Although not as intimidating as giving an interview, conducting an interview can be pretty daunting. You need to be sure about the questions you ask, make sure you do not hurt the interviewee’s feelings and at the same time you need to ensure that you get all the relevant information which will grab your audience’s attention.
Sounds like a tough task doesn’t it? Especially if you don’t have a purpose-built tool to help you with it. Nowadays we are extremely used to various tools aiding us in performing nearly every day-to-day activity. Wouldn’t it therefore be great if you had something that would easily present all the relevant points you need to remember during an interview?
Mind mapping can act as precisely that tool and much more for your next interview. It can make sure you extract the most interesting and key parts of information from your interviewee. It can help you get all your preparatory notes, and the ones you make during the interview, in order. In essence, it will ensure that at the end of the interview there are happy faces on both sides.
Find out how you can use mind mapping as a tool for conducting the perfect interview:
The interview process starts way before the actual interview. It is imperative to have a complete understanding of the topic of your article and the expertise of your interviewee. Nothing can be more embarrassing than conducting an interview while being underprepared.
With content being a constant in modern life, it might feel that you have no time to prepare as you jump from interview to interview to keep up with demand, but that need not be the case. Mind mapping can help you in converting long texts of information about your topic and interviewee into simple keywords that connect with each other and incorporate visual cues.
This will allow your brain to soak up the pivotal pieces of information for your interview in no time. Just like a runner stretches their muscles before their race sees them perform to their best when the starting pistol fires, preparing for your interview in a way which your brain appreciates will help it deliver magnificently during the actual interview. Your brain will be able to remember each detail and connect every link seamlessly.
Questions form the skeleton of any interview. The right questions, asked in the right way, can help you extract the most pertinent information. As they are your keys for discovery in an interview, making sure that they cover every bit of ground is essential. Framing questions with the help of information presented through a mind map will make sure that you don’t omit any of the important ones.
While a good interview involves more open ended questions than closed, it’s important to start with a few closed questions. It will make the interviewee more comfortable. A mind map serves as a good reminder of this so that you don’t bombard them with the more profound questions in the beginning itself. How, you ask?
Mind maps typically work round in a clockwise fashion. Placing closed questions at the beginning of your mind map, you can move around it, leading to deeper, open questions. This way, you can build the intensity of your interview over time. You can also colour code the closed and open questions differently to confirm you have enough of both.
The mind map will constantly display all the questions relating to a topic or a sub-topic. Thus warranting that you don’t overlook any.
An interviewer always needs to be calm and collected. The interviewee might not give their 100% if they realise that you are anxious. Asking questions with complete confidence is like prepping and garnishing the food you have cooked. It’s the way to impress your interviewee and assert them to provide you with better answers.
With you having all the information and questions you need with you in the form of a mind map, your confidence is bound to rise. You won’t be worried about omitting anything as everything will be available to you in keywords. Your conversation will flow smoothly, thanks to your sprawling mind map having prepped you in advance for all options. You will seem more composed and will be able to conduct the interview with confidence.
Note taking is absolutely essential, even if the interview is being recorded. These self written notes can prove to be the most important quotes or points of the story you are writing. In a mind map, you can connect these notes to relevant questions or part of the story they relate to.
Taking notes in this way can make your interview to publication process very simple because the only thing remaining to do will be expanding the mind map into a fully written news/ feature story. Digital mind maps make this process even more easy. For example, software like Ayoa allows you to export your mind map into a word document. It makes completing the rest of your write-up a walk in the park.
When talking to another, it is extremely easy to get distracted and start conversing about the most random things, even in an interview. You might end up squandering a lot of valuable time chatting about peripheral things.
This is something to watch out for because interviewees may not always have time to extend the session and allow you to complete the interview. A mind map can be of great help in such a situation. One look at it will bring you back to the central point of the story and the reason you are conducting the interview.
The compact structure of a mind map will help you to summarise the process as well as the result of the interview. Interviews are conducted with an objective to explore a topic from a particular person’s point of view. Similarly, mind maps aim at exploring and expanding any topic to understand it better. There couldn’t be a better tool to help you conduct the perfect interview. Just like any news or feature story, a mind map also has an expansive nature, but everything in it is always hovering around one central theme.
Have you ever conducted an interview and at the end realised that you did not ask the most important/basic question? Share with us any such awkward situations you might have faced.Read More 》
Education Featured Tips & Facts
Whatever stage of education you’re at, creating a good essay plan can be a difficult task. But the best essay plans are surprisingly easy. Why? Because they work with your brain to optimise your creativity, boost your productivity, and improve confidence in your writing. This article will help you break down your essay into manageable chunks and build your study skills from the ground up.
