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Using Mind Maps Effectively

This section presents information on using Mind Maps in a variety of ways. It is not meant to represent an exhaustive record of the ways in which Mind Maps can be used. It is intended to provide some illustrations of the different ways of using them together with some practical tips which you may find useful. If you want to see examples of Mind Maps, The Mind Map Book by Tony Buzan (BBC Books, ISBN 0-563-37101-3) provides additional ideas and examples. This section contains explanations of the following:

Note-taking from the written and spoken word Group Mind Mapping Mind Mapping for creativity Using Mind Maps for studying Running workshops using Mind Maps Computerised Mind Maps Mind Map users' stories

What do you use Mind Maps for? Has drawing a Mind Map ever improved your presentation skills, made you considerably more organised or given you a ground breaking idea? Have you ever used a Mind Map for something unusual? Do you have any ideas for using Mind Maps, that you would like to share with others? Do you use them for group projects or for study? Whether it's to tell us you used the tool to develop a revolutionary invention or to organise your monthly budget - we want to hear your stories! And with your permission would like to include them in this section. Please e-mail them to us.

Note Taking
Note Taking from the Spoken Word
The approach suggested below can be used to take notes from, speeches, lectures, videos, television, meetings and conversations. 1. Get your central image from the title of whatever it is you are listening to, watching or taking part in. If necessary wait until it becomes clear. 2. It helps to have your main branches already prepared. This may be discovered by asking the speaker for the main topics. 3. To build up your skill and confidence, you may want to try the following:

Start with a low risk activity such as a TV show or the news. Create a Mind Map from your linear notes, highlighting the KEY words for your main branches. Work with a buddy. One makes a Mind Map, the other makes linear notes. Compare after the lecture
or meeting.

As a back up use a small tape recorder to record the talk. If you feel you are getting behind, lost
or in a mess, note the tape counter number and check or add to your Mind Map later. 4. If you wish to re-do or re-order your Mind Map because it looks messy consider what messy means. Does the Mind Map look messy or is the organisation of the information messy? Note that linear notes may look neat, but informationally they are often very messy; it is hard to get the information back from the notes at a glance. A hurried Mind Map may occasionally look messy, but informationally it is still neater and clearer. If it

is appropriate you can always make it more beautiful and finely organised when you review or redo it. (Note: click the image to view a larger version - Mind Map of notes from interview skills lecture). 5. The most important themes and KEY words can be moved from many specific, detailed Mind Maps onto a MASTER MIND MAP. This can be magnificent review process and also can show the connections and relationships between information, even from different disciplines.

Note Taking from the written word

The approach suggested below can be used to summarise books, magazines, articles and reports. 1. The idea for your central image may be stimulated by the covers, logos of any other graphics or images from the material you are reading. 2. The major branches (Basic Ordering Ideas) could be supplied by:

chapter headings divsion headings goals questions

3. Browse and range read (range reading is the ability to have a choice of reading speeds to adjust to your mood and the material) the information, adding layers of detail as needed. 4. Remember to SELECT actively the information you need and REJECT that which you do not. 5. HIGHLIGHT the KEY WORDS which will provide the triggers to large quantities of additional data.

Group Mind Mapping

Mind Maps are an excellent vehicle for effective group working. There are several different ways in which Mind Maps can be used by groups. One way is to use a process called Brain Blooming as an alternative to Brain Storming. The steps are as follows: 1. Use a Mind Map to capture your individual thoughts. 2. Blend your thoughts with others from a small group. All ideas are added and considered equally. Discuss the Basic Ordering Ideas (BOIs) to converge and catch all the input. Make sure that every one feels as though his/her individual ideas are included. Remember all ideas are accepted at the initial stage. Depending on the purpose of the Mind Map, you may want to experiment with different ways of working with the BOIs:

Agreeing BOIs before you start working on your individual Mind Maps makes combining Mind Maps

easier, but can restrict creativity. Dont discuss BOIs in advance so that different approaches and perspectives are promoted. Do ensure that you allow enough time to discuss and agree BOIs that accommodate everyones ideas. 3. Amalgamate all small group Mind Maps onto one large Mind Map for a true representation of the groups thinking. 4. Have a Miscellaneous branch for ideas that do not fit anywhere else to ensure that ALL ideas are captured.

