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Tips for using mind maps in brainstorming

Tips for using mind maps in brainstorming

When you’ve got a tonne of stuff in your brain waiting to be let loose, you may struggle to think how best to set it free. As a result, those countless fantastic ideas and moments of fleeting inspiration may be lost forever.

If this sounds familiar and you’ve never heard of mind mapping, this blog post may just contain the answer you are looking for.

Mind maps are brilliant ways to untangle our minds and get thoughts and ideas onto paper in a format that is simple and engaging. They can be used for tasks at home or for business projects, no matter the size of the organisation, and work by encouraging participants to unleash their thoughts in a creative way.

You may have seen a mind map before; think circled words, phrases and colour-coded notes, all joined appropriately by simple lines, and that’s pretty much mind mapping in a nutshell. It is a beautifully-simple premise.

In this blog, we’ve got some great tips for using mind maps as a brainstorming method.

1. Start in the centre

What are you brainstorming? Is it a theme for a forthcoming trade show, name for a new product or branding concept for a new business? Whatever it is, start in the middle and note the thing you need to brainstorm. Circle it, leaving plenty of room for your ideas to begin surrounding it.

2. Use imagery

Pictures are worth a thousand words, and in order to get your brainstorming session off to a positive start, consider using imagery more freely than words. An image is more interesting and will keep everyone involved energised and focused on the task in hand.

3. Get colourful

Just like imagery, colour excites the brain and makes us more creative. That’s why it can be helpful to draw up a colour-coded key for your brainstorming. Colours can denote good ideas, the more questionable ones and different subject matters. Get as colourful as possible and encourage everyone to unleash their ideas, no matter how daft they may perceive them to be.

4. Focus on keywords

For each idea, ensure the note you make on your mind map includes a keyword or two that relates to the project’s purpose. Again, this ensures that everyone retains focus and means your reason for brainstorming will never be lost during the process.

5. Be judicious with subtopics

Your central idea or project should be surrounded by as many circled subtopics as possible. Go wild! The more subtopics you have, the deeper the brainstorming will run. Spend most of your time on this stage and you should find that the ideas beyond that point flow freely from everyone’s minds.

Summary

The graphical nature of mind maps means they are eminently easier to follow than traditional, linear text notes. You can incorporate images, colour, words and numbers and present them in a way that will tempt people to dive into their minds and draw out moments of real inspiration.

We hope the tips above help you during your next brainstorming session.

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I’m a blogger from Birmingham, UK, interested in productivity, efficiency and business building.

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