An essay plan helps you organise abstract thoughts about a specific topic into concrete ideas. These ideas form the basis of essays for school, college, university, and beyond. Essay planning is a skill that you develop over time. Which sounds scary, but if you’re reading this, you’re already on the right track. One of the most efficient ways to do this is through a mind map. In the early stages of planning, the non-linear structure of a mind map helps get your creative juices flowing. It also helps you link thoughts and ideas, perfect for creating meaningful arguments.
More than this, an essay plan is a tool for you to use in lots of different ways. It is a chance for you to play around with your subject matter and essay writing skills, or even talk through your ideas with others before you write the essay. And your plan can be used after you’ve actually written the essay: a knowledge base around a topic for you to use when you need a refresher on what you actually know. In fact, it’s more effective to recreate or re-read a mind map of your essay than it is to reread the essay itself when it comes to consolidating your knowledge.
With all this in mind, let’s think about what makes a good essay plan:
This isn’t a new trick, but it’s more effective than you might think. Breaking down your main idea into 3 or 4 main points, sub-ideas, or themes, works wonders when creating a formidable argument. How you do this will depend on the length of the essay. This is important because you don’t want to be left with too much, or too little, to say.
If your essay is going to be shorter, maybe 500 – 1,500 words, you can break down the essay into 3 or 4 key points that you will be making. Then, put in whatever works for you. Maybe you need to include the example(s) you’ll be using to illustrate that point, or maybe you want to add the opening line of that paragraph to get yourself started. If you struggle with creating a cohesive essay, you might want to add in your linking statements to get the tricky bit out of the way.
When things get a little bit more complicated, you simply repeat this process. The fundamentals of good essay writing don’t change (phew!), only the word count and number of points you make do. Break down the essay into 3-4 larger points, and then break down each point into 3 smaller points that will each make up their own paragraph when you come to writing your essay. For example, if you were writing about power in the Frank Hubert’s book, Dune, you could break the concept of power down as follows:
So, each of these final ‘sub points’ would be their own paragraphs, each with key examples from the book. You can use this technique for any subject, and it’s a great way to get your point across clearly.
An essay plan is done whenever you feel ready to write the essay. What ‘ready’ means will change from person to person. It’s important to create a plan that actually helps you and works with your style of thinking, not against it. Sometimes, you can be so caught up in what an essay play ‘should’ be that you forget that it’s a plan for you.
So, take a second to think about what a ‘ready’ essay plan would actually look like for you. Do you work better with limited distractions and short, strong keywords to bounce off from? Or do you prefer to delve deeper into planning before you start?
Because this is a plan that works for you, make it as fun and visual as you need to. Add photos that you associate with a particular point, character, or idea. Change the colour of your mind map, the paper you use, the digital background colour. If your essay plan is digital, add links, videos, or even music to help you get into the zone. Turning your planning into a creative exercise can really help when it comes to motivating yourself.
Importantly, an essay plan should be flexible enough to meet your needs. When you are planning your essay, you will probably come across additional knowledge or content that spark new arguments. These could be invaluable for your essay, so your plan should be able to make space for these. With digital mind maps you have an infinite canvas to work on. This lets you stay flexible as you capture all of your possible arguments into one mind map. Because in a mind map you can view all of your arguments at the same time, you can also easily decide which arguments will be your best bets when writing your actual essay. Be careful not to leave these in indefinitely though, or it might confuse you when it comes to writing your first draft. Instead, make a ‘further ideas’ branch to come back to at a later date, or use an ideas bank to store arguments you don’t want to make just yet.
Knowing what works best for your brain helps you stay efficient and focused in your planning. This lets you get everything done by your deadline. Need to be task-oriented to get stuff done? Ensure your planning is integrated into your weekly plan. You can assign each branch of the essay a specific day, where you’ll work only on that argument, or you can assign a time to each stage of the planning process. If you use digital mind maps or planning tools, use the task functions they might have to get the most out of your software. Giving yourself miniature deadlines can help you hold yourself accountable which will pay off in the long run.
Finishing an essay can give you a HUGE sense of accomplishment. But after it’s finished, the work you put in shouldn’t have to go to waste. By creating an engaging, visually appealing essay plan in the form of a mind map, you can reuse this content for future essays and plans.