There are a number of advantages of Group Mind Mapping over brainstorming:

Each person has thinking time to generate his/her own ideas. The ideas are shared equally and BOIs that will capture the meaning of all concepts are agreed. The radiant hierarchy means judging is reduced e.g. top, bottom or lost in the middle. Ideas are grouped as they are collected on the main theme branches. Connections may be seen between branches and ideas.

Mind Mapping for Creativity and Creative Problem-Solving

Mind Maps are the ideal tool for effectively accessing natural creativity and harnessing that creativity for effective problem solving. The main branches of the Mind Map can be used in a variety of ways to support thinking. The only limit to the ways in which Mind Maps can be used is the imagination. Some of the ways the main branches can be used are as follows: Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats - This is a well known technique for getting out of the box of habitual thinking. It originated as a way of helping groups to get away from the conflict that characterises many meetings by adopting different thinking modes. See the Mind Map and notes on the following pages. Edward de Bonos PNI approach. This is a simple way of approaching problems by analysing points on the basis of whether something is Positive, Negative or Interesting . Questions. Making the main branches questions can often act as an impetus for effective problem solving. The usual questions are Who, What, Where, Why, When and How. Checklists. One way of using checklists would be to take an item and use the checklist to stimulate thinking about alternative uses. Typical branches may be: Magnify, Minify, Substitute, Rearrange, Reverse and Combine. Forced Relationships and Analogies. One of the main challenges for anyone wishing to be creative is in provoking their thinking away from existing paradigms. There are a number of ways of doing this, such as thinking of similarities to or differences from some of the more or less random words. The choice of words is arbitrary since the key here is to provoking thinking. Typical words (branches) may be: Animals, Transport, People, Textures, Shapes etc. Attribute lists. Again, primarily used to provoke thinking by looking at existing problems, objects or situations in new ways. The way this technique works is simply to list different attributes and then use the natural process of the Mind Map to think divergently.

Using Mind Maps for Studying

The Mind Map Organic Study Technique (MMOST)
Mind Maps have been used by students of all ages and at all levels for many years with dramatic results. The MMOST technique is described in Tony Buzans Use Your Head book. There are eight basic steps: 1. Very quickly browse or look through the entire book or article, getting a general feel for the way it is organised. 2. Work out the length of time to be spent studying and determine the amount of material to be covered in that time. 3. Mind Map what you already know in that subject area in order to establish associative mental grappling hooks.

4. Define your aims and objectives for this study session and complete a different Mind Map of all the questions that need to be answered. 5. Take an overview of the text, looking at the table of contents, major headings, results, conclusions, summaries, major illustrations or graphs, and any other important elements which catch your eye. This process will give you the central image and main branches (or Basic Ordering Ideas) of your new polycategoric Mind Map of the text. Many students report that they have often completed 90% of their learning task by the time they finish the overview stage. By focusing on the overall structure and major elements of the text, the authors essential ordering impetus rapidly becomes clear and can easily be Mind Mapped. 6. Now move on to the preview, looking at all the material not covered in the overview, particularly the beginnings and ends of paragraphs, sections and chapters, where the essential information tends to be concentrated. Add to your Mind Map. 7. The next stage is the inview, in which you fill in the build of the learning puzzle, still skipping over any major problem areas. Having familiarised yourself with the rest of the text, you should now find it much easier to understand these passages and bulk out your Mind Map. 8. Finally there is the review stage, in which you go back over the difficult areas you skipped in the earlier stages and look back over the text to answer any remaining questions or fulfil any remaining objectives. At this point you should complete your Mind Map notes.

