An Introduction to Mind Mapping

Unlock the power of your mind with a Mind Map ~ the ultimate thinking tool used to stimulate your to think, learn and communicate more effectively and efficiently.

The technique of Mind Mapping was created by Tony Buzan and is one of the most widely used thinking tools around the world. It is often called the ‘Swiss army knife for the brain’, because it is a multi-purpose thinking tool, and is already used by more than 250 million people worldwide.

What is a Mind Map?

A Mind Map® is a powerful way of expressing the thought patterns, pictures and associations that already exist in the brain. It is an expression of Radiant Thinking which is a natural function of the human mind.

Benefits of Mind Maps:

  • Brainstorm creative ideas quickly and easily
  • Make better decisions
  • Take fast effective notes in meetings
  • Make concise notes from books, documents, reports and other printed material
  • Prepare and present documents etc.
  • Study better and remember more
  • Think through problems and find the best solution

How to Read Mind Maps:

On Mind Maps, ideas and thoughts are shown as coloured images and key words branching out from a central theme. One of the key benefits of Mind Maps® is that they help you to see how ideas link to each other as well as how they relate to the central theme. Have a look at the mind map below about Joe’s retirement speech.

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1. Start in the centre – the image represents the theme/topic of the Mind Map®.

2. Select one of the main branches (thick curved line connected to the central image). This has a key word printed on it and represents an idea/thought that is linked to the main theme. Think of it as being like a chapter heading in a book. Example, Joe is retiring.

3. Read out from the centre along the branch. These are second and third levels of thought with words and images that are associated with the main branch. Example, Joe is retiring after 32 years working for the company and its a sad day for all in the business.

4. Continue reading around the Mind Map® until you have read and understand the whole map.

How to Make a Mind Map:


  1. Take a blank piece of plain paper A4 size or bigger
  2. Turn the paper landscape i.e., the long side of the paper at the top
  3. Draw a coloured image in the centre of the paper. This central image represents the topic of the Mind Map®
    – use at least 3 colours in the image
  4. Draw the main themes of the Mind Map® on thick branches radiating out from the central image
    – Print the word in CAPITAL LETTERS
    – place the word on a line of the same length
    – make the central lines think, curved and organic (like the branch of a tree attached to the trunk)
    – connected directly to the central image
  5. Add other main theme branches around the map
  6. Start to add a second level of thought. These words and/or images are linked to the main branch that triggered them – connecting lines are now thinner and words may be in lower case
  7. Add a third or fourth level of thought as those thoughts come to you
  8. Use images throughout your Mind Map®. Add an image to all the main branches to represent each key theme and also use images to visualise every important key word on your map. You can use:
    – pictures
    – line drawings
    – patterns
    – shapes
    – symbols
    – stick figures etc.
  9. Add dimension to your Mind Map® by adding boxes and adding depth around the words and images
  10. Use colours throughout the Mind Map®. be as big, bold and imaginative as possible


Mind Maps® can be used for a wide variety of activities that involve thinking, learning and communication in business, in school and at home. Below are some of the main applications :

Thinking Maps

Harness your thinking skills with mind maps:


Brainstorming is a process of generating new and creative ideas. The Mind Mapping® tool enables you to create an infinite number of thoughts, ideas, links and associations on any topic making it an ideal tool to stimulate your thinking. It can also be used to capture ideas in group brainstorming sessions rather than having hundreds of flip charts posted around the room! A Mind Map® of all your ideas can be viewed and distributed quickly and easily.


A Mind Map® can help you make decisions by helping you to clarify the go/no go; yes/no; a/b choices about an issue. The more information you put on your decision map, the more the best decision will become apparent. If it is still a balanced Mind Map®, either option may be OK.


A Mind Map® makes organising, planning, prioritising and time management much easier. The order of events can be coded by dates with the initials of the person responsible. You can use numbers or symbols to prioritise key tasks and actions.

Learning Maps

Mind maps will accelerate your learning.


Mind Maps® are the ultimate tool for putting information into your head from the printed an spoken word i.e., magazines, books, newspapers, documents, TV, radio, speeches, meetings etc. Use Mind Maps® to do homework, take study notes and for revising. It’s quick, easy and it makes learning fun! Above all, by using Mind Maps® for learning, you will improve your recall of the information by up to 80%!!


You can also use Mind Maps® to taking information out of your head and putting it onto paper e.g., writing letters, memo’s, reports, documents, presentations, shopping lists, action-plans etc.

Communication Maps

Mind maps will help you to be a better communicator.

Speeches & Presentations:

Mind Maps® will help you to write and deliver speeches and presentations like professional speakers! All the information is on one page making it easy to keep your place when talking and remember everything you want to say. No more dropping notes and forgetting lines!
(Mind Maps® is a registered trademark of The Buzan Organisation)