What is Mind Mapping and why should I use Mind Maps?

The Right Questions Mind Map

Why should people use Mind Mapping and why are Mind Maps so effective?

I am hoping to address three main questions in this post: What is a Mind Map? Why should I use Mind Maps? And why are Mind Maps so effective? In the next post, I will then cover how to create a Mind Map and look at some of the best software options for Mind Mapping.

What is a Mind Map?

Mind Maps are a form of non-linear notes developed by Tony Buzan. The term ‘Mind Map’ is actually a trademark of his company. While conducting a study, Buzan realised that whether it was a genius like Leonardo de Vinci or a college student who was achieving high grades, many successful people did not take linear notes. Rather they had free-flowing scribbling’s full of illustrations, keywords and connections. Combining this discovery with his knowledge of psychology and memory systems, Buzan was able to develop a system of non-linear note-taking. He developed a system that anyone could learn: the Mind Map. Although not strictly the same thing, some people refer to Mind Maps as Concept Maps, Spray Diagrams or Spider Diagrams.

Why should I use Mind Maps?

I first came across Mind Maps when I was preparing to do an intensive course where I knew I would have to learn a lot of information very quickly. In Tony Buzan’s book, ‘Use Your Head’ I came across the chapter on Mind Maps, and this intrigued me enough to get his book on Mind Mapping.

Having devoured the book I took to the system very quickly. I have always been someone who has doodled all over my work and now I had found something that embraced and encouraged it; I was a convert! Mind Mapping was engaging and fun, and I was so enthusiastic that I immediately taught one of my friends how to create Mind Maps too. We both put our new Mind Mapping skills into practice on the course and promptly came first and second in the class for the theory exam. I was now doubly sold on the system.

Since adopting their use I have used Mind Maps for planning essays, taking notes in lectures, for brainstorming ideas, for visual facilitation in workshops, and more besides.

Why are Mind Maps so effective?

There are some basic principles behind Map Maps that make them such powerful tools. Using images as well as words is seen as engaging both your creative and logical attributes. This is seen as engaging both left and right brain activity and pictures are particularly good at representing whole concepts. As the famous phrase goes: a picture paints a thousand words. Pictures are also better for recall and memory. The use of colour, codes, symbols, highlighting – and anything else you need to bring your notes to life – is encouraged. Arrows and lines are also used to show relationships. In this way, you can create connections between various concepts. You can also group related ideas together.

The discipline of keeping the notes to one page means that the finished product is an efficient summary of a subject. Equally, having to summarise each section of a Mind Map in a single word or picture forces you to actively engage your mind. This is in contrast to just scribbling things down by rote. This avoids the problem highlighted in this quote:

“Lecture: a process where the notes of the professor become the notes of the student, without passing through the minds of either.”

Mindmapping Software

That’s it for now. I will cover how to create a Mind Map in the next post and also cover some of the best software options.

You can also hear me talking with Michael Tipper on his podcast. Just follow this link to The Mind Mapping Show Episode 010.

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5 thoughts on “What is Mind Mapping and why should I use Mind Maps?

    1. Hi Enaikpoemi, I am glad you enjoyed the post! If you are interested in further coaching on MindMapping (or anything else) then please drop me a line via the ‘Contact’ page. I look forward to hearing from you!

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