Mind mapping is a creative thinking tool that has been in use for centuries. In the third century BC, Porphyry of Tyros used the tool to organize the works of Aristotle, one of the greatest thinkers ever.

These tools are still popular and widely used by companies and individuals across the world. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and former Vice President Al Gore are said to be fans of online mind mapping tools.

A mind map is a collection of ideas that have been put into the format of a visual diagram. Also called “visual mapping,” they offer an efficient and powerful system for creating clarity. Mind maps also enable meaningful learning, help with memorization and retention, a more engaging form of learning, and more importantly make complex issues easier to understand.

If used wisely, it can be a great tool. But most people and businesses still make a lot of mistakes while creating a mind map.

Below are the five common mistakes that businesses make with mind mapping.

  1. Using The Wrong Tool

There are several online mind mapping tools available. Different tools are used for different purposes and solve different information management problems. A common mistake most people make is that they visit Google, type mindmap software, download the first tool they see in the search results and purchase it without doing a fair comparison. They will realize only later that what they downloaded is a wrong mind map tool and that it doesn’t fit their requirements.

So ask yourself the following questions before you download a tool: what do you want to use the mind map for, in which setting, what are its benefits, and what is the budget? Invest some time to research and find out the right tool that could fulfill your requirements.

  1. Not Combining Mind Maps with Other Tools Or Diagrams

A mind map is just a tree chart with a central theme, but most people who use it keep it separated from other diagrams and tools.

For example, some people do planning in their agenda, write letters in Microsoft Word, outline
their thoughts on a whiteboard, and create a shopping list in a mind map. This means they are not taking full advantage of the mind map tool they use.

Combine your online mind mapping with other diagrams. For example, concept maps. They are similar but with different advantages. While a mind map helps free-thinking and word association, a concept map is stronger in showing logical relationships and finding content gaps.

  1. Too Obsessed with Styling

Design is definitely important, but it doesn’t mean that you should spend a great amount of time giving your mind map a perfect design. Some people tend to invest a great amount of time comparing and experimenting with different font sizes and branch colors.

Content is always key, and you should get your minds busy with the content of the mind map. Everything else is secondary. Separating content creation with styling is a common practice across many different industries.

  1. Using Too Many Words and Too Few images—Or Vice Versa

This is another common mistake people make while creating a mind map. Some people use long and complicated sentences and too few images. Some others go for too many images and too few words. Both these are wrong and defeat their very purpose.

There needs to be a balance between the number of words and pics used in a mind map. Use words and pictures in equal measure to make it more appealing and interesting for your audience.

  1. Boring Presentation

How long will you be able to listen to a speaker who just goes on speaking with no real audience engagement? Not long, for sure.

Most people have a short attention span. They just can’t sit through a presentation. They just leave the venue if the speech is boring and the speaker uses long sentences with no punctuation.

Likewise, if your presentation is not interesting, your audience will just disappear. Businesses tend to create boring presentations without consulting experts in the field. They just fail to organize the content better and they use complicated words and sentences in the mind maps. It affects the overall audience engagement.

Casual presentations are the best solution. Also add features like GIFs, colored branches, and stickers to make easily make your charts eye-catching.

A mind map is a great tool but it doesn’t work the way you desire or it may not produce the desired results if used in the wrong way. If you avoid these five mistakes while creating a mind map, it could create wonders for your organization.