There’s no question that mind mapping software is an incredibly powerful tool. But like most tools, it’s only as good as the skill and mindset of the person using it. Here are six practices you can start using now to dramatically improve the effectiveness of your mind maps:
1. Have a clear objective in mind when you create it, and keep it in mind as you grow and evaluate your mind map. Without a goal, you won’t have any way to know when the mind map is “done.”
2. Ask yourself what’s missing, and then add that information to your map in the appropriate places.
3. Don’t accept your program’s defaults for the style and color of your map. Personalize them. Make the map your own. Use topic colors, shapes and icons to add meaning and context to the information you’re adding to your mind map. Bonus: These settings are an excellent way to visually classify your map’s contents.
4. Step back and view your mind map periodically with the eyes of someone who has never seen it before. Does it make sense? Rearrange and improve it until it does. Feel free to experiment: Move a topic to a new location within your mind map. If it doesn’t add clarity to your mind map, use your program’s undo command or drag and drop the topic to its original location.
5. Ask yourself what needs to be better organized and explained. Reorganize topics until they are arranged in a logical and meaningful hierarchy.
6. Don’t forget to use links and attachments to join related information to your map, for future reference.
Your mind map tips, please
What techniques do you use to improve the effectiveness of your mind maps? Please share your tips and ideas in the comments below. We’ll all benefit!