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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          More by this author

                          Matt Tanguay

                          Matt is the CEO and Chief Visual Facilitator of Fluent Brain. He writes about problem solving techniques and tips to supercharge the brain.

                          How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples) Master Your New Year’s Resolutions: The Ultimate Infographic How to Solve Your Problems Visually Using a Solution Map

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                          Published on August 4, 2020

                          36 Important Resume Skills (For All Types of Jobs)

                          36 Important Resume Skills (For All Types of Jobs)

                          Most jobs require specialized skills. At the same time, there are a lot of resume skills that apply across the board.

                          If you’re on the hunt for a new job, give your resume a refresh. Employers want to know: Can you communicate effectively? Are you easy to get along with? Can you manage your time effectively?

                          Remember, you may not get a second look. Use your resume to make a great first impression.

                          Holistic ability is what employers want to see when hiring. These resume skills can make you a top pick regardless of what role you’re applying for.

                          Communication

                          Being properly understood is critical. On any team, you must be able to relay and interpret messages with speed and precision. How you describe yourself, the concision of your phrasings, and the layout of your resume are great ways to showcase these skills.

                          1. Writing

                          Whether it’s emails or official documents, writing skills are essential for candidates in any industry. Clear, concise phrasings minimize misunderstandings and save the recipient time. This is probably one of the most important resume skills.

                          2. Verbal Communication

                          Speaking clearly and eloquently is one of the first things a hiring manager will note in an interview. Communicating over the phone is commonplace in business. Outline this skill on your resume, and they’ll invite you in to listen for themselves. This is easily one of the most important resume skills in most industries.

                          3. Presentation

                          Sales pitches and company meetings may include presentations, which require special communication skills. Being able to spearhead and properly carry out a presentation shows organization and resolve.

                          4. Multilingualism

                          Knowing more than one language can open doors for you and the business you represent.[1] Being able to speak another language allows your company to serve a whole new demographic.

                          5. Reading Comprehension

                          At any job, employee handbooks, company newsletters, and emails will come your way. Being able to decipher them quickly and effectively is an important resume skill. This goes hand in hand with having excellent writing skills.

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                          Tech Savvy

                          Technology is evolving rapidly, especially in the business world. Be sure to mention the technologies you’re familiar with on your resume, even if you don’t expect to use them daily.

                          6. Social Media

                          Almost everyone has some form of social media these days. Companies use platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to reach new audiences, provide customer service, and build brand loyalty.

                          7. Operating Systems

                          Can you use a Mac? What about a PC? Most jobs today require the use of a computer. Prior experience navigating common operating systems will help you acclimate much more quickly. This has become an important resume skill ever since the start of the information age.

                          8. Microsoft Office

                          Of all the software in the world, Microsoft’s Office suite might be the most popular. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook are widely used in the business world. Having this as part of your resume skills is very helpful especially in certain industries.

                          9. Job-Specific Programs

                          Did you get the hang of HubSpot in your last role? Is Slack something you’ve mastered? Be sure to mention them on your list of resume skills. These demonstrate that you can pick up new tools quickly.

                          Interpersonal Skills

                          Despite the rise in technology, businesses are run by people. Working with and for people means you need to be able to handle yourself with poise in different social settings. Highlight roles and situations on your resume that involved tricky conversations.

                          10. Customer Service

                          No company can succeed without its customers. Being able to treat customers with respect and attention is an absolute must for any applicant. Specific industries regard this as the most important resume skill their prospective employees should have.

                          11. Active Listening

                          Listening is an underrated skill, especially for leaders.[2] If you can’t listen to other people, you’ll struggle to work as part of a team.

                          12. Sense of Humor

                          You might wonder why having a sense of humor is a part of your resume skills. Humor is important for building rapport, but getting it right in the workplace can be tough. Everyone loves someone who is entertaining and can lighten the mood. On the other hand, people are turned off by immaturity and inappropriate jokes.

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                          13. Conflict Resolution

                          A customer stomps up to your desk and starts yelling about a problem he or she is having – how do you handle this situation? The right approach is to work to resolve the situation, not to escalate or avoid it.

                          Teamwork

                          One of the best parts of any job is the bonds you build with your co-workers. Fostering healthy relationships can make the workspace more enjoyable for everyone.

                          14. Collaboration

                          Whatever your line of work, chances are good that you’ll be working with others. Being able to collaborate effectively with them is critical if the whole team is to hit its goals. You can use various apps and tools available to help you collaborate with your team.

                          15. Leadership

                          Even if the title of the job you’re applying to isn’t “manager” or “executive,” there will still be moments when it’s your turn to lead. Prove that you’re up to the challenge, and you’ll be looked at as a long-term asset. Listing this as one of your resume skills is certainly an eye-catcher for most.

