Mind mapping is a simple concept, yet many people just don’t know where to start. In this article we’ll explain the difference between paper-based mind maps and computer-based mind maps, and explore the many benefits that this practical diagram format provides.
There are basically two types of mind mapping: Paper-based and computer-based, but both follow the same core idea of starting from the center of the page or screen with one topic and breaking it down into sub-categories using branches, colours and other visual support.
Paper-based mind maps are easy to create. You don’t need a computer or internet access, and you can quickly add your own drawings. But they can also – as any former high school student will know – easily get lost or crumpled, accidentally placed in the bin, or chewed by the dog. This is not so if you use software.
With mind mapping software, you can easily modify and delete data. Your mind map simply changes with your plans – but without any messy crossings-out. It stays looking professional.
Modern software platforms are incredibly fast and intuitive to ensure that you can capture your ideas as fast as they are popping into your head. They are also very practical: all of your mind maps are stored neatly in one place and you can swiftly switch between them, connect them together using links, and search within them. Each idea in your map can also be enriched with images, links to external websites, notes, files or videos.
The possibilities are even greater online. You can collaborate on projects in real-time by sharing the map with other users. And because your mind maps are stored in the cloud, they are fully backed up and accessible from everywhere.
Who Needs Mind Maps?
Anyone from first-grader to CEO can use and benefit from this versatile technique. Here are a few examples:
- Project managers wanting to present their ideas clearly to their team
- Consultants and advisors trying to visualize their clients’ situations
- Entrepreneurs wanting to create a dynamic business plan
- Marketers exploring potential avenues for promoting a product or service
- Writers wanting to create original stories, articles and jokes
- Collaborative teams working on a project together
- Event planners wanting to organise every aspect of an event
- Parents wanting to aid their child’s learning
- Teachers looking to improve teamwork and communication in the classroom
- Students studying for exams, wanting to boost their learning capacity
Mind Mapping Benefits
- Mind maps are flexible. There are no limits as to what mind maps can be used for. What’s more, mind mapping is suitable for all ages. Your child can’t yet read. But with the power of mind maps, they can learn. How cool is that? Just use images rather than words.
- Mind maps are easy to create. All you need to get started is an idea. You don’t need to write in sentences, or even use words at all – but you can if you want. You can express your ideas in the way you are most comfortable with.
- Mind maps are clear. The intention of a mind map – its topic – is always in the centre of the page, and there are no surplus ‘fillers’ to detract from the main aim of the map. Mind maps give you an overview of an idea, and then allow you to explore the idea further through sub-categories and keywords.
- Mind maps are visually driven. As well as the perfect planning tool, they are a wonderful presentational device. Don’t tell people your ideas, show them! The fact that your initial concept is split up into distinct categories will help others to understand.
- Mind maps enable a free flow of ideas: Because you mostly use single keywords, symbols and short phrases in mind maps, you can jot down ideas a lot faster than usual, which results in an unobstructed flow of ideas.
But most of all… mind maps are fun! Creating a mind map doesn’t actually feel like work, even though you’re accomplishing a lot.
If you want to know more about mind mapping and its many use cases, visit MindMeister’s Free Mind Map Training Online.