The Power of Visual Communications

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During the pandemic, we all learned how to have conversations, including presenting important information to people virtually. While we knew how to use visuals to complement our verbal message to help communicate more effectively, we generally did so mostly with planned meetings. We’d come with  using PowerPoint or Google slides that we though prior to the meeting might help. While we could at any point use the “whiteboard” feature to communicate, we did so rarely.

When the pandemic ended, the path of least resistance in coaching and other meetings, often was to stick to the virtual delivery process of using Zoom, teams, etc., since it meant we didn’t have to travel.  

Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that when I encourage my clients to meet with me in the office, the meetings are richer and accomplish a lot more, because we grab the pads  that I give everyone and people draw visuals to complement the spoken or written words, but aren’t fully understood. Meeting in person magnified our ability to “read” when the other party isn’t fully appreciating the point made, and enables us to spontaneously clarify it through a visual concept, like a Venn diagram, a graph, a flow process, etc.

In 5 Ways to Boost Your Leadership Through Visual Communication, the authors note 5 ways in which you can incorporate visuals into a conversation that increase your ability to communicate effectively. They are:

  • Picture your goal.  By sketching the ultimate business goal, you’ve tricked your brain into assuming it already happened. This encourages you to embrace that future with greater confidence.
  • Create a visual scorecard. As we know from other experiences, by putting a visual of the scores in front of you, where they are easy to see and simple, you can grasp whether your;e winning or losing quickly.
  • Use a visual hierarchy to avoid getting lost in details. By highlighting the key numbers (make them larger, bolder, etc., it becomes easier to focus on what really counts.
  • Draw, rather than explain. Remember the adage: a picture is worth a thousand words.  And today, no-one wants 1000 words!
  • Personify everything: using stick figures, flow charts, visual maps, etc. you can personify core stakeholders and connect with them better.

So, if you want more impactful coaching, consulting and presentation sessions, with better information flow and bonding, engage in more face-to-face meetings where you can leverage the power of using visuals. One other resource to upgrade your thinking and give you access to new tools: see Todd Cherches’s excellent book and workshops on Visual Leadership: Leveraging the Power of Visual Thinking in Leadership and In Life.