Mind Mapping explained including examples

Mind Mapping by Tony Buzan - Toolshero

Mind Mapping: this article explains Mind Mapping and a mind map, developed by Tony Buzan, in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful personal development and learning tool. This article also contains a downloadable and editable Mind mapping template, as well as a general definition and examples. Enjoy reading!


Research has shown that the human brain functions better when images, symbols and associations are used. 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. This personal development tool 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. Plan projects becomes easier with the use of this tool.

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This personal development tool 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.

This personal development tool is a effectiveness method that links up perfectly with the functioning of our brains and makes optimal use of our brain capacity.

Mind Mapping examples

Mind maps come in different styles, forms and colours. It might even come as a blank page. Online Mind Mapping software tools are also available. The underlying principle is the same for each type, including the most basic mind maps. The brain is stimulated by explaining topics and adding little pieces of information in a visually organized map with a central concept. A regularly occurring form can be found in the example below.

Mind mapping example (Buzan) - Toolshero

Figure 1 – Mind Mapping example

What is a mind map?

A mind map is a diagram, or any other visualisation, used to organise or explain information in an alternative way.

The map uses a hierarchical structure, where relationships between different parts of the whole are made visible with lines. Often a map is made up of a concept or topic written in the middle of a sheet of paper or something else. Associated representations, ideas, words and images are added to the centre topic.

Mind maps can be drawn or sketched by hand, as well as made more elaborately with computer programmes or templates. The Mind Map is also viewed as a spider diagram. This concept was introduced in the seventies as ‘idea sun bursting’.

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 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.


People of all ages will have an increased understanding of certain topics because this personal development tool 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 personal development tool 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.

Mind Maps in a corporate environment

There are various advantages to using this personal development tool in a corporate environment.

Creativity and teamwork

First and foremost, the use stimulates creativity in employees. This is useful, for example, when it comes to gathering and coming up with prerequisites for projects, brainstorming and cooperation in general.

Some methods allow multiple Maps to be connected to each other within one Mind Map. This enables a Map to be passed from person to person as a means of expanding the generation of ideas.

Sketching, consolidating, presenting

A Mind Map can easily be used as a way to present input. As soon as the Map is complete, it can easily be translated into separate SMART goals or elements and transformed into a PowerPoint format.

Tips for drawing up:

  • 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.

What is Mind Mapping software?

Mind Mapping software are digital applications with which visual diagrams, also known as spider diagrams, can be made. With the use of such software, a conceptual map can be made which uncovers connections between various parts.

This type of software is available from simple apps to complex visualisation tools. Using a template is simple, and also the most popular method next to sketching.

Advantages of Mind Mapping in short

As stated previously, there a various advantages to using this personal development tool. It stimulates creativity and avoids linear thinking. These are the fields this method can make a difference in:

  • Taking notes
  • Brainstorm sessions
  • Studying
  • Problem-solving
  • Presenting ideas
  • Researching information and consolidating

The real power of this personal development tool comes from the fact that this method helps to organise everyone’s thoughts. Whether it concerns personal, family, educational or business matters, Mind Maps are useful for setting out ideas or information.

Mind Mapping template

You can download the Toolshero mind map template below and get started straight away with this practical effectivity tool.

Download the Mind Map template

This template is exclusively for our paying Toolshero members. Click here to see if a membership is something for you!

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It’s Your Turn

What do you think? What is your experience with Mind Mapping? Have you ever used this method to organize your thoughts? 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.

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:
Van Vliet, V. (2018). Mind Mapping. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/personal-development/mind-mapping/

Published on: 03/14/2018 | Last update: 03/29/2023

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Vincent van Vliet
Article by:

Vincent van Vliet

Vincent van Vliet is co-founder and responsible for the content and release management. Together with the team Vincent sets the strategy and manages the content planning, go-to-market, customer experience and corporate development aspects of the company.


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