Did you know our brains interpret images 600,000 times faster than text? Yep. Pretty darn fast eh! (Source: Power of visual storytelling by Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio which was one of my top reads from 2018).
Our brains love images. They draw us in, draw us close and open the door to story and narrative.
That’s why I was thrilled to have Mireille van Bremen (that’s her above) lead a workshop at my recent Learning and Development roundtable on….
“Visual communication: The leadership skill of the 21st century.
Now I can hear you kicking up your resistance. “But Lee-Anne, I’m not an artist, I’m not creative, I don’t know how to draw,” I hear you say.
Rest assured. Relax.
Visual communication is NOT about being an artist. And it’s NOT about being able to draw fast and furious.
Visual communication IS about being inclusive and accessible in our work, our teaching, learning, and communication. It IS about being creative. And it IS about being more resourceful and resilient; “Creativity is a way to be resourceful,” says Mireille.
During Mireille’s workshop, we learned that communicating visually isn’t an art it’s a skill, which anyone can learn.
That bears repeating. You don’t have to be an artist (although a French beret is optional) and visual communication is a skill that anyone can learn, including you and me.
Visual communication is about visual literacy, which includes visual language, visual communication skills, facilitation skills and visual skills.
What is this visual language I speak of? It was one of my favourite things I learned from Mireille. Turns out there’s a series of shapes and visuals that make up a visual language. When you combine them you can make all sorts of things.
I don’t know about you but this sounds imminently more doable and much, much easier.
Here’s what I mean. Here is the visual language that Mireille shared with us and that I copied down.
Now here are some things I made with that same visual language. See how the house is a combination of a cloud, some rectangles, squares and a triangle. Easy peasy.
I was really intrigued to hear from Mireille how many places you can use visual communication.
Some uses she suggested were:
- Your journal
- Visual templates
- To track your progress (make a cool, fun wheel to fill in)
- Notes to yourself
- Handouts etc.
In addition to my beloved tech tools, I use a self-made paper based handout to plan out my work each week. My goal is to revise it with some fun visual communication symbols.
So with French beret in hand (or not) have fun, be creative (because after all creativity has many faces), and don’t judge yourself. Visual communication is a really important and fun skill to gain, which has tons of uses.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead.
Watch the video of Mireille’s workshop here.
- Watch what can happen when visual communication is used to distraction!
- Draw out a visual language for yourself.
- Combine some of the shapes to create some images (remember don’t judge yourself, have fun).
- Find 1 or 2 ways to use visual communication in your own work.