A picture is worth a thousand words. The evidence is in visual control, and visual management is preferable to gobs of words. Images make us think. We need to think to create images that tell the story – that help us and others to visualize our thoughts.
Think about the report you are doing.
Think about the relationship you are describing.
Think about the effect you are trying to communicate.
Try these three tips for jump-starting your personal visualization practice:
- Scribble a picture instead of trying to describe your thoughts. Do it quickly, without thinking too much about it. Use paper and a pencil. If you are obsessive-compulsive, use graph paper. The rest of you use blank paper to visualize.
- Don’t worry about how it looks. You’re more of a Picasso anyway. Use simple shapes, arrows and do some labeling. A great picture tells the whole story, but get started by using the picture and showing folks what you mean. Along the way, you’ll get ideas to refine your image.
- Don’t let “normal” conventions get in your way. Normal is a setting on a dryer. What kind of conventions get in our way? The email convention insists that we have to write things out. Really? Snap a pic of your scribble and attach it. Better yet, just text it and ask for a call back so you can describe it. The PowerPoint conventions are many. The biggest one is that creating that .ppt image will tell the story better than your scribble. Poppycock! Stand firm and resist the temptation to click the “smart diagrams button.” Are those diagrams smarter than you?? That button should be labeled the “too-lazy-to-think-this-through-on-my-own” button or the “I-have-to-make-this-pretty-or-my-boss/client/audience-will-think-less-of-me” button. Kick normal in the ass and press on to visualize.
We both know that the picture will tell the story. For a little inspiration and coaching, take a look at Dan Roam’s website and book, The Back of the Napkin. Practice this, and it may just become second nature to you. Remember that great leaders are teacher/coaches and need to be ready in an instant to don that mantle and deliver. Be ready.0