A really good essay plan helps you consolidate what you learnt and worked on. This means that every essay you write becomes easier; you’re building a knowledge base for yourself to make the most of what you already know.
Revising is a bit different to writing an essay. So, you might want to redraw your mind map or try out ideas in a different format. Stretch your brain and improvise: this will pay off massively when it comes to exam time, or when you have an opportunity to use this knowledge in the future.
When using a digital mind map software, like Ayoa, you can copy your mind map and see how you can reshape it to suit other questions you might be asked in your exam. Easy digital duplication means no excessive time is spent manually redrawing another mind map from hand. Questions you get in an exam might differ from essays you write, so this is great practice for improvising quickly.
One great way to make sure your essay plan will benefit you in the long term is to go back over your plan once you’ve had feedback on your essay. Integrate your feedback into the plan, asking yourself:
You can incorporate this into the design of your mind map in a way that builds upon your original content. Add the branches in a new colour, add them as comments to existing branches. You could even invite friends or supervisors via Mind Map Sharing so that they can comment directly on your map.
Sometimes the best techniques are the simplest – your approach to planning your essays is no different. In working with your brain via mind maps on your essay plan, you will ensure that you get the most out of your studies.
Most importantly, having read this guide, you’re already on the way to creating good essay plans. We hope some of these tips will serve you well in the coming months and years as you grow your study skills and essay planning technique.
Like this guide, and want to see more? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or by using the #mind-map hashtag on social media! If you really want to level up your studying, read our other blogs on improving your study skills!Read More 》
All practices followed by human beings keep changing perpetually, and with the added push of technology, things are only bound to change faster. This has also been proven in the education industry. Educational institutions have come a long way from using blackboards and whiteboards, to now using digital interfaces to teach, and the pandemic has been a huge catalyst for this change. Then why not change the way we learn and remember things as well?
Mind mapping, especially digital mind mapping, has been gaining publicity across the world. It has been proven to be a great way to make notes in order to improve students’ memory and prioritise information. In this article, find out how it can improve your overall study skills quickly and easily.
Traditionally, the note making process involves writing down numerous paragraphs which are full of plain text about any topic. This is known as a linear or list style of making notes. It can seem like a dull idea and might not be agreeable to learn or revise from.
The main reason why linear notes don’t sound much agreeable is because they lack creativity and excitement that the human brain requires to remember something for a long time. Making notes in list form force you to isolate pieces of information and don’t allow you to make connections between your ideas. You might find the monochrome texts boring and avoid reviewing your notes.
A mind map is a visual map of your ideas, laid out in a radial format around a central thought. To use mind mapping for study, simply take the central subject and then organise your notes around this point. It involves using many visually pleasing and colourful features that will help you learn anything more effectively.
Various templates in mind mapping can help you improve your study skills.
Mind mapping is a versatile tool which improves most aspects of studying like:
Digital mind mapping provides more functionality and allows working in groups.
Digital mind maps consist of a multitude of easy-to-use features and tools which can improve your study skills:
Studying isn’t just learning facts and pouring them out on the answer sheets anymore, it needs to be more creative and long lasting than it was in the traditional approach. As we have now gathered, the brain doesn’t respond well to the linear note taking process and finds it tiresome. Mind mapping, and especially digital mind mapping, can help make this process more intriguing and fun using various colourful and visually appealing features which will definitely make you feel excited about studying.
So start making notes using mind maps and see for yourself if it makes any difference in your attitude towards studying!
Is there any other way you can think of making studying more fun? Tell us how you managed to concentrate on studying before using mind maps.Read More 》
Students from all over the world have a common enemy in the form of deadlines. Deadlines that seem to constantly be lingering above their heads. If only everyone was prompt enough to plan for submissions and exams a month in advance, but just getting started on your work can often seem like the hardest part. This problem can be solved using mind maps.
Mind mapping is a tool that can be used by students to solve numerous problems they face while trying to revise for exams or plan their essays. It helps in making the process more encouraging and fun. Read on to discover more such benefits of mind maps which can promote your academic success.
Using mind mapping as a tool, you won’t procrastinate when writing your essays anymore.
The traditional methods of studying involve memorising text heavy facts, figures and theories which are not exactly conducive to the human mind. Studies have repeatedly shown that any kind of visual data is comparatively easier to retain for longer periods of time. Mind mapping techniques for learning are based on visual cues and colourful objects which seem more pleasing to the eye than the traditional method of copying out revision notes.
