“Infinitely more important than sharing one’s material wealth is sharing the wealth of ourselves – our time and energy, our passion and commitment, and, above all, our love.”
– William E. Simon, former Secretary of Treasury, businessman & philanthropist
The process of creating your mind maps with Mindjet can be a liberating and ecstatic experience. Your maps reflect your individual and team vision, thoughts, ideas, plans, dreams, etc. Everyone who participates in a map’s creation comes out on the other side, ready to take the journey from inspiration to realization.
But when it comes to sharing them with others, consider the following factors to make your maps more approachable and understood by the people who did not participate in their creation.
- Set the context: Prepare your audience by setting up the proper context before they open your map. Why are you sending it? Are there any expected actions? Is this their first time seeing a map? If so, give them the basics of how to navigate within the map.
- Understand your audience: Achieving the proper balance to communicate effectively is an art. Consider your audience, your goals, what they know, their motivations, their goals, etc.
- Prepare a map legend: If you’ve used icons, images, colors or other elements to represent ideas, concepts or statuses, prepare a map legend that gives your reader something to review to learn exactly what each element represents.
- Use the most appropriate layout: Generally speaking, a right-facing map is one of the most approachable formats. You can still take advantage of presenting your content both visually and linearly. Org charts are also a familiar and easily understood format. Radial maps tend to be the least approachable for people who are less familiar with the concept of mapping.
- Guide your readers: Adding numbers, roman numerals, or other elements to illustrate where to start, what order to proceed in, and where to finish reviewing the map is extremely helpful. Prevent map shock and avoid overwhelming viewers using this technique! You’ll find that this is most relevant when you use a radial layout.
- Chunk, don’t dump: Don’t overwhelm readers with too many topics in a branch. Keep it to no more than 5-8 topics per level. Break longer lists into categorized chunks and let your readers navigate to the categories as needed.
- Avoid clumps of text: Add images and infographics to replace long textual topics. When you are writing, use clear, concise language. The emphasis should be on clear communication, not grammar. As mapping analyst & blogger Chuck Frey says: “use high impact words.”
- Filter extraneous information: I typically create ‘master maps’ that literally contain hundreds if not thousands of topics. Will I share that with others? No. I filter the map and share a relevant, customized subset of my mega-map.
- Review before sending: Take a walk in the shoes of your reader. If you were your audience and received this map via email, could you open it up and understand it without having to pick up the phone and call for help?
Special thanks to Adam Siemiginowski who inspired and contributed to this post!
What are your tips and secrets for sharing maps with others? Share them in the comments section below!