                          16. Reliability

                          Work isn’t always easy or fun. You have to be willing to pull your weight, even when times are hard. Otherwise, your co-workers won’t feel as if they can count on you. Reliability is important in maintaining the cohesion of a team. You should let people know that they can rely on you.

                          17. Transparency

                          To work as a team, members must be willing to share information with each other. Are you willing to own up to your mistakes, share your challenges, and accept consequences like an adult? Let them know that you’re transparent and reliable.

                          Personal Traits

                          Your resume is about selling yourself, not just your education and work history. The good news is, your “soft” skills are a great opportunity to differentiate yourself. Use bullets beneath your past experiences to prove you have them.

                          18. Adaptability

                          In any role, you’ll need to adjust to new procedures, rules, and work environments. Remember, these are always subject to change. Being able to adapt ensures every transition goes smoothly.

                          19. Proactivity

                          An autonomous employee can get work done without being instructed every step of the way. Orientation is one thing; taking on challenges of your own accord is another. Being proactive is an essential resume skill, especially if you’re eyeing for managerial roles in the future.

                          20. Problem-Solving

                          When problems arise, can you come up with appropriate solutions? Being able to address your own problems makes your manager’s life easier and minimizes micro-management. Problem-solving is an important yet often overlooked resume skill.

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                          21. Creativity

                          Can you think outside of the box? Even roles that aren’t “creative,” strictly speaking, require creative thinking. Creativity also helps in your ability to solve problems.

                          22. Organization

                          Staying organized makes you more efficient and reduces the risk of mistakes. Organization skills make life easier not just for you, but also for other members of your team. This makes it an important skill to put in your list of resume skills.

                          23. Work Ethic

                          Every company wants hard workers on its team. You’re applying for employment after all, not a place to lounge around. Putting this on your list of resume skills is just as important as actually exhibiting it in the workplace once you’re hired.

                          24. Stress Management

                          How well do you work under stress? If you’ll be required to meet tight deadlines, you’ll have to prove you can handle the heat.

                          25. Attention Management

                          Whether you’re developing a partnership or writing a blog post, attention to detail makes all the difference. People who sweat the details do better work and tend to spot problems before they arise. Use Maura Thomas’s 4 Quadrants of Attention Management as a guide to managing attention.[3]

                          26. Time Management

                          Time is money. The better you are at using company time, the more valuable you’ll be. Show that you can make every second count. Managing your time also means being punctual. No employer wants to deal with a team member who’s constantly tardy. This is commonly included in most people’s resume skills, but not everyone lives up to it.

                          27. Patience

                          Things won’t always go your way. Can you calmly work through tough situations? If not, you’ll struggle with everything from sales to customer service to engineering.

                          28. Gratitude

                          When things do go your way, are you gracious? Simply being grateful can help you build real relationships.[4] This also helps foster a better team atmosphere.

                          29. Learning

                          Employers want to invest in people who are looking to grow. Whether you love to take online courses, read, or experiment with hobbies, make sure you show you’re willing to try new things.

                          30. Physical Capability

                          Many job postings have the classic line, “must be able to lift X amount of pounds” or “must be able to stand for X hours per day.” Play up past positions that required you to do physical labor.

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                          31. Research

                          How easily can you dig up new details about a concept? Research skills are critical for marketing, business analysis, writing, account management, and more.

                          32. Money Handling

                          Being able to count bills quickly and accurately is important at any company with a brick-and-mortar storefront. Integrity and honesty are key when you’re running the cash register or reconciling bank statements.

                          Commitment

                          To employers, every new hire represents an investment. Are you worth investing in? Prove it. Employers need to see signs of commitment before they bring you on board.

                          33. Longevity

                          Hiring managers love to see long tenures on your resume. This suggests that you’re in it for the long haul, not just passing through for a quick buck.

                          34. Fidelity

                          For an employer-employee relationship to work, there has to be trust. Employers tend to find out when someone is hiding side gig or sharing information they shouldn’t be. References from past employers can prove that you’re loyal to companies that hire you.

                          35. Obedience

                          You won’t agree with every choice your employer makes. With that said, you have to respect your role as an employee. Obedience is about doing what your leader decides is best, even if you have a different perspective.

                          36. Flexibility

                          Life is full of surprises. A month into your new job, your role could change entirely. Flexible people can roll with the punches.

                          Final Words

                          Perform a self-audit: Which of these skills will your potential employer want to see? Add them to your resume strategically, and you’ll be that much closer to your dream job.

                          Tips on How to Create a Great Resume

                          Featured photo credit: Van Tay Media via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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