As you can imagine, mind mapping allows you to unlock a whole world of visual thinking and helps store masses of informational nuggets. A great way to start revising for your upcoming exams or to start writing your next essay is to pick a central theme/idea and begin adding branches to it. Using just a few keywords, images and various stickers, you can breakdown facts to ensure you recall important information when needed.
What works best is to move through topics, going from the broad to the more specific ones. Always remember to add images, icons and even emojis to enhance your visual learning and make all-important memory associations.
It’s often the first step that feels more daunting than actually completing the entire revision process. When the question is where to start, the key is to divide your work into manageable chunks, connecting them together and picking them up one by one.
No student’s work is limited to just one subject, so whilst juggling multiple modules at the same time, your priorities might get blurry. Mind mapping stops this from happening. Your mind map will always remind you of your central theme, and the branches drawn from it in a chronological order will ensure no time is squandered over futile matters such as remembering what to focus on.
A good mind mapping practice would be to create a revision workflow by breaking down the tasks that need to be performed for each subject. The outwardly radiating structure of a mind map from every single branch which forms it will make tracing back through them to the core subject which they relate to, super easy. Coincidentally, this format of mind maps also makes it a great tool for planning essays, as you can move from your thesis statement, to key arguments, through to your natural conclusions for each point with logic and structure.
Radial mind maps can provide better structure to your revision and help you recall everything you’ve learned more easily.
It can be rather easy to get bored of huge texts of information, but when you create notes in the form of mind maps, the colourful visuals, inspiring images and fluid branches will make revision seem like fun too. After all, what is more fun than transforming a tiresome task into something which becomes easy?
Many of us know the path from boredom to procrastination all too well. Keeping your brain engaged is a must if you want to make the most of your revision time. With the help of mind maps though, this is very much achievable. For instance, traditional mind maps can give your brain a welcome break by presenting interlinking ideas in colour-coded structures. The result? Your brain will be ravenously consuming huge amounts of information in the form of tiny packets.
Equally effective is the novel format known as the Radial Map which is found in some mind mapping software like Ayoa. This alternative approach is bound to stimulate not only the visual side of your brain but also your motivation because it will give you a complete picture of all the knowledge you’re accruing through revising.
And, if all else fails, you should get active with your revision in order to avoid boredom. Multiple studies have found that one of the most effective ways to retain knowledge is actually to teach someone else. By teaching others and being taught by others with mind maps, not only will your visual senses be engaged but so too your auditory and tactile senses, getting your entire brain working hard for your revision aims.
Mind mapping techniques are not novel to the world of education, but digital mind mapping allows you to do way more than you’ll be able to do with a pen and paper. The visually pleasing features of mind mapping help you to retain more information for a longer period, the chronological structure of mind maps helps you organise your work by focusing on the more important topics and the text-easy format, colourful display and newer forms of mind map will keep your brain from getting bored.
You couldn’t find a better tool to ensure revising in an efficient and effective manner. So start using mind maps today to perform better in exams and to produce well-thought and planned essays!
We all have dreaded starting revision at some point and chosen the path of procrastinating… Share with us, the craziest excuse you’ve given yourself to avoid doing your work.Read More 》
Mind maps and homes aren’t a natural pairing. After all, mind maps extract thoughts from the minds of their creators, out onto open canvases; they’re fuelled by restless creativity which branches outwardly; they cross every border, favouring imagery over language; they’re for adventurous minds.
So why put a roof over the world of mind mapping? Because contrary to popular belief, that is exactly what mind maps want …
Intertwined into their expansive creativity, closely lies another fundamental of mind maps. Connections. Instead of ideas, facts, concepts etc. being scattered across endless documents, mind maps purposefully bring them into close proximity with another for connections to be seen and made. Whilst the sprawling format of mind maps catches the eye, their deep love for connections shouldn’t come as a surprise; mind maps are a product and reflection of the brain (the house of all our interconnected thoughts).
However, despite the brain being the most powerful computer on the planet – which even in the first few years of life creates more than 1 million new neural connections every second – it does struggle with placing more than one thing at “front of mind”. Being able to appreciate the endless connections which your brain develops is therefore tricky to recognise. Why our brains love mind maps then, is that they are essentially an opportunity for them to show off all the clever connections they have made!
Along with giving our brains a bit of an ego boost, crafting mind maps also gives them a helping hand with what they can sometimes have problems with – seeing multiple pieces of information at once. Considering how extraordinary the brain is at creating connections without the assistance of mind maps, when it’s presented with a visual encompassment of knowledge to absorb, new connections are discovered in a frenzy. For the brain, mind maps are creativity catnip!
