Business writing essentials

Plan and research your documents with mind maps

2 minute read + 7 minute video

So, you’ve got something you need to write.

It might be a report you’ve had to do mountains of research on, until the facts and ideas are crowded and jostling against each other in your head. Or maybe it’s a document for which you have all the necessary facts in your mind already. Either way, now you need a way to get all that knowledge out of your head and onto the paper before you can go any further.

But what’s the best way to do this? How can you easily unlock all the information you need from your mind?

Enter, the mind map

Now, you may have tried using mind maps in the past and felt they didn’t really work for you. But don’t dismiss them just yet.

In this video, Rob reveals how you can use them in different way: to tap into all the knowledge you already have (and realise the gaps in what you know that you’ll have to fill).

What to expect

Watch the video to see us demonstrate how to quickly put this simple but powerful tool to work, and hear Rob explain:

  • the limitations of lists for planning a document, and a better way [0:27]
  • why even using the better technique is not ideal [2:01]
  • the tool you need to use instead of any kind of list [2:16]
  • the important approach you need to take in setting up your mind map (and what you must avoid doing) [2:51]
  • how you can use mind maps as part of your research process and to get past blocks [05:43].


Watch the video



This post is taken from a lesson in our e-learning programme The complete business writer, which improves your writing (or your team’s) in practical, bite-sized lessons. You can find out more about the e-learning and demo two lessons here.

Image credit: retrorocket / Shutterstock


Business writing essentials

Your go-to guide to better writing

Get your own PDF copy of The Write Stuff, the definitive guide for everyone who writes at work.

Get my copy
The Write Stuff

Catie joined Emphasis with an English literature and creative writing degree and a keen interest in what makes language work. Having researched, written, commissioned and edited dozens of articles for the Emphasis blog, she now knows more about the intricacies of effective professional writing than she ever thought possible.

She produced and co-wrote our online training programme, The Complete Business Writer, and these days oversees all the Emphasis marketing efforts. And she keeps office repartee at a suitably literary level.

Was this article helpful?

This helps us make better content for you