimportant write them down. Connect each of these main thoughts to the central thought using a line.
Step 3: Freely associate – As ideas emerge, write down one or two word descriptions of the ideas on lines branching from the central focus or main thougths. Allow the ideas to expand outward into branches and sub- branches. Put down all ideas without judgment or evaluation.
Step 4: Think as fast as you can – Come up with an explosion of ideas. Translate them in words, images, codes or symbols. Do what ever works for you. This is your mind map and it has to reflect the way you think.
Step 5: There are no boundaries – Think “outside-of the-box”. Everything is possible. Use wild colours, fat coloured markers, crayons, or skinny felt tipped pens.
Step 6: Don´t judge your thoughts – Remember, Everything is possible. What seems to be unrelated may be relevant later. Think like you are brainstorming or your mind will get stuck and you’ll never generate those great ideas.
Step 7: Don’t stop to think – If ideas slow down, draw empty lines, and watch your brain automatically find ideas to put on them. If you are using different colours, change them to reenergise your mind. Stand up and mind map on a whiteboard to generate even more energy.
Step 8: Add relationships and connections – Sometimes you will see relationships and connections immediately and you can add sub-branches to a main idea. Sometimes you don’t, so you just connect the ideas to the central thought. Organisation can always come later; the first requirement is to get the ideas out of your head and onto the paper.So now you have a mind map. It may look like a mess but if you have followed the 8 steps you should have a very clear picture of the thoughts you have mapped. Take a second look and see how your thoughts now have flow and clarity. How you use your mind maps is really up to you but now you have a way to thinking in a much clearer and effective manner.