The effect this has on an individual level is brilliant. However, in a modern world of technology where even a meta-verse is in tantalisingly close distance, what’s to stop the content of the minds of others from being shared with one another?
To achieve this, like the surface-level notion of mind maps, perhaps people could keep sprawling out, making connections with a random collection of people and picking up sporadic knowledge along the way. Or, in a way which reflects a deeper understanding of mind maps, people with a shared interest in innovation, maximising their brain power, developing their imagination, and honing creative thinking techniques, could be brought closer together to intentionally form more meaningful connections.
Knowing what amazing results can be achieved when resources are brought together, that is precisely why we have pursued the latter option, creating a home for mind mapping at mind-map.com. Here, the core principles of mind mapping will be achieved:
Together they make a formidable combination which can only be improved in one way … community. That means you, everyone who loves to mind map, and us (the mind-map.com team). Spearheaded by Chris Griffiths – the world’s leading expert on mind mapping – we will be sure to keep you inspired with regular articles, templates, news and much more on mind maps and their creative output! But to really get the creative coals crackling on the fire, we’re thrilled to announce that very soon the mind-map.com will be a collaborative space.
A unique opportunity is therefore on the horizon for those who would like to play a leading role in inspiring others to engage in the phenomenal learning/ creativity/ productivity technique which is mind mapping. To become an officially recognised contributor to this global community, please click here to register your interest via email and we will be sure to get in contact with you quickly. Thought-leading articles, inspiring mind map templates, community mind mapping initiatives, plus lots more are all welcome here!
So there you have it, an introductory snapshot into the vision of mind-map.com. Like with any mind map, what it will evolve into, we can’t say for certain, but one thing for sure is that we are very excited to find out and have you here with us as part of the mind mapping community. Please do join us and see mind-map.com as both a blank canvas of opportunity and also one brimming with knowledge waiting to be connected.
For the love of mind mapping,
The mind-map.com team 😀Read More 》
It is estimated that up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK have some degree of dyslexia. Dyslexia is a lifelong, neurological difference which can have a significant impact during education, in the workplace and in everyday life. Everyone’s experience is unique and symptoms can range from mild to severe. Dyslexia can present a variety of challenges on a daily basis; with it affecting so many people, having the right tools to help support their thinking can have a truly positive impact on their everyday lives.
People with dyslexia often show strengths in creative thinking, and visual learning can help to support this. For many years, people who have dyslexia have found mind mapping to be a simple and highly effective way to help improve the way they learn, view and organize information. Dyslexia can affect a large range of actions, including spelling, processing information, concentration and organizational skills. With the right tools, the strengths and talents of those with dyslexia can really shine.
Read on to discover how mind mapping can be a useful and effective tool for those with dyslexia to process and organize information.
As a hidden difference and something that affects people in such different ways, the effects of dyslexia are often misunderstood. Visual learning strategies prove to be highly effective for dyslexic thinkers. Imagery, in particular, conveys a message without the need for elongated words, helping to retain memory and improve organization.
Visual learning can truly unlock your creative potential. And for those with dyslexia, who tend to have a natural tendency towards creative thinking, visual learning can provide an extremely useful and effective way to manage daily tasks.
Visuals enable us to easily see the bigger picture and remove the complexity of certain pieces of information. Research by design consultancy, Zabisco, discovered that 40% of people respond better to visual information than plain text. Visual cues and stimuli allow us to better receive and remember information. The brain is capable of absorbing 36,000 visual images every hour, making it an extremely effective way of processing and retaining information.
According to ‘The Index of Learning Styles’, developed by Dr Richard Felder and Barbara Soloman, there are four dimensions of learning styles:
Whilst learning styles vary for every person, the benefits of visual learning for dyslexic thinkers is significant. So, how does this relate to mind mapping? Mind maps use a unique combination of colours, imagery, and visual-spatial arrangement to help support and stimulate our thinking processes – making them a truly effective tool for dyslexics and visual learners to manage anything from their daily tasks to capturing and expanding on their creative ideas.
A mind map is a visual thinking tool, displaying connecting thoughts which radiate out from one central idea. Ideal for exploring ideas and presenting information in a uniquely visual way, a mind map uses a mix of keywords, colours, and imagery to prompt memory and association. They can provide dyslexic people with a better way to organize and assimilate information. People all around the world use mind maps for:
Organizational skills can be a challenge for dyslexics. Fortunately, mind mapping is a tool that makes it easy to organize tasks and ideas in one, visual display. You can easily add separate branches to categorize information into different areas. You can also use different colours to differentiate each branch, making it easy to instantly identify the information you need without feeling overwhelmed.
