Mind Maps

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Mind Maps

What is a mind map? It’s a tool used to organize thoughts, options, possibilities. The origins are attributed to everyone from Tony Buzan (who wrote The Mind Map Book) to Edward Debono, a world-renowned psychologist and behaviorist. Most importantly, a mind map is a tool to get people thinking outside the box – or in this case, outside the list.

So how do we make a mind map? It’s a good idea to start with a large work surface, such as a piece of poster board – that way you’ll have plenty of room to work with. With a mind map, we start from the middle of the page as opposed to the traditional top left-hand corner, which helps us out of the box from the get-go. It also allows you to work out in all directions. This organizational structure actually reflects the way your own brain organizes ideas.

Try writing keywords on small yellow sticky notes to attach to the map to start so you won’t feel pressured to get it “right.” You’ll want to use plenty of color to help your visual memory. You can also draw pictures, attach photos, even cut pictures out of magazines to put on your map to help with the visual aspect. The possibilities are truly endless – and changeable. Don’t feel once you’ve filled the page that all is written in stone. This is a fluid, dynamic document.

On www.peterussell.com, you can find some pointers to make an effective mind map:

· Use just key words, or wherever possible, images.

· Start from the center of the page and work out.

· Make the center a clear and strong visual image that depicts the general theme of the map.

· Create sub-centers for sub-themes.

· Put key words on lines. This reinforces structure of notes.

· Print rather than write in script. It makes them more readable and memorable. Lower case is more visually distinctive (and better remembered) than upper case.

· Use color to depict themes, associations and to make things stand out.

· Anything that stands out on the page will stand out in your mind.

· Think three-dimensionally.

· Use arrows, icons or other visual aids to show links between different elements.

· Don't get stuck in one area. If you dry up in one area go to another branch.

· Put ideas down as they occur, wherever they fit. Don't judge or hold back.

· Break boundaries. If you run out of space, don't start a new sheet; paste more paper onto the map. (Break the 8x11 mentality.)

· Be creative. Creativity aids memory.

· Get involved. Have fun.