Running Workshops Using Mind Maps

Mind Maps are an extremely powerful facilitation tool. The ideal situation is where the workshop participants are all conversant with Mind Maps. However, since the basic technique of Mind Mapping is easy to learn, in a workshop there are many ways in which the technique can be used effectively. Typical uses of Mind Maps in workshops include:

Strategic analysis (e.g. SWOT, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Marketing

developing a marketing plan product analysis developing creative promotional ideas pooling market/competitor analysis Performance improvement - reducing costs - revenue enhancement Process improvement - redesign Visioning - at a departmental, subsidiary or whole company level Problem solving

Mind Maps can be used in conjunction with other tools and techniques to manage and facilitate workshops. If you require experience in particular areas, Illumine Ltd are able to recommend Consultants who are also experienced Mind Mappers. One option is to combine learning how to Mind Map with addressing a particular issue or challenge. Mind Map is a registered trademark of the Buzan organisation. Illumine has worked closely with the Buzan organisation throughout its existence. We are an independent training company and are committed to promoting Buzan's work and ideals. We use many highly experienced Buzan licensed instructors as well as our own Illumine licensed Mind Mapping experts.

Computerised Mind Maps

At Illumine Training we use both hand drawn and computerised Mind Maps every day. We regard Mind Mapping software as an additional rather than a replacement tool. Computerised Mind Maps have many of the benefits of hand drawn Mind Maps, and a few others as well. They are ideal for:

Remote group working Communicating ideas Work/time management (hyperlinks to other software packages are especially useful) Presentations On-going projects

Mind Mapping software is easy to use and can be formatted to produce very clear, easy to read Mind Maps, making it a very powerful communication tool. For full details of various Mind Mapping software packages or for a FREE trial, please click on the icon below to visit the Mind Mapping Software area of this site.

Mind Mapping Users' Stories

Training people in Mind Mapping is extremely satisfying since we are constantly hearing stories of how Mind Maps have totally transformed how people work and learn. What do you use Mind Maps for? Has drawing a Mind Map ever improved your presentation skills, made you considerably more organised or given you a ground breaking idea? Have you ever used a Mind Map for something unusual? Do you have any ideas for using Mind Maps that you would like to share with others? Do you use them for group projects or for study? Whether it's to tell us you used the tool to develop a revolutionary invention or to organise your monthly budget - we want to hear your stories! And with your permission would like to include them in this section. Please email them to us.

Here are a selection of Mind Mapping User's Stories

In 1993/4 I used a mind map on an A2 sheet when setting up my training company. I define, design and create curricula, courses and training modules using mind maps; I take notes in meetings using mind maps; I structure reports using mind maps for my Business consultancy practice; I espouse the virtues of mind maps continuously. Director, Business Consultancy Practice I use Mind Mapping to brain dump after a phone call or other event when I wasn't able to take adequate notes. I also use it during presentations or meetings to take notes and find it useful for getting started on a brand new task, when otherwise I wouldn't know where to begin. Director, Quality Assurance and Control I have used Mind Mapping to look at the rules of golf in a different fashion. There are 34 rules over 120 subsections and 1100 decisions on those rules. The rules are all in typeface fashion and by transferring it to a Mind Map format you are able to visualise the rule a lot better. I have also used Mind Mapping for students to be able to give them a visual image of what their faults are and the cures. Mind Mapping enables me to build the picture and that directly leads to more enjoyment of the game of golf. PGA Master Professional and Golf Consultant I have just prepared a set of competencies for a management development course accredited through the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM). Learning and Development Company

How to Make a Mind Map

The 'Laws of Mind Mapping' were originally devised by Tony Buzan when he codified the use of imagery, colour and association and coined the phrase 'Mind Mapping'. In the intervening 30 plus years, there have been many variations on the original 'Mind Map ' and the widespread usage of mapping software of various sorts, has dramatically changed what is possible.

The summary below is based on Buzan's structure (a 'Mind Mapping, how to' - details available in his many books) but we believe that whilst this structure is great for establishing well structured maps that can be used in many different ways, variations on these rules or 'laws' are often sensible and appropriate - as long as they are based on an understanding of why the laws exist and what they are trying to help the mind mapper to achieve.

The Mind Map above was produced using iMindMap.

