Mind mapping is an effective means to take notes and brainstorm topics. A mind map involves writing down a central theme and thinking of new and related ideas which radiate out from the centre. By focusing on key ideas written down in your own words and looking for connections between them, you can map knowledge in a way that will help you to better understand and retain information.” – Definition by Adelaide.edu
“A picture is worth a thousand words!” Nothing can be truer! Diagrams always represent our thoughts better and faster than expressing the same in words. Although, this is the logic behind using a “mind map,” you will soon find that there are many other benefits too.
As we all know, visuals surely have a greater impact and better recall when compared to words. Mind-maps help you take advantage of this power of diagrams by transforming your thoughts into visuals. You start “visualizing” your thoughts. You can graphically organize your ideas around a core idea.
Tony Buzan, a 67-year-old British educator was the leader of this memory training. He was also a self-styled guru and he published around 120 titles related to the topic. He practiced the art of memory for many years, and when he decided to teach his techniques, he created what he felt was a completely new system of taking notes. This led him to codes, symbols, images and arrows, outlining everything with color. He called it Mind Mapping and he trademarked this term later.
A Mind Map is created by drawing lines from a focal main point to subsidiary points, and those subsidiary points branch out further to tertiary points, and so on. By doing this, ideas can be distilled into a few words and illustrated with images. It’s like an outline that looks like a neuron’s branching dendrites. The retention capacity of such a map is far longer than writing down long pages of text.
When I was younger I struggled with retaining information. I flunked a lot of my early exams and routinely under-achieved up until college even though I did try hard. Over the summer before college somebody gave me a copy of a little book by Tony Buzan introducing the mind map and it immediately made sense. From that point on I used mind maps for everything! The results were incredible, my memory seemed to improve, I could sit exams and remember everything and achieved high grades. In fact, I can even remember most of those mind maps that I drew for my final exams over fifteen years ago! This became my “secret weapon” and I use them for everything even today.
Here is a sample mind map to give you an idea.
A detailed mind map of a Marketing Plan:
Suppose you place your core idea in the center of a circle drawn in the center of the page as you see in the Internet Marketing plan, you then go about adding branches around the circle to represent your thoughts or other information pertaining to the central or core idea.
In the IM plan map, we see branches linked to your main plan, such as researching the competition, promotion, buyers and your objectives. Then these branches lead to further branches, a second level that indicate the different tasks to be done under each main branch.
You can create a map with as many levels as you need.
Marketers now understand the importance of creating a mind map. It can help in everything from writing a small article to planning a new business. Jotting down ideas visually and checking on them frequently, you start identifying relationships in the information jotted down. What this means is that it’s easier to understand the bigger scheme of things. It helps you find the missing links if any and you’ll instantly be able to fill in any glaring gaps. This leads to perfection in whatever you’re trying to achieve.
Mapping tools give you several design options, including different shapes and colors for your ideas. This visual impact helps emphasize on certain things you consider important or even to categorize different ideas.
You can use a mind map for anything. If you’re creating an article, just branch out the different paragraph ideas you want to include. It is far better than lists. You can use it for simple ideas or very complex pieces of information.
All it takes to draw a mind-map is a pen and paper. Your thoughts are with you anyway. But if you have a bigger plan and hundreds of inter-related ideas, a pen and paper may not be of much help. That’s when a “digital” mind-map comes into play. There are many tools online to help you chart out a mind-map, such as MindManager, ConceptDraw and MindMapper, where you have to pay. But FreeMind is an open-source free tool and can be downloaded from their website. OpenMind is yet another free tool that is useful for internet marketers.
Look at this beautiful mind map by OpenIdeo: (clearly an artist has made this one)
There are several options out there, but the important thing is to use something that’s easy and gets the job done. You don’t want to end up getting bogged down with complicated software. Many a time, I prefer taking the traditional route and jotting down my ideas on a paper.
Don’t worry if you’ve no clue about the big picture, when you start creating your mind map. Just start with the circle and the main idea, and keep adding and deleting ideas as they come to you. You can use your kid’s eraser. Believe me erasing stuff feels good, especially if you haven’t done it in a while.
Okay there are advantages to a virtual mind map, as you can remove and add things easily. Whatever you do, just get started.
Time you organized your thoughts better and reach perfection in your marketing venture.
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