Blog: Clive Thompson on the Power of Visual Thinking

Gray Kuglen, who designed our website and also happens to be the brother of Chuck Kuglen, my fellow Managing Partner at THG, turned me onto a book titled, “The Back of the Napkin” awhile back.  As the Clive Thompson piece in Wired quotes the author Dan Roam who:
… argues that our culture relies too heavily on words: Our school systems—and political systems—are designed to promote people who are verbal and eloquent. And text tends to encourage us to describe our problems as narratives or linear lists of facts.

But dynamic, complicated problems—like global warming and economic reform—often can’t be boiled down to simple narratives. They’re systems; they have many little parts affecting one another. In those situations, drawing a picture can clarify what’s going on. “Words,” Roam says, “won’t save us.”

I could not agree more with the essence of this piece.  Too often, our clients think of presentation and communication as strictly a verbal process.  They neglect to think about how to use visual aids (white boards, flip charts, graphs, charts, drawings, photos, props, etc.) to convey their message.
Visual aids engage the right hemisphere of our brain.  The right side is the side required for pattern recognition.  For more on the use of symbols and visuals, read an earlier post on Using Symbols In Your Presentation.

Terry Gault


Wednesday, January 19th, 2011. Filed under: Blog