1. Take a blank piece of paper, A4 or larger.

Blank paper allows 360 of freedom to express the full range of your cortical skills, whereas pre-drawn lines restrict the natural flow of your thoughts. Words and images have more space in the direction we write, so they dont bump into margins as quickly. Thoughts start in the centre of our mental world. The Mind Map page reflects this! A picture is worth a thousand words. It opens up associations, focuses the thoughts, is fun and results in better recall: Colours stimulate the right cortical activity of imagination as well as capturing and holding attention. This size gives plenty of space for the rest of your Mind Map, while making it large enough to be the clear focus of

2. Use the paper in landscape orientation. 3. Start in the centre. 4. Make a central image that represents the topic about which you are writing/thinking: Use at least three colours. Keep the height and width of the central image to approx. 2 or 5 cm (proportionately larger for bigger

paper). Allow the image to create its own shape (do not use a frame).

the topic. The unique shape makes it more memorable and enjoyable. A frame makes the centre a monotony of shape and disconnects the branches.

5. The main themes around the central image The main themes, connected to the central image on the main are like the chapter headings of a book: branches, allow their relative importance to be seen. These are the Basic Ordering Ideas (BOIs) and aggregate and focus the rest of the Mind Map: Print this word in CAPITALS or draw an image. Printing (versus cursive) allows the brain to photograph the Place on a line of the same length image thus giving easier reading and more immediate The central lines are thick, curved and recall. organic i.e. like your arm joining your Word length equals line length. An extra line disconnects body, or the branch of a tree to the thoughts, length accentuates the connection. trunk. Curved lines give visual rhythm and variety and so are easier to remember, more pleasant to draw and less boring Connect directly to the central image. to look at. Thicker central lines show relative importance. Connected to the image because the brain works by association not separated, disconnected lines.

6. Start to add a second level of thought. Your initial words and images stimulate associations. Attach These words or images are linked to the main whatever word or image is triggered. Allow the random branch that triggered them. Remember: movement of your thought; you do not have to finish one branch before moving on: Connecting lines are thinner. Words are still printed but may be lower case. 7. Add a third or fourth level of data as thoughts come to you: Use images as much as you can, instead of, or in addition to the words. Allow your thoughts to come freely, meaning you jump about the Mind Map as the links and associations occur to you. To make some important points stand out. Connected lines create relationships and a structure. They also demonstrate the level of importance, as from a branch to a twig. The size and style of the letters provide additional data about the importance and meaning of the word/image.

Your brain is like a multi-handed thought-ball catcher. The Mind Map allows you to catch and keep whatever thought ball is thrown by your brain.

8. Add a new dimension to your Mind Map. Boxes add depth around the word or image.

9. Sometimes enclose branches of a Mind Map The outlines will create unique shapes as you find in clouds and with outlines in colour: will aid your memory: Enclose the shape of the branch and hug the shape tightly. Use different colours and styles. These provide immediate visual linking. They can also encourage follow-up and remind you of action you need to take. They can also show connection between branches by using the same colour outline.

10. Make each Mind Map a little more: BEAUTIFUL ARTISTIC COLOURFUL

Your eyes and brain will be attracted to your Mind Map: It will be easier to remember. It will be more attractive to you


(and to others as well).

11. Have fun!

Your brain will delight in getting the maximum use and enjoyment from this process and will therefore learn faster, Add a little humour, exaggeration or absurdity recall more effectively and think more clearly. wherever you can.

The Definition of Mind Mapping

The Mind Map is an expression of Radiant Thinking and is therefore a natural function of the human mind. It is a powerful graphic technique which provides a universal key to unlocking the potential of the brain. The Mind Map can be applied to every aspect of life where improved learning and clearer thinking will enhance human performance. The Mind Map has four essential characteristics:

The subject of attention is crystallised in a central image. The main themes of the subject radiate from the central image on branches. Branches hold a key image/word printed on the associated line - details radiate out. The branches form a connected nodal structure.

Source: The Mind Map Book, Tony Buzan

Mind Map is a registered trademark of the Buzan organisation. Illumine has worked closely with the Buzan organisation throughout its existence. We are an independent training company and are committed to promoting Buzan's work and ideals. We use many highly experienced Buzan licensed instructors as well as our own Illumine licensed Mind Mapping experts.

How To Read A Mind Map

1. 2. 3. 4. Start in the centre - that is the FOCUS of the Mind Map. Words/Images closest to the central image show the MAIN THEMES of the Mind Map. This is the start of the radiant hierarchical structure. Select one main theme and read out from the centre along the branch. This provides greater levels of associated detail. Proceed around the Mind Map, either in the order of your choice or as suggested by the author. Notice links between the branches.

