The Importance of Visuals

In a recent conversation over coffee with a business consultant, an interesting point was made about the impact he has on his clients. “We provide excellent conversations as well as concise documentation, but I feel we are not connecting completely.” At that point we began discussing the visuals and sketchnotes I have created, both of recorded events and live discussions. He asked me why I thought they had such impact. Here’s my reply in a graphic.

3 languagesIn order to create a long-lasting impact, I feel very strongly that your message must have all three types of language blended together to create a clear and complete message. Even though some research may show that visuals or graphics are not a pure type of language, most can not deny this form still communicates information and ideas as well as add a sense of story. Story conveys context more than just content.

I have discussed this before in earlier blog posts that visuals are the oldest known language dating back before 40,000 B.C. Today, many people in business as well as everyday life, have forgotten the power that a visual can add to comprehension,  clarity and retention. This is why, I believe, the increasing interest and application of visual recording is bringing Graphic Recording, Graphic Facilitation, Sketchnoting, etc.. into the boardroom, group discussions, ideation and even education.

It is a proven fact that we all absorb and learn information differently and at different rates, so does it not make sense to deliver the message or information in various forms to ensure that everyone understands? My suggestion is always, if possible, to use all three language types to deliver your message, collaborate an idea or when seeking a solution. You may just be surprised at the level of involvement by all participants and the level of retention.

For those individuals seeking research, here is some links that may help:

HP’s “The Power of Visual Communication”

“Mapping the Spectrum: Techniques of Visual Representation in Research and Teaching” by Klaus Hentschel

“Why Visual Communication” by the Stephen Few

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