Visually enhance and transform your maps with custom topic shapes!
I’m excited for my own transformation. Today, I’m working in Mindjet’s office. All of next week, I’ll be Scuba diving in Curacao, a beautiful island off the coast of Venezuela. I’ll miss you all, I will!
Before I sign off the Mindjet Blog for a week, I wanted to share a couple of events that inspired me to create some new transformative, shape-shifting map templates.
The first event occurred during my men’s group meeting on Wednesday night. One of my friends was sharing a painful experience that he was having in his relationship with his girlfriend. When he asked for support, I demonstrated a mapping technique he could use to visually lay out his feelings to better understand himself and his relationship. He is still pretty new to mind mapping but was really excited to see that it wasn’t just a business productivity technique; he could use it to enrich his life and relationships.
Mapping is a powerful way to examine your belief system – beliefs about yourself, your team, company, market, or even your competition. It helps you reflect and put structure to your thinking. It reveals gaps and assumptions. It also triggers insights which can lead to incredible personal transformations and business innovations.
My next inspiration came simply from viewing a website that had some amazing images. Yes, I’m visually inspired!
When I fielded a request last night for some simpler templates, I decided to put the two together: a map for reflection plus some more visually appealing topic shapes.
Many of us start with the default map and never pay a lot of attention to the shapes or colors. This is a mistake.
Use the colors that you love or enjoy in your maps. Make them more inviting to you. Or, if you’re making a presentation to a customer, use their brand colors. Make the imagery speak to your audience.
Here’s a simple before and after snapshot of a map template:
Which do you prefer?
Without further ado…here are the two example templates for you to download and use:
SWOT Analysis Template
Download Free MindManager SWOT Analysis Template
PEST Analysis Template
Download Free MindManager PEST Analysis Template
Become a Shape Shifter
Creating your own topic shapes is easy.
I created the shapes for the templates above in PowerPoint. I added shapes onto a slide, adjusting the color and effects with PowerPoint’s formatting options. Then, I saved them as pictures (.PNG file) onto my desktop by selecting a shape and using the save option in PowerPoint’s right-click menu.
Next, in the Shape section of MindManager 8’s Library, I clicked ‘Add Shape…’ to upload the pictures into MindManager’s library. Once they were uploaded, I edited each shape’s margins and then applied them to my maps.
The only tricky step in the process is editing the topic shape’s content margins. Right-click on the topic shape’s thumbnail image and select the option ‘edit content margins’. In the window that opens, drag the black squares inwards to set the new content margins. This setting controls where and how a topic’s text appears inside the topic. Unfortunately, you’ll need to set it and apply it to see the results. It may take a few tries to perfect the settings.
Once you’ve created topic shapes and fine-tuned the content margins, create new map templates with these shapes to bring new life to your maps!
Future Before / After Snapshots & Analysis with Your Maps
I’d like to work with some of your maps if you’re open to having them published. We can walk through how I’d reorganize or improve them. It’ll be an organic process where everyone can discuss the pros and cons of different approaches to mapping.
I’m up for the challenge if you are! Leave a comment below if you’re interested and I’ll touch base with you after I return from my diving adventures. Have a great week!
About the Author: Michael Deutch is Mindjet’s Chief Evangelist, content contributor for the Mindjet Blog and the Mindjet Connections newsletter. Get more from Michael on Twitter.