Mind Map is a registered trademark of the Buzan organisation. Illumine has worked closely with the Buzan organisation throughout its existence. We are an independent training company and are committed to promoting Buzan's work and ideals. We use many highly experienced Buzan licensed instructors as well as our own Illumine licensed Mind Mapping experts.

Frequently asked questions

22 Questions and Answers about Mind Maps Starting

1. What supplies do I need for Mind Mapping? 2. Is there any Mind Mapping software available? 3. I've only got one pen and lined paper - what do I do? 4. Where do I start? 5. I've started taking/making a note linearly; what do I do now?

Colours and Images

6. Must I use colours? 7. How do I use colours? 8. Why use symbols and images?

Words and Lines

9. How do I select main branch themes? 10. What makes a good key recall word? 11. What if a word is repeated on my Mind Map? 12. Why only one word per line? 13. Which is first, the word or the line? 14. Why are the lines connected?

15. What do I do when I get stuck? 16. What do I do with my stupid' thoughts? 17. How can a Mind Map help me to concentrate? 18. I get good ideas at inconvenient times - what should I do? 19. I can't get to sleep. How do I clear my thoughts?

Mind Maps?
20. People ask me what I'm doing? 21. Why would I use a Mind Map? 22. When does a Mind Map end?

Mind Mapping Trouble Shooter

Can't find the answer to your question? Then click here to send us an email and we will do our best to answer your query.

1. What supplies do I need for Mind Mapping?


Good quality blank paper that takes colour well. A variety of coloured pens, pencils and highlighters, correcting (white out) tape.

2. Is there any Mind Mapping Yes, lots! Click here to see a comprehensive review of all the major Mind Mapping software available? software packages. 3. I've only got one pen and Turn the pad sideways and Mind Map over the lines in a single colour. Afterwards lined paper - what do I do? you can highlight or colour the branches (if necessary for the Mind Map). Alternatively you could take linear notes and convert to a Mind Map later. 4. Where do I start? Anywhere! Some people start at 1:00 o'clock and work clockwise or 11:00 o'clock and work anticlockwise. Use random placement to stimulate creative problem solving thoughts. Number branches if necessary after completion.

5. I've started taking/making As soon as you remember, take a fresh page and start to Mind Map. Go back over a note linearly; what do I do your linear notes, extract the key words and add to your Mind Map. now?


6. Must I use colours? It depends on why you are doing the Mind Map. A quick mini-Mind Map in one colour clears and facilitates the thinking process. Often, one colour i.e. black, is best for faxes and copies. However, if the information is to be remembered, considered over time, looked at and enjoyed - then colour (one of your cortical skills) GREATLY enhances its effectiveness. You can use them to: 8. Why use symbols and images? Clearly identify the different topic branches. Code themes that have several branches. Code a topic as it appears on different branches. Code individuals in a story. Code different dates or levels of information. Collect ideas and show connections. Make your Mind Map even more visual. Code different projects. Show sub-topics of a subject.

7. How do I use colours?

Symbols are often very personal. Start creating and playing with your own symbols for common objects, people, projects and concepts.


9. How do I select main branch themes? These are your Basic Ordering Ideas (BOI's). Think of the Mind Map as a general outline for a book on that topic. Your BOIs will always be equivalent to chapter headings; they are the words/images that encompass a number of other ideas within them. BOI's are the key concepts that gather the greatest number of associations to themselves.

10. What makes a good key In standard notes, a very small percentage of words are really important. These are recall word? called key works. They are usually nouns or very strong action words that bring back the precise images and events that you want to remember. Practice selecting them and see if they are the best ones for recall for you. 11. What if a word is repeated on my Mind Map? This is good because it may indicate a new direction in your Mind Map. Each occurrence of the word/image represents another hook or connection and may create a new frame of reference or centre for your Mind Map. If you are using the Mind Map to explore a problem, you may have found a new angle on the problem or the cause.

12. Why only one word per line?

Because each word and image has millions of possible associations. Therefore if you give it its own freedom you will get more ideas from it and be able to remember it more clearly. This is particularly important when trying to take information from your head for essays, reports etc.

