Mind mapping is a technique for brainstorming in an organized but nonlinear way that lets you see how ideas relate to each other. You can do it with a piece of paper and a pencil, a whiteboard and a marker, or with software on your computer or the web.
At its simplest, you write down your ideas as you think of them and draw connecting lines between them to show relationships.
Mind Mapping rules because:
- You’re free to go anywhere as you think, rather than be restricted to older forms of topic organization like outlines.
- The free-associative nature of it feeds back on itself so that as you mind map, you actually gain new insights and get new ideas.
- It’s the fastest way I know of to “splat” out ideas and see them whole (and how each topic relates to others). I can mind map almost as fast as I can think (not that I can think that fast, but it’s faster than other methods of capturing ideas).
- Software mind maps can be ported to other formats like outlines, images, PDF, HTML, and Microsoft Word & PowerPoint. This makes them ideal for my main use of them: information & training product creation. I use XMind.
- Web-based mind maps like Mindmeister and Bubbl.us are collaborative. You can mind map with others (sometimes in real time) collaboratively, which is completely awesome when you’re working on a project together with others.
I use mind mapping to plan out information products and training programs. Friend and mentor Greg Balanko-Dickson turned me on to the practice a few years ago and I absolutely love it.
I was recently interviewed by mind mapping expert Chuck Frey for his mind mapping training program. The thing about mind mapping is the more you know about it, the more you get out of it, and since it’s often the first thing you do (brainstorming), it gives you the best possible start. So if you use mind mapping, it might be in your long term best interests to get a hell of a lot better at it.
I don’t make anything from this, but if you want to hear my take on mind mapping and get tons of other great training and help to improve your mind mapping techniques, take a look at what the Mind Mapping Insider course has to offer.