Many dyslexic people can find it a challenge trying to get their initial ideas down on a blank page. However, by drawing a mind map, your central idea provides a starting point from which to expand. From here, it’s easier to see how ideas connect together and where they can grow. This approach gives the flexibility to get ideas down, and then add a more linear structure at a later point.
Using mind maps can also help with dyslexia by breaking down large pieces of information into more manageable, bite-sized chunks. In the working environment, in particular, writing official documents such as reports or policies can be a challenge as they can present you with a lot of dense, extended information. Mind maps can help to simplify extensive and detailed information by categorizing it into smaller and more manageable pieces. Coupled with images, this can help make gathering the information needed much easier to achieve.
Every mind map begins from a central point, with a central concept. Why not add a central image to the mix? This image is used to represent the topic you want to explore; the visual nature of your central idea helps to stimulate memory and associations in your brain, so any idea you add to your map is automatically anchored to your central idea. This means you’ll never lose sight of your main topic or theme.
Mind maps work by visually capturing the various connected trains of thought which happen in your brain when you think of an idea. Rather than generating rigid or even robotic branches to seal information, craft your branches with freedom and fluidity to further stimulate your thinking process.
Use different colours for each key branch topic and for highlighting key ideas. This allows you to easily categorize different areas of your mind map using visual indicators, making the information on your mind map much easier to process.
Add images to your mind maps to support your ideas and help to identify certain topics at a glance. Add an image directly to a branch to represent each idea. Adding these images helps to make your mind map more engaging, ideal for presenting information and communicating ideas.
Thanks to their highly visual format and lack of emphasis upon words, mind maps provide dyslexic thinkers with stronger independence and boosted confidence to capture and develop their ideas. In a fluid environment such as mind maps they are given the freedom to flexibly explore ideas how their brains wish to, and the opportunity to organize content in a friendly way. With the world we live in being dominated by linear working formats such as essays, reports, to-do lists etc. the availability of mind maps for dyslexic individuals offers a valuable opportunity for them to excel.
With 1 in 10 people having dyslexia, mind mapping might well be a valuable tool for someone you know. Or maybe it already is. Do you have any positive stories of mind mapping supporting dyslexia? Share below in the comments!Read More 》
Studies have shown that three-quarters of our time is spent retrieving information. And it’s seriously diminishing our concentration. When important information is spread across a variety of different tools and programs, it makes it tough to get things done. The truth is, when our attention is scattered we often lose sight of our end goal. Focus can be the difference between success and failure, but luckily we’re here to help improve yours.
Mind mapping will let you cut through the noise and give you the freedom to think. You’ll be able to tidy up cluttered information and increase your concentration. Below, we’ve noted down our top tips to reclaim your focus. Take a look and put them into practice.
Information can be overwhelming. When we experience information overload, our brains become fatigued and we end up being more forgetful – neither of which is ideal. Fortunately, in mind maps you can break down large amounts of information into bite-sized chunks by using keywords. This will condense your information into a more manageable load. Plus, by capturing the most crucial details, you won’t get flustered by what doesn’t immediately require your attention, and will instead stay focused on the task at hand.
No matter how large a project or task, mind mapping will help to give you a clear understanding of any topic. A mind map gives information in a way that appeals to your brain, helping to present even the most complex of information in a simple form. Colour code branches to hone in on what you need to know, not what’s nice to know. Use icons, such as flags, to organise and prioritise important text. Use relationship arrows to highlight connections between similar topics. By maintaining a clear and structured mind map, struggling to get your head around dense topics will be a thing of the past.
A mind map presents information in a visual and appealing way, encouraging you to draw out creative solutions and focus on the problem at hand. Thanks to their radiating format, mind maps mimic the natural way your brain processes information. With this in mind, customise your mind map in a way that’s unique to you. For instance, make your mind map memorable by using images to add context to keywords. In return, your mind map will encourage you to be more creative, turbo-charging you towards resolutions. Mind maps’ friendly nudge towards creativity is a powerful tonic to mundaneness which often leads to a lack of focus. Why? As creating, innovating and imagining is what makes us feel purposeful and human, a sure-fire way to keep you feeling inspired. As a result, by making goals more attainable and tasks more achievable through boosted creativity, you will find your loss of focus lost to the past!