13. Which is first, the word On the right side of the Mind Map, you can do about of the line length you think or the line? you'll need. Then write the word on adding any length if necessary. On the left side you need to plan ahead a bit more! If you find you are running out of space you can drop the vowels and the word is usually still clear.

14. Why are the lines connected?

Start with the organic main branch lines almost growing out' of the central image. Show the connection and importance of every branch to another giving an overall structure. It also tells the mind/eye "this is connected".

Your brain naturally loves to complete things, so add some blank lines at the ends 15. What do I do when I get of your branches - it will want to fill them in. Also, remind yourself that every word could be the centre of a Mind Map. You have infinite possibilities of associating. stuck? This is a good time to doodle, colour and take a break - your brain keeps working. 16. What do I do with my stupid' thoughts? Allow all thoughts, words, images or feelings that come to mind to be attached to the word or image which triggered' them. So called stupid' thoughts produce some of the most insightful, original and creative ideas. The more you add to your Mind Map (especially in the initial creative stage) the more sense things that seemed stupid will make. Stupid ideas are often your guides to innovative thinking. Wait for a later stage in your Mind Map before considering what editing, refinement or changes you may want to make. By using more of the range of your right and left cortical skills the brain is kept in balance and busy; the colours and images incorporated into logic and lines focuses thought in a relaxed concentrated manner. If you have any paper, a post-it' or index card, capture that idea right away on a mini -Mind Map. Put it in the "great thoughts" section of your planner. If you do not have paper either make a Mind Map in your mind or use a peg memory system.

17. How can a Mind Map help me to concentrate? 18. I get good ideas at inconvenient times - what should I do?

19. I can't get to sleep. How If thoughts are filling your head, take a pad and pen (keep them by your bed) and do I clear my thoughts? quickly Mind Map them out - a brain purge. Then go to sleep. If some other thought comes, capture it too. It is as though, as soon as the thoughts have been recognised, the brain can rest - and so can you!

20. People ask me what I'm Tell them it is a note taking/making system: doing? Similar to that used by Einstein, Churchill, Leonardo da Vinci, Buckminster Fuller, Mark Twain, Walt Disney and most of the people considered to have "Great Brains". Based on the latest information on HOW and WHY your brain functions and the skills that are compatible with it. Millions of people are using Mind Maps from directors of multi-national companies to five year old children - from parents to government leaders.

21. Why would I use a Mind Any time you need to clarify your thoughts, organise information, communicate Map? clearly or take in information a Mind Map can assist. The Mind Map does not take away from any good processes you already use; it can add to their greater effectiveness. 22. When does a Mind Map end? In one sense, never! (or when you choose to stop!) Because every word or image could be the centre of another Mind Map, demonstrating that your associative ability is, by definition, limitless.

What a contrast to what is often generated in linear form!

The Mind Map gives a more accurate reflection of your infinite intelligence!

Illumine has worked closely with the Buzan organisation throughout its existence. We are an independent training company and are committed to promoting Buzan's work and ideas. We use many highly experienced Buzan licensed instructors as well as our own Illumine licensed Mind Mapping experts.

Business Mapping Techniques

In recent years there have been many techniques that have been developed and many terms used to describe them. Here we summarise some of the terminology and techniques:

Business Mapping
A term that is used differently by different people. Business mapping is used to describe many sorts of mapping techniques, including, but not limited to, Mind Mapping.

Idea Mapping
Idea mapping appears to be very similar to Mind Mapping although idea maps are not formally associated with Mind Maps.

Spidergrams or Spider Diagrams

There is no 'official' definition of these terms. They appear to pre-date Mind Maps and are usually characterised by a series of lines linking topics that appear in circles. Usually drawn in one colour they don't have a defined structure.

Memory Maps
These are generally a series of pictures linked in a more or less linear way and are significantly different to Mind Maps as they do not have a radiant structure.

When is a Mind Map not a Mind Map?

