Business Communication Mind-Mapping of a Manual Sort

by Cathy Miller on December 12, 2012

Do you want to go where no man has gone before?

Follow me to the depths of my twisted mind.

  • Be afraid
  • Be very, very afraid

One of my readers (and good friend, Anne Wayman) asked me to explain how I come up with blog topics like my 12 Days of Business Blog Post Ideas.

Simple – it’s called Miller Mind-Mapping. 

Manual Mind-Mapping

I love online and software tools and mind-mapping has more than a few.

However, when it comes to a blog topic exercise, I find the ol’ manual process works just fine for me.

If you’re game, let’s review how I came up with the 12-Day post (and ones like it).

#1 – Pick a Theme

Trust me. This is easier than it sounds.

The theme could be ~

  • Objects sitting in front of your face – like those on your desk, outside your door, wherever
  • Seasonal – pick one – summer, spring, fall or winter
  • A holiday – Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, etc.
  • A favorite TV show – the entire Food Network has served me well
  • Use a famous quote – why not let the masters inspire you?

Don’t overthink it.

It doesn’t matter what you select – just choose a theme.

#2 – Make a List

It can be a mental list or you can actually jot down your theme results.

  • 10 items from your desk
  • The season you selected
  • The name of your TV show

I’ll leave it to you to decide if you subscribe to lists of 7, 10 or more.

#3 – Play off the words that pop

When you look at your list, what words pop out?

For my 12 Days of Christmas post, here are the words that popped out to me.

  1. Partridge, pear tree
  2. Turtle doves
  3. French, hens
  4. Birds
  5. Golden
  6. Geese, laying
  7. Swans, swimming
  8. Maids, milking
  9. Ladies, dancing
  10. Lords, leaping
  11. Pipers
  12. Drummers

To keep my mind from screaming too much information all at once, I took one gift at a time.

  • I write the ideas that come to mind from each gift
  • You might want to jot down all your ideas first

Whatever works best for you

#4 – Put a business spin on it

Since this blog is about business writing, I want to take the theme and words and put a business spin on blog post ideas.

Again, my style is to work each one as it comes. It helps me from becoming overwhelmed.

It may be the strange workings of my mind, but I find the exercise simple.

Free associate your words with ideas.

Partridge in a pear tree

  • Who expects to find a partridge in a pear tree?
  • Business Post Idea: Blog about something you found in your business that was unexpected
  • The partridge is like a bonus in your fruit tree
  • Business Post Idea:Blog about a time the fruit of your labor produced a bonus
  • What the heck would I do if someone gave me a partridge in a pear tree?
  • Business Post Idea: Write a post about how you handled receiving a business gift you didn’t know what to do with

Now, do you understand the workings of my mind?

If not, you are not alone.

#5 – Pull out your list and write.


You now have a list of business blog post ideas to inspire you when your brain has turned to mush.

  1. Pick a theme
  2. Make a list
  3. Find words that pop
  4. Use a business spin
  5. Grab your list and write

It works for me – and I hope it works for you.

What methods do you use for mind-mapping ideas?


Helping you Keep it simple, clear & uniquely yours – contact me for help with your business writing needs.


BigStock Photo Credit

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacko December 12, 2012 at 7:57 am

Good points.

One thing that I remind people to include in their mind mapping is call to action words.

Remember you want to attract people who will take action and do something beneficial. Ex subscribe to your email list or buy a book, retweet, etc.
Jacko recently posted..What I learned from Steve Scott – Q&A with the Six-Figure Affiliate BloggerMy Profile


Cathy December 12, 2012 at 8:40 am

Excellent point, Jacko. Thank you for the addition.
Cathy recently posted..Business Communication Mind-Mapping of a Manual SortMy Profile


Anne Wayman December 12, 2012 at 10:38 am

Thanks, Cathy, glad to get a peek into your mind. What’s your favorite online mind mapping tool?
Anne Wayman recently posted..24 Writing Hashtags And A Mini Book ReviewMy Profile


Cathy December 12, 2012 at 10:53 am

Thanks, Anne, for both the comment and the inspiration for the post. 🙂

I haven’t really tried online mind-mapping tools (although I looked at several). As I said, at least right now, I find my manual, Miller Mind-Mapping still works for me. 🙂

Perhaps other readers could share their favorites.
Cathy recently posted..Business Communication Mind-Mapping of a Manual SortMy Profile


Anne Wayman December 12, 2012 at 11:27 am

I’ve never made mind mapping really work on paper… I may try a couple of the ones you mention and see if it works any better for me. I seem to have a fairly linear mind or something.
Anne Wayman recently posted..7 Tips To Sell Corporate Writing By EmailMy Profile


Cathy December 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Let us know how it works out, Anne.
Cathy recently posted..Business Communication Mind-Mapping of a Manual SortMy Profile


Sharon Hurley Hall December 12, 2012 at 11:48 am

I’ve never really managed mind mapping but your system seems very easy, Cathy.
Sharon Hurley Hall recently posted..5 Tips for Writing Powerful Product DescriptionsMy Profile


Cathy December 12, 2012 at 7:42 pm

I’m all about simple, Sharon. 🙂
Cathy recently posted..Business Communication Mind-Mapping of a Manual SortMy Profile


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