Mind Mapping

Mind Mapping by Tony Buzan - ToolsHero

This article explains Mind Mapping, developed by Tony Buzan, in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful personal development and learning tool.


Research has shown that our brains function better when we mainly use images, symbols and associations. This fact is left untapped on a daily basis and this is clearly a missed opportunity. Fortunately, there is a method that is in line with the results of this research and which makes learning and remembering more effective and manageable. This method is called Mind Mapping and they were invented by author and consultant Tony Buzan. Mind Mapping is a useful technique that helps you learn more effectively. It improves the way in which information is recorded and it supports creative problem-solving. The concept of Mind Mapping is also known as Concept Mapping, Spray Diagrams, and Spider Diagrams.

What is Mind Mapping?

A picture is worth a thousand words is a famous saying. According to Tony Buzan, Mind Mapping is a two-dimensional note-taking technique with which a mind map is made using all the relevant knowledge about a specific subject. By mapping out key words or word pictures (i.e. words that summarize a certain aspect concisely and that serve as a basis for further association) using imagery, drawings and colour we use our full brain power. Mind Mapping is a effectiveness method that links up perfectly with the functioning of our brains and makes optimal use of our brain capacity.

How to create a mind map?

In practice this means that the central idea is represented as a picture/ shape in the centre of a sheet of paper (mindmap). From this picture/ shape in the centre several main branches are drawn that relate to the central idea. These branches are labelled with keywords and they can be expanded by using new associations that are supported by pictures and colours if necessary. This framework automatically creates a clear over view and structure of the subject. The central idea is put in the centre of the page with the key themes radiating from it.

Mind mapping example (Buzan) - toolshero

Mind mapping is useful for:

1. Work

For both small and comprehensive tasks, daily planning, offers, presenting and presentations, telephone conversations and sales talks, meetings, brainstorming sessions, projects, project planning and providing an overview of actual knowledge.

2. Study

Reports, theses, summaries, exams and presentations.

3. Private matters

The preparation of a removal, refurbishment, party or holiday.

Benefits of mind mapping

People of all ages will have an increased understanding of certain topics because mind maps clarify the interrelationships of the overall structure.

This creates a better understanding and makes it easier to reproduce facts.

Creative ability is also stimulated through using Mind Mapping as both the left and right brain hemispheres are working together.

New dimensions will be added to work and study that make the process more efficient and less time-consuming.

Tips for drawing up Mind Maps:

  • Use single words or very short sentences to keep things brief and to the point.
  • Use colour to separate ideas.
  • Use symbols or images to support the words. Photos or pictures are easier to remember than words.
  • Use cross-linkages to understand how associations affect one another.

It’s Your Turn

What do you think? What is your experience with Mind Mapping? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have more suggestions? What are your tips for making a good mind map?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

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More information

  1. Anderson, J. V. (1993). Mind mapping: A tool for creative thinking. Business Horizons, 36(1), 41-46.
  2. Buzan, T. (2006). Mind mapping. Pearson Education.
  3. Mento, A. J., Martinelli, P., & Jones, R. M. (1999). Mind mapping in executive education: applications and outcomes. Journal of Management Development, 18(4), 390-416.

How to cite this article:
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