By registering the term 'Mind Map', Tony Buzan has defined Mind Maps quite clearly. He sets out that definition in many of his books. In reality, many of his 'Mind Mapping Laws' are breached frequently by Mind Mapping users. However the resulting notes are still likely to be referred to as Mind Maps in much the same way as vacuum cleaners are often referred to as 'Hoovers' even though they are not made by Hoover! As Buzan has sold millions of books that talk about Mind Mapping, and people continue to adapt the basic technique in ever more creative ways (presumably something Buzan would approve of), this process seems bound to continue and to accelerate.

Mind Mapping Benefits: How business needs are met by properly structured Mind Maps
Clive Lewis, the author of this briefing, has used Mind Maps for over 25 years and has trained thousands of people in how to gain dramatic benefits from this uniquely versatile technique.

Businesses and other organisations have many needs that can be satisfied by properly constructed Mind Maps. The key is to ensure that Mind Maps are used effectively. To paraphrase the age-old truth:

"No-one needs Mind Maps; they need what Mind Maps can do for them!"
In order to be successful in the long term, people and the organisations they work for need to constantly develop their effectiveness and their efficiency. Here is an outline of some of the ways in which Mind Maps can help:

Thinking Change and complexity Volumes of information Planning Changing ways of working Creativity and Innovation Lifelong Learning

The Challenges
Thinking - there has never been a greater need for effective thinking - critical thinking, strategic thinking, creative thinking, decision making, analysing... Change and complexity - the rate of change in organisations continues to rise. New situations lead to new problems and new challenges, requiring an enhanced capacity to understand, visualise, interpret and share Volumes of information- more books and journals are published now than ever before AND a neverending flow of emails and information available to us on the web. Being able to absorb, summarise and make sense of this information is a real challenge. Planning - with time at a premium, the ability to manage our time effectively, organise ourselves, plan and manage projects, organise and present information to others, has never been greater.

How Mind Maps can help

The flexibility of Mind Maps to help us think divergently and convergently AND visualise our thinking means that they are, when used properly, an essential part of our intellectual armoury. Mind Maps are an ideal tool for understanding interrelationships between different aspects of a situation. By focusing on meaning rather than worrying about grammar and semantics, the Mind Map helps people to rapidly build up an enhanced understanding of any problem, challenge or situation. Often combined with speed reading and advanced overview techniques, Mind Maps allow us to summarise information efficiently and in such a way as to make it usable and accessible. The key is to think effectively at the beginning of a project or the preparation of a presentation. Suspending the process of structuring an output (project plan, presentation) allows maximum value to be gained from the divergent and associative thinking that Mind Maps support so well.

Changing ways of working- leading to greater stress A great deal of stress is caused by not being able to see and challenges in getting right the balance between clearly a way forward. Many people use Mind Maps to help work and other aspects of our lives them make sense of the different aspects of their lives and prioritise their goals going forward. Creativity and innovation -Organisations increasingly recognise the vital role of idea Either on their own or with other creativity techniques, Mind Maps facilitate the generation of fresh perspectives

generation and management in building successful futures, but often struggle to make creative and expansive thinking a day to day reality

and new ideas provide a great way of capturing that thinking - especially if you make use of the excellent Mind Mapping software that is now available. For a FREE trial download of the market leading mapping software that is now available, click here.

Lifelong learning - being able to build and refresh Schools, Universities and Business Schools are amongst the our knowledge and skills are essential skills in their many organisations that have recognised that, when used own right. Whether working towards professional properly, Mind Maps are an incredibly useful tool for both exams, diplomas or MBAs, or simply keeping abreast formal and informal learning. Indeed the comment we hear of whatever is going on in our own area of expertise, most often when we show people how Mind Maps enhance we need to do so as efficiently as possible. memory and recall, is why didn't they teach me this in school?!' As someone who has used Mind Maps throughout my adult life, I am sometimes guilty of being a little fanatical about how they can transform peoples working and learning. However Ive lost count of the number of people who tell me that they were first introduced to Mind Maps in two minutes on some course or other and that as a result they just didnt get it. That is a real shame, because, although they are easy to use, a few guidelines and directed practice means that people get far more benefits from the technique.

We think it is a technique worth learning properly which is why our Business Mapping Mind Maps for Business Advantage course, has been honed and improved over ten years and is now recognised as the leading Mind Mapping course. Indeed, in 2005, Tony Buzans organisation recognised this and appointed Illumine as their preferred training partner.