Use a large sheet of paper and some different coloured markers:
1. Start by writing out the word that best represents the central idea in the middle of the paper
2. Next, draw out different branches leading from the central topic with sub-topics that further explore the subjects. From the sub-topics, you can further branch out with any ideas that may link to it
3. Use different symbols and remember to focus on key words, not sentences
4. As you work on several ideas at one time, avoid going back to the linear format and elaborating too much
5. Make full use of lines, colours, little boxes and arrows to make your diagram easier to understand and more interesting.
(source from Cara Yap: Operation:Braniac of www.motherhood.com.sg)