Mind Maps – Frequently asked Question (FAQ)

This web page documents some frequently asked questions from our seminar participants:

How does mind mapping work?

For a good introduction see our article: Mind Map – A Short Introduction

Does mind mapping work in a team?

Yes, mind mapping also works in a team. Online whiteboard tools have become very popular, especially when working from home: ConceptBoard, Miro and others. Most of the tools also provide templates and support for creating mind maps easily and collaboratively. A challenge is to find good common terms for the structuring branches. It is very useful if all participants have a similar understanding of the meaning, so that the sub-branches and leaves can be classified.

In a classic on-site appointment, one person could document the mind map. The other participants suggest branches and leaves and vote on them in the group. This will probably make the mind map easier to read, since only one font is used.

What are the criticisms of the method?

Some critics complain that a mind map only depicts a hierarchical relationship from branches to sub-branches and finally to leaves. However, terms in the thought map often have several relationships to other entries. It is of course possible to add further arrows to document these relationships. As a result, clarity often suffers.

Other concepts such as cognitive maps (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kognitive_Karte) structure the individual terms in a network and thus offer more associations between the individual terms. readability of long terms Types and captions can easily become difficult to read when the author uses very long and handwritten captions.

How do you read a mind map someone has created?

First get an overview: What is the topic: What is the central element? Is there perhaps meta information on the edge or in one of the corners of the sheet (e.g. about the author or the time of creation)? What are the main branches going out from the center? Is the division and structure understandable?

Tip: Most people create the mind maps clockwise, starting at 1 o’clock. Now you can look at the interesting details: Now you can take on the main branches in a suitable order. If the main branches do not specify a specific order, you can of course determine one for yourself.

What tips are there for creating good maps?

Choose short and legible labels for the main branches. Only if other addressees can immediately find their way around the main branches of the map will they accept someone else’s map.

  • Insert symbols and images. Simple and repeating symbols are even easier to recognize than text.
  • Colors help for additional structure. Colors can support certain topics, departments or advantages and disadvantages of an argument.
  • Start with the main branches at 1 o’clock and follow the clockwise direction. This structuring is optimal for a timely sequence in a log.
  • Arrows, colors or symbols could visualize other associations between branches. Add meta information in the margin For example author, date, topic, people involved, etc. The information can of course also be on a branch in the map. But if these are on the edge, they have more space for the content.

Mind maps for appointment logs often seem chaotic?

Creating a mind map as minutes for a meeting or training is a good idea. Unfortunately, it is often not easy to create well-structured and legible mind maps directly. It takes some practice. Take notes of the first draft and create a better second version of the mind map afterwards. Especially for important meetings, if you want to distribute the mind map as a protocol, you should proceed like this. This usually also helps the other participants to remember the meeting better later on.

Pro tips for mind maps for meetings:

  • Introduce uniform symbols for tasks, appointments or other important information. Five to ten symbols for important information are sufficient. Always try to structure your maps for meetings in a similar way.