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How to make a mind map

How to create a mind map

5 simple steps to guide you when making a mind map

Let’s review five simple steps you can follow to create a basic mind map.

1. Choose the right mind mapping software tools

A mind mapping tool is a platform that helps you create, manage, and share your mind map. With the right platform, creating an effective mind map and collaborating with your project team will be easier. Learn more about what a mind map is. Here are some of the key features to look out for to help readers find a suitable mind-mapping platform:

  • Ease of use. If a platform isn’t simple to use, mind mapping becomes more challenging than it needs to be. Find a tool that makes it easy to create and edit mind maps to streamline the process.

  • Customizable. No two mind maps are the same, which is why it helps to have a customizable platform. That way, you can create a mind map that works for you and your team.

  • Collaborative. Use a collaborative mind mapping platform to ensure you and your team can work together effectively. Collaborative features to look out for include sharing your mind map and tagging users in comments.

On top of these key features, it’s also a good idea to use online mind mapping software. With an online mind map maker, your entire team can access the mind map from anywhere. Any changes you make will appear instantly, so everyone can view the most up-to-date information.

2. Define your central idea

After finding the right platform, you can add your main topic to the map's center.Here’s how to write the main topic for your mind map:

Identify the purpose

Why are you creating the mind map in the first place? Do you want to improve your website? Increase your sales? Streamline your processes? Whatever it is, be clear about this before adding your central topic. That way, you’ll ensure the main topic aligns with your overall goal.

Write a clear, concise statement

The topic should be clear, concise, and understood by everyone working on the mind map. This means using a few words of simple language to convey what the main topic is. For example, if you want to come up with ideas for a new product, your main topic might be ‘new product development.’

Consider adding a focus question

Although the main topic is short and sweet, you can add a focus question to provide additional context to your mind map. For instance, if your main topic is ‘new product development,’ your focus question could be, ‘what product should we develop to improve customer value and increase our revenue?’ The question usually sits at the top of the map.

With your central concept in place, you can now branch out and add ideas that relate to it.Let’s use product development as an example again.Your main topic is product development, and your team is developing ideas for new products. Here are some of the related ideas you might come up with for this mind map:

  • Market research

  • Competitor analysis

  • Customer feedback

  • Budget and costs

These topics help you and your team break down the product development process and consider all the necessary areas. You can continue branching out and adding more ideas and information to these subtopics. For instance, under the ‘market research’ subtopic, you could have the following information:

  • Preliminary research

  • Secondary research

  • Trends in the industry

In a group scenario, some people will likely be more vocal than others. To combat this, you should implement a process that allows everyone to share their ideas. Consider using our Brainwriting Template to give everyone a chance to participate.

4. Customize your mind map

After adding all your ideas, you can start to customize the layout. Customization allows you to provide some structure to your thoughts, which is a good starting point for identifying the next steps.Here are some examples of how to customize your mind map:

  • Use colors. Colors are a simple but effective way to categorize your ideas. For example, all marketing ideas are green, while sales ideas are blue. At a glance, your team can see which ideas relate to which department.

  • Add images. Images can provide additional context to some ideas on your mind map. For instance, if you have an idea about how a product should look, you can use an image of a similar product to help your team visualize the concept.

  • Group similar ideas. Keeping similar themes close together in your mind map is a good idea. That way, when planning your next steps, it’ll be easier to identify similar themes and topics. You can easily drag and drop your ideas to new locations using Miro.

5. Use the mind map to create a plan of action

After finalizing the mind map, you can now use it as the foundation for your next steps. This means creating an action plan to identify exactly what you need to do to bring your new idea to life.Precisely how you create your next steps is up to you. For instance, if your mind map was to generate ideas for new product features, you might create a product development roadmap. But if you were hoping to improve an internal process, you might create a process map instead.It all depends on why you made the mind map and what you wanted to achieve.

Make a mind map with Miro

As soon as you start mind mapping, you’ll see how naturally intuitive it feels. The beauty of creating a mind map is it’s fairly easy and straightforward. It’s designed that way to encourage a free flow of ideas and information.

You can do it on paper easily, but we’re going to show you how to make a digital copy that you can work on alone or collaboratively with others.

Here’s a step by step to make a mind map – and tips for doing it in Miro.

1. Start with a concept or central idea

Begin with something that is central to your problem or topic. Once you have a central theme, type it in the middle of the map, in the central bubble. When working from a blank canvas, you can press Shift+Enter to create a new bubble. Keep the name of each concept in each node relatively short.

Pro tip: If you're mind mapping with a group, make sure you have no more than six participants

Next, in a rapid-fire session, have your team members develop related sub topics or concepts around that central one. Add branches and child nodes by clicking Enter or Tab. If you need to delete a node, just select it and click Delete.

3. Repeat the process for more subtopics

Generate even lower subtopics and connect them via branches and child nodes. Once you’re ready to move or structure ideas, hold down Ctrl or Cmd and click on concepts to drag and rearrange the branches.

4. Highlight the best ideas

Review your mind map and mark the ideas that resonate the most with you and your team. Think about what's missing and what can be fleshed out or explored even further.

5. Get creative with it

You don’t have to be a designer to create a visually fun mind map diagram. Try changing the color and orientation or even intersperse things like sticky notes, images, or emojis.

Create your own mind map

Miro makes it fun and easy to create a mind map. Your imagination is the limit! Whether you’re creating your first mind map or you’ve done it a thousand times before, you can streamline the process with Miro.

Get started with the Mind Map Template>>

  • Share the board with others and collaborate real-time: allow teammates to view, comment, and edit.

  • Export your mind map in high resolution.

  • View the edit history on your mind map and revert to previous versions as necessary.

Brainstorm, design information architecture, plan projects, create org charts, develop sales strategies, and more – all without switching tools.

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