Can you draw?
Pictures and models offer powerful platforms for organizing thoughts and key messages
For those of you in North America who still ever watch network TV, do you know that commercial where the kid spray paints graffiti on the wall and that leads to a narrative about his future as a designer and success in life? As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words (and an income, apparently!).
I’ve experimented with some of this with clients as well, where companies like Making Ideas Visible plot key themes and trends, along with relevant facts and figures, on large swaths of butcher block paper to help the audience and follow-on readers visualize the key take away’s from an event. There’s even a Center for Graphic Facilitation, which offers “ideas, methods, and tools for visual learners,” which according to multiple sources comprises about 65% of us.
One of my former Big 4 energy sector clients is partial to the “energy triangle” – the nexus of economics, energy and the environment – as a construct and concept into which his firm invested considerable resources and intellectual capital. In fact, our work with him and his firms helped to build an entire index around the new energy architecture, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.
So my simple message is only a bit more elegant than the advice to “learn how to draw”. Pictures and models offer powerful platforms for organizing thoughts and key messages. How many of us have ever sat in a presentation of dozens of slides, loaded with text, versus hearing a presenter talk about, around, and through a single slide with a picture. Which would you prefer?
It actually takes a lot of thinking and hard work to get the graphic right. Some of us have the technical talent to draw, some of us are PowerPoint jockeys, but all of us should be able to sketch to explain, even if that means relying on others on our team to help us visualize and capture meaning through pictures.
Getting your ideas and key points in order is part of that process, followed by making it come to life visually. In my experience, it is well worth the effort to try to simply and magnify key ideas though pictures. And, your prospects and clients will appreciate it, I promise! For one example of the ‘power of drawing’ check out this info-graphic on the energy efficiency.
* This blog series comes from my own ideas and work with clients. Full permission to share.