Graphic facilitation to make ideas tangible

Often visual thinking supports creativity and design thinking beyond the language.

Visual thinking is a way to organize your thoughts and improve your ability to think and communicate. It’s a great way to convey complex or potentially confusing information. It’s also about using tools — like pen and paper, index cards, and software tools — to externalize your internal thinking processes, making them more precise, explicit, and actionable.

Why is Visual Thinking critical?

There’s more information at your fingertips than ever before, and yet people are overwhelmed by it. When faced with too much information, we shut down. If your ideas can’t be drawn, they can’t be done. Visual thinking is a vital skill for developing new ideas and designs, communicating those ideas effectively, and collaborating with others to make them real.

Thinking visually in the cross-cultural communication flow is the best way to adapt to the 21st-century communication flow. People are collaborating and coworking in decentralized environments. Often visual thinking supports ideation and design thinking beyond the language.

Thinking visually

Benefits

  • Create instant empathy
  • Optimize reception between languages and cultural divide
  • The visual always dominates the verbal capturing attention
  • Illustrates complicated processes
  • Facilitates overlook and interaction
  • Easier ways to recall ideas

Cons

  • Overload creates confusion
  • Colors are cultural-bound
  • Symbols are not universally shared
  • Humor isn’t funny for everybody

Rules to respect

  1. Keep it short and simple
  2. The rules of third
  3. The cross-cultural awareness

Classify your visualization radius

  • Realistic
  • Sketch notes
  • Diagrams
  • Knowledge maps
  • Visual metaphors (conceptual, metaphorical, configurational)
  • Interactive visualization

Switch into Facilitator mode

As a team leader, it’s great to share your perspective on the organizational and leadership context relevant to the conversation at hand, but then make room for the team to figure out the next steps together. Stay focused on a collaborative mindset and pull communication, and you’ll be well-positioned to bring out the best from your team.

  • Plan on collaboration. Pull the wisdom from the group and articulate what’s being said.
  • Listen and ask questions. Move from push to pull communication.

Use templates

Templates let you plan out structure in advance. This frees you up from having to think about visual structure and hierarchy in the meeting. Have the team brainstorm about actions on Post-its first; then, I’ll add their final ideas to the template.

  1. Have a clear, focused objective
  2. Ask good questions (no more than 3 per template)
  3. Design the layout
  4. Choose the right size of paper
  5. Leave room to record
  6. Leave room to collect responses
  7. Use few colors
  8. Don’t clutter the space
image
image