Mind Map – A Short Introduction

What is mind mapping?

The English term “mind map” was introduced by Tony Buzan. The terms “thought map or association diagram” are analogous. A mind map helps to freely develop your own thoughts and ideas for a topic. The representation is based on a tree. The Central Concept stands in the middle, from which the other related words spread out radially on branches. The terms continue to branch out towards the edge. How deep and how wide the individual branches branch out is up to the creator of the map.

Sample mind map
Sample mind map

The benefits of mind mapping

One of the advantages is that it moves away from being presented as a simple list or line-up in normal text. The map can spread in all directions. In addition, the position of the branches and terms can support learning by stimulating visual thinking and remembering. Therefore, additional colors, symbols, links or groupings of similar themes can easily be incorporated into the map. There are only a few limits to your creativity. Of course, it is important that the target group for which a mind map is created understands it. In many work situations, idea maps can also be created in a team. You usually only have to communicate about a few basic properties.

Mind mapping has become very popular in recent years and has established itself as a working method in many offices and meetings. In addition to the classic way with paper and pens, there have been many programs and web applications for the electronic creation and management of mind maps for several years. Maps offer great advantages for project management, learning, taking notes and structuring content.

Disadvantages and negative aspects

Of course, a mind map can become too chaotic if you don’t choose the right keywords. Sometimes you only find the right name after some sub-items already exist. If you use a software or a web service for the creation it is no effort to name the term better. Unfortunately, changing it on paper is not that easy. With a little practice, you will find better and better suitable names for higher-level categories when creating them.

Tip for effective use

  • Redesign an existing mind map. The new version is usually better structured and clearer. This apparent additional effort is worthwhile for learning content in particular.
  • Develop your own color code for your maps. For example the green and red color for positive and negative aspects of a topic. Blue can stand for facts and yellow for further investigation of a topic.
  • Try to find your own icon and sketch note symbols. These elements will give your maps a personal touch.

Links for further reading

Curlie.org web catalog on Mind Mapping

Description on Wikipedia