Mind maps are an incredibly versatile resource, principally because they engage further areas of your brain. Contrastingly, when you lose focus, your brain’s power is sapped. As discussed above, how mind maps support your brain is achieved in a variety of ways – breaking down information, offering visual stimuli, encouraging creativity etc. Overall, by offering your brain exactly what it needs to perform to it’s best, mind maps really are the perfect remedy to a loss of focus!
We all have lots to do and things to focus on but could you spare a second to share your best focus-enhancing top tip in the comments below? You might even stumble upon a transformative new technique!Read More 》
Lost for words? Whether it’s a business proposal, blog post, or university essay, most people will have to write something at one time or another, if not on a daily basis. So, we all know the frustration of staring at a blank page, particularly when you’ve got a deadline to meet.
Writer’s block is described as the lost ability to produce new work and the experience of a creative slowdown. But, why does it happen? Frequent causes of writer’s block include a lack of structure, stress, perfectionism and selective thinking. It’s important to remember that writer’s block exists only in your head and can be managed by the tools you use. Read on to discover the primary causes of writer’s block and why mind mapping is a great way to defeat them.
Of course, perfectionism can be a good thing – at the right time. But, with the constant temptation to revise work until you’re happy with every word, perfectionism stalls your ability to write and can sometimes prove frustrating enough to make us want to quit writing altogether. You’ll find yourself re-editing, rearranging and restructuring the same phrases and sentences over and over, losing the momentum you need to complete the first draft.
Rather than expecting to write a perfect first draft, take time to plan your writing beforehand. With mind mapping, anything goes. You’re not limited to entering only your best ideas, so there’s no possibility of getting writer’s block. By using keywords to trigger associations, get all your thoughts down, regardless of their immediate value. Then, develop your initial ideas further with child branches, making sure to not be scared to cover all possible ideas and varying perspectives. Mind mapping encourages you to consider all your options, and become more objective about your thoughts by providing a clear, visual overview.
Having used the expansive format of mind maps to eliminate prejudice against seemingly “less important” thoughts so that you fall into a creative flow, outline key branches with bright colours that highlight your best ideas that you want to write more about. Begin your first draft by using these ideas to help you structure each paragraph. Once your first draft is written, you can then call upon your inner perfectionist to help fine-tune your edit.
If you were to ask someone for advice on how to overcome writer’s block, they’d probably say things like ‘get up from your desk’, ‘have a walk around’, or ‘go and make a coffee’. And these things may work, for a sentence or two. That’s because by taking a break from writing, you’re giving your brain time to think in different directions and make new associations.
When you sit in front of a computer and start typing, you often continue on from the last sentence that you wrote. By thinking sequentially, you’re going to end up in writer’s block because your ideas are limited to this sequence, preventing you from thinking in alternative directions.
A visual thinking process like mind mapping helps you to avoid the shortcomings of sequential and linear thinking. Mind mapping stimulates generative thinking, a crucial element of the creative process. By sparking ideas and your vivid imagination through images and associations, mind mapping reflects the way the human brain thinks. When thinking about a problem or concept, did you know that the first 30% of your ideas tend to be the most obvious? Mind mapping allows you to go beyond the obvious, stretching your imagination to unearth truly unique and creative ideas. The more creative and well-developed your ideas become, the more these will fuel your writing and surpass the limits of writer’s block.
Here at mind-map.com, we like to practise what we preach. Before writing this blog post, I created a mind map of my ideas and accumulated research regarding writer’s block, adding images to spark new thoughts. For instance, I created branches with the titles ‘Cause’ and ‘Solution’ and used child branches to build upon these. I highlighted my best ideas and used these to form paragraphs. With this clear structure and map of developed ideas, I was able to produce a continuous flow of writing. Creating a mind map before I started writing allowed me to break down my work into manageable chunks. So, when writer’s block inevitably hit and my momentum began to slow, I had my own visual guide to help me fill in the blanks and get back on track.
Have you ever used mind mapping to produce a wonderous piece of writing? Let us know in the comments below!Read More 》
Whether you’re starting a business, launching a new service line, or repositioning your products in the marketplace, you need to determine whether the industry is worth operating in. It’s important to expose any factors or threats which could hamper your business growth or cause your market value to drop. To help you make better market predictions and develop more competitive business strategies, visualise your strategic position by mind mapping a ‘Five Forces’ industry analysis.
