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Mind Mapping, Software, Tools and Tutorials for Brain Storming and Mind Map

What is a Mind Map and What is Mind Mapping ?

Mind Mapping concept creates a Mind Map, a visual map of ideas, thoughts and informations around a central topic. Mind Mapping software and Mind Map tools enables individuals and organizations to organize ideas and to communicate on ideas by provided by a visual mind map.

Mind Mapping concept and basic rules for a mind map were first introduced by Tony Buzan as a visual way of thinking and organizing thoughts on paper.

Before I meet with Mind Mapping and a mind mapping software like MindJet, I had no idea about "What is a Mind Map?".
But I had tried to draw my ideas on some specific topics on paper to make my ideas clear and visually visible to me. Perhaps you are already studying like this, by sketching ideas on paper.
If you take a blank sheet of paper and take notes on your thoughts and ideas around a central topic, connecting ideas with related ideas using lines and curves, then you are really familier with mind mapping concept.

Here is my first mind mapping brainstorming drawings without knowing anything about the Mind Map concept.
Although my first mind map has many inappropriate usages in basic Mind Mapping rules, I found it useful for long time to set goals and concantrate on high priority items on the mind chart. If you continue reading following sections of the tutorial, you can see what is missing in my first mind map sample. Just continue to read how to create your first mind mapping diagram.

my first primitive mind mapping trial without knowing the concept
My first mind mapping trial without knowing anything about Mind Map

Now I've been using MindJet mind mapping software for a while to create visual maps of my ideas on topics including work, Kodyaz.com, etc.
Some other mind mapping tools like iMindMap are also have common use in the community.
You can find a full list of mind mapping softtare and tools to create a map of your thoughts and ideas by visualizing them with one of these tools.

Making Lists is Difficult, a Plan is More Difficult

Yes, making lists is difficult especially if your ideas are not clear.
While creating a list we force our mind to prioritize items and add to list according to priority values calculated at that limited time.
But our brain does not work in that way. While adding a new item to the list, mind makes calls to items, text and images, memories which are related with the previous list item. So our mind produces bubbles like items from branch to leaves. And generally jumps from one branch to others. The brain and mind does not remember all items sharing the same hierarchy level concurrently. It is a complex process which can not be explained just like listing item in a regular order.

On the other hand, mind mapping method let's you create lists seemlessly during the brainstorming session.
When you launch your favorite mind mapping tool, and start creating ideas around the central topic you will realize how is your to-do list is created by mind mapping method. Most of mind mapping software let's users to assign priority levels to ideas created within the mind map. And some of these mind mapping applications will enable users to filter mind-map items and ideas using the priority levels assigne to them. So at the end of brain storming and mind mapping session, by applying a filter to your ideas, you will end up with a list of most important challenges, ideas and insirations.

We talk about Visual Thinking not Lineer Mathematics

Nature is not lineer itself but mathematics have a branch dealing on lineer geometry. Our brand does not also produce lineer ideas during a creative period. It might be useful to use lineer diagrams to explain ideas to others or to wrote outcomes of a brain storming session of a group onto a paper. But thinking lineer is not a method of a creative mind.
Be visual not lineer while thinking, mind mapping and braing storming.

What does it mean to be visual in mind mapping?
Easy to answer. Use curves between connected ideas. Type just keywords or short key phrases on top of curves. Do not write all your thoughts while you put that curve into your mind map. Use colors in your mind map. Take different and colorful markers to build your mind map. Colors will energize your brain. Let your brain remember items on the mind map easily. Use pictures and graphs on your mind map. Pictures are like colors, make your brain concentrate on the mind mapping item, creating visual connections to other items and ideas and remember them later easily.

Create your first Mind Mapping diagram

Let's now put a side the mind mapping software, and start creating your first mind mapping diagram. This will be your mind map containing distributed ideas around a certain topic.
Before you start, take some empty white sheets of paper and borrow colorful pencils from your kids :)
Let's start our first creating mind map sample case.

Put main topic in the center of your mind map

The first step in a mind mapping or creating a mind map session is to define the main topic. As I might talked about this before, in my first mind mapping experience without knowing about this creative method I just started with main islands of topics. In fact all these islands of ideas was related with my information technolog (IT) career, creativity and targets in life. Actually if you do not know where to start, if the brain storming is related with you, put your self as the main topic. If you are in a company meeting, put your company name as the main topic and start mind mapping.

place central idea and related ideas in mind mapping
A mind map around SQL database central topic created by MindJet Mind Mapping software

Place your ideas and thought around topics onto mind mapping graph

Second step and which will continue till the end of your mind mapping process is to create ideas and place your thoughts on the paper. Connect new ideas related with existing one on your mind mapping drawing. If your new idea can be thought under an existing topic, then place it as a subtopic of existing topic on mind map.
Like branches of a tree, use thick curves while connecting main topic to its subtopics. And try to use thinner curves at each level like a tree's branches from its body to leaves.

Sometimes you create ideas not directly related with the main topic or any of subtopics written on the paper or on board yet. Do not hesitate to write them too. Just add those as independent topics on your mind map graph. Let them grow with related sub-topics, ideas and thoughts.

Use curved lines and stay away using lineer lines to connect and related ideas on your mind map. Do not forget mind mapping is drawing your ideas and thoughts relate with each other onto a paper forming mind map in a fast way. Always try to use round lines and curves between your thoughts as connections.

Use colour to be more visual

Make your mind map colorful. Try to build your mind map with sub topics sharing same color. If you are working on mind mapping your life, use green color for your family related topics. May be you can use red color for marketing department related ideas in a mind map where your company is the main topic. Recently I build a SEO mind map for Kodyaz, I used blue color for content sub topic on the other hand I prefered to use orange color for generating traffic.

Use images for visualizing mind map

Feel free to use drawings, images, graphs, photos or any other visual objects to add more visualization to your mind map. Mind mapping must be visual. A mind map is the shadow of your ideas in your brain, who can say you only think with text and numbers. Rememberings are most formed of images in the brain.

No images, use keywords and phrases

If for a connection or branch, if you can not visualize easily use short mostly single keywords or phrases. Do not use long explanations for connecting curves, these will limit your ideas when you return back and look at that part of your mind map.

Clouds everwhere

I know clouds is most favorite IT term these days, but the cloud term in mind mapping means grouping your ideas on the map by forming clouds in shape. Forming a cloud will cover grouped ideas or actions on your mind map which are related with some specific issue. Perhaps you will assing a task to someone in the meeting to be responsible for the actions to be taken for ideas contained in the cloud.

colorful mind mapping diagram with clouds
Use of colorful clouds in a Mind Map graph

Create more relations between ideas on Mind Mapping diagram

You know nerves in our brain have more than one connection relating that nerve with others. So why your ideas on your mind map will have only topic and subtopic relation? There is not such a rule, if you see an idea or thought on mind mapping graph is also related with another idea on an other section of the mind map related it immediately. This is how our brain works with nerves. If a nerve or a node of ideas and thoughts is isolated from others it has no chance to survive.
You can use relationship arrows for connecting ideas of different topics to make a more meaningful and creative mind map.

Do more than listed here, add Smell to your mind mapping

You can even add smells in your mind map. If you are creating a mind mapping diagram for a restraunt why don't you use the smell of cinnamon on your food and also when you welcome your guests to your restraunt. You can simply add a visual image, a photo that will remember you the smell of that item in real life. Add the smell of flowers for your meals by drawing a picture of it on your mind map.

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