Posted by: pkab | 15 February 2008

Mind Mapping Basics – Topics


By: Ken Robert

Welcome! I’m so excited that you’ve decided to learn more about mind mapping. I believe it’s one of the most powerful methods I’ve ever found for learning, brainstorming, and planning. I get a little giddy when I talk about it because it’s had such a profound impact on the way I think and work.

And I’m absolutely certain it will have the same impact on you if you’ll take the time to learn the basic principles and apply them in your daily life.

So, What is Mind Mapping?

First of all, mind mapping is a new term for an old practice. In its various forms it’s been called clustering, diagramming, concept mapping, idea mapping, and visual mapping. But it was psychologist Tony Buzan who really brought the method into the spot light.

Dr. Buzan wrote “The Mind Map Book: How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain’s`Untapped Potential” and has taught his principles for mind mapping to thousands of people in education and business over the years.

Since that time, mind mapping has been adapted for many uses. While Dr. Buzan believes mind mapping by hand is the ideal method, scores of mind mapping software programs have been developed.

I find that both hand drawn and computer created mind maps can be useful and I move back and forth between the two depending on the task at hand.

Mind Mapping is Visual

Mind mapping is a visual means of representing your ideas, thoughts, plans, and progress on any give project. When you mind map you use words, images, order, line, color and space to create a one page picture of all the information associated with a given topic, idea or project.

The best way to explain mind mapping is to show you, so I’m in the process of creating short five-minute videos that you’ll learn more about in an upcoming installment of this ten-part email course. Until then, let’s explore the parts of a mind map.

Pieces of the Mind Map Puzzle

Mind maps are made in pieces that interact with one another and branch out into new pieces. The first of these pieces is the centerpiece, your central topic.

It All Begins in the Middle: Your Central Topic

It’s important to determine what your mind map’s about and the purpose it will serve which we’ll explore in part two of this course, but whatever your purpose, every mind map begins with a central topic.

Your central topic is the focus of your mind map. Unlike traditional note taking and planning, your central topic doesn’t sit at the top of the page. Instead, it sits directly in the center, which is where anything “central” would naturally be.

Placing your topic in the center enables you to branch out, or as Idea Mapping author Jamie Nast would say, bloom and flow.

Your central topic can be expressed as a word or short phrase, an image, or a combination of the two. All of your subtopics and associations will flow from it. Your central topic will serve as an anchor for everything else you place on your map.

Here’s a skeleton image of a mind map.

skeletonmap

Branching Out: Main Topics and Subtopics

Once you have your center topic placed firmly in the center, the real fun begins. Now you can start branching out. Mind map branches are typically drawn like spokes on a wheel that radiate around the center. These spokes are your main topics. From your main topics you can branch out even further with subtopics. And your subtopics can have subtopics of their own. You can see them on the map above.

As an example, let’s say your central topic was a birthday party you’re planning. You’d place “Birthday Party” at the center of your page and then start adding the main topics as legs or branches that stem from the center. Main topics might include things like Invitations, Gifts, Snacks, Decorations, Games, and Location.

mind map birthdaypartymap

Then branching out from your main topics, you create subtopics. Subtopics for Snacks might be drinks, chips, sweets, and dips. Think about it. Once you complete your map, you’d have a one page summary of everything you need to do, everything you need to buy, and everyone you need to contact. How cool is that?

Summary

So there you have it. Central topics, main topics, and subtopics: the three basic parts of any mind map. Your central topic sits in the center and your main topics and subtopics branch out like spokes on a wheel and limbs on a tree.

Now, there’s a lot more to mind maps than just topics, but if you understand these basic parts and how they work together you can create your first map today on any topic you wish. Everything else you learn in this course will simply be the means of making your mind maps come alive.

You’l learn about the use of line, shape, color, space, boundaries, and relationships to create a mind map that will help boost your creativity, increase your learning speed, power up your memory, organize your thoughts, and turn your projects into action plans.

Your homework assignment:

You know the basics. It’s really that easy. So use the knowledge you’ve gained today and start mapping anything you wish. Take some time each day between now and your next installment of this course to explore creating maps around the things that matter to you.

Brainstorm ideas for a business. Explore your goals and wishes. Plan a project you’ve been wanting to start. And please, I beg you, forget about perfection. There’s no such thing as a perfect mind map.

Mind mapping is simply a useful and creative way of thinking about things that’s meant to serve you – not the other way around.

Go with the flow and see where it takes you.

And once again, thanks for visiting. I’d love to hear how you’re using what you learn so feel free to drop me a line.

Creatively Yours,

Ken Robert
Creativity Man

Source: Creativity Man

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