- In the center of a clean sheet of paper, draw a picture of your central idea,
- Use colors for all parts of your map, because it stimulates certain areas of your brain necessary for the "whole-brain thinking" this technique is known for,
- Connect main branches to the central picture and second-level branches to the first level, continuing in this manner until your thoughts on the subject are fully represented,
- Make certain that your map is organic-looking, with curved branches, more central branches thicker than less-central ones, and the overall feeling that the map impresses upon you is that of flowing,
- Use only one keyword per line/branch in order to provide more flexibility throughout,
- Use images everywhere in the map, again to stimulate visual centers of your brain,
- Make sure to use emphasis in appropriate places and represent associations
However, to the best of my knowledge, there is only one software package that sticks to these guidelines (except the one about a clean piece of paper), Tony Buzan's own iMindmap. I will review it along with the others, even though it takes a somewhat different approach.
Whether you are using Pure Mind Maps or Common Mindmaps, the purpose is to stimulate the flow of your thoughts, allow associations to reveal themselves and to allow you to organize your thoughts. Once you follow this process, you should be able to solve your problem, pull a variety of ideas from a brainstorming session, or plan out anything from a conference, to a marketing project, to a book.
My thanks go out to WikIT, which is a great resource, for the Mindmap images.
My next post will be about Concept Maps, followed by a post about when it is best to use a Mindmap, and when it is best to use a Concept Map. After I finish with all the background information, I'll get back on track with the comparisons.