The Five Forces analysis was created by the business strategist, Michael Porter, to assess the profitability of an industry. The tool evaluates five forces, including the bargaining power of suppliers and buyers, competitive rivalry, and the threat of new entrants and substitutes. If you look at Porter’s original model (shown above), it almost looks like a mind map already. By translating Porter’s model into a mind map, you can explore your ideas in an unlimited workspace without losing focus. Mind maps consolidate large amounts of information on one clear and concise canvas, thanks to their radiating structure. Plus, using single keywords per branch helps to trigger associations in your brain, sparking new ideas and encouraging you to thoroughly analyse your industry.
Begin by creating a mind map using the five forces as the main branches radiating from your central idea. Explore each force further by creating child branches related to each of the five elements.
The companies that you purchase from can play a large part in the make-up of your product or service. Depending on their bargaining power and the level of demand, they can dictate the pricing and availability of resources in your industry. In this section of your mind map, you need to determine how easy it is for suppliers to drive up their prices.
Mind mapping provides a clear visual way for you to see exactly where you and your suppliers stand. Create colour-coded branches for each supplier, with child branches detailing their costs, locations, and distribution channels. You can then compare them to see which offers the best value. Consider factors such as the number of suppliers, the uniqueness of their product or service, and switching costs. Use visual flags, such as green ticks and red crosses, to highlight the positives and negatives of each supplier. Colours and images encourage an emotional response and will help you to pinpoint the major differences between your suppliers.
Buyers dictate the level of demand for your product or service. If your buyers have a lot of options to choose from, and there are a few buyers who command a big slice of the market, they can eat into the profits of your industry. Here you need to assess how easy it is for buyers to drive your prices down.
As you did in the first section of your mind map, look at the positives and negatives of your potential buyers. Use colour-coded branches to explore the different avenues that the buyer could purchase from, such as a brick-and-mortar shop or online service. Consider factors that will affect the power of your buyers such as the number of buyers in the market, the importance of each individual buyer to your business, and the cost of switching to a competitor, to help you determine where the buyers are most likely to purchase.
A substitute can refer to any alternative that meets the same need as your product or service. If your products can be easily replaced with an alternative, you will find a problem getting high-profit margins. In this section of your mind map, you need to determine if your product or service is easily imitated.
The unlimited canvas of your mind map will allow you to fully examine the substitutes in your industry. How do they compare to your own product or service? Consider brand loyalty, switching costs, trends, and quality. Use child branches to drill down into the strengths and weaknesses of potential alternatives. From this, you will be able to build a clear picture of your position. The visual overview of a mind map will help you to identify connections and comparisons between substitutes and rivals, as well as the trends and behaviours of the industry. Being able to see the bigger picture allows you to see every competitor at a glance. Plus, it’s extremely useful to uncover gaps and spot potential threats that could easily go undetected using a linear method, keeping you one step ahead.
How easy is it for a newcomer to compete with your business? If new entrants move into an industry they will gain market share, the rivalry will intensify and profit margins will plummet. Your position in the market is stronger if there are high barriers to entry.
Now, examine the threat of new entrants in your market. As you did in the previous section of your mind map, create child branches detailing the barriers that will prevent newcomers from entering the market. Think about factors such as investment costs, access to distribution channels, legal restrictions, intellectual property, and strong existing brands already competing in an industry that might deter newcomers.
This is the advantage that you have over the competition. In this section of your mind map, the quantity of and capability of your competitors are the focus. If you have many competitors, and they offer equally attractive products and services, then your suppliers and buyers are likely to go elsewhere if they don’t get a good deal from you.
On your mind map, create a branch for each of your main competitors with child branches exploring their strengths and weaknesses, and any opportunities or threats that could arise as a result. What are the objectives of your competitors? Are they driving for huge profit margins or increasing their market share? Why not create a SWOT Analysis mind map to explore each competitor? The radiating structure of a mind map will help your brain to digest all the ideas and information surrounding your competitors and bring them into clear focus. Mind mapping gives your brain a pre-structured framework for association, ensuring that you pay attention to every detail.
Translating Porter’s Five Forces industry analysis into a mind map provides you with a strong visual overview. Connections and comparisons can be easily visualised and the radiant structure combined with single keywords per branch encourages a more in-depth analysis. With a clear understanding of the balance of power within your industry, you can take fair advantage of a strong situation, improve a weak situation, draw accurate conclusions and make the most informed strategic decisions.
Can you imagine what a Five Forces mind map would look like for some of the products you love? Or maybe you’ve actually used this technique for your own business before. Share your thoughts on the above below in the comments section!Read More 》