When in school, we are taught to organize information in outlines. You use a combination of roman numerals, letters, and numbers to organize information that you want to use in a certain context. This is helpful in the context of a paper, but when it comes to idea formation and conceptualization, an outline can actually make things more difficult. This is where mind maps are helpful. A mind map is a visual way of organizing information and documenting processes.

Mind maps can take many different forms. They can be step by step and look like an “if/then” flowchart. They can look like brainstorm circle graphs connected by lines. They can be lines that connect idea to idea.

The following steps are helpful in creating mind maps:

1. Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.

2. Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your mind map.

3. Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.

4. Each word/image is best alone and sitting on its own line.

5. The lines should be connected, starting from the central image. The lines become thinner as they radiate out from the center.

6. Make the lines the same length as the word/image they support.

7. Use multiple colors throughout the mind map, for visual stimulation and also for encoding or grouping.

8. Develop your own personal style of mind mapping.

9. Use emphasis and show associations in your mind map.

10. Keep the mind map clear by using radial hierarchy or outlines to embrace your branches.

The beauty of mind maps rest in their simplicity. A mind map can be sketched during a meeting or conversation, then later converted to one of the many platforms that has been created for making mind maps. It also will work for any industry and any topic. This means knowing how to make a mind map will help you no matter your job requirements. Because mind maps are so simple and applicable, any person at any level can use it to brainstorm and move from a vague idea into an applicable process.

There are many ways mind maps can help your business, but here are 7 to start with:

1. Planning – use them to keep track of events and all the needed operations to make the event successful.

2. Meetings – use them to stay on track without forgetting the details.

3. Organization – use mind maps to organize information into step by step processes to keep yourself and your employees organized. It will also help you easily see what you need to do and what you can delegate.

4. Plan a Marketing calendar – a mind map can help you see all the bases you need to cover and what can affect your efforts. It can also help you brainstorm new marketing areas and methods to try.

5. Problem Solving – by seeing your business and the relationships of the employees and tasks in your business you can increase efficiency and improve problem solving.

6. Brainstorming – as we have already mentioned, by seeing a visual of a problem, project, etc. you can brainstorm solutions, new arrangements, etc.

7. Spark Creativity – by using a different part of your brain to conceptualize, you open up to different thoughts and ideas and changes your thinking from linear to letting your intuition work.

Mind maps can be helpful not just for your company but for your clients as well. VA on the Spot is well versed in how to make and implement mind maps. Give us a call to see how we can help you achieve success on task at a time.

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