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24 Jan '19

Why Visualise?

Posted by Jaya Machet

It is very hard to have clear thought processes due to the bombardment of ideas, information, & observations. It is helpful to put your thoughts on paper be it text, graphics or pictures. More and more people are using 'thought sketching' to make ideas visible.

By using icons, symbols, pictograms or graphics as key visuals you can make an abstract idea tangible. Content you have written or drawn is easier to remember and recall as most people learn by seeing and doing rather than hearing.

An illusion of having understood something arises when too complex information is delivered too quickly. Slide presentations and projectors flood you with pictures, bullet points and graphics. In contrast, visualising by hand takes time and restricts you to the essentials thereby anchoring knowledge in the participant's mind.

A trainer, coach or facilitator can address participant's questions and comments directly onto the poster. Thus creating a picture that everyone has actively contributed to turning a one way monologue into a open conversation. Everyone involved can see their own contribution reflected in the decision making.

Since dialogue is chaotic it is better to give the conversation a free reign rather than be constrained by an agenda. Visualisation maps out a path of exploration to ensure that the participants don't get lost in their ideas.

Visualiser has to be aware that a particular symbol doesn't have universal meaning. Martin Hausmann inventor of Bikablo tells the story of how the icon of steam rising from a cup was interpreted as noodles hanging above a cup.

If dry subjects and intricate problems are visualised with a bright and colourful poster, it can focus attention, lighten the atmosphere and delight the participants.

Bikablo, a systematic, simple and effective German method to visualise. It provides a ready-made visual vocabulary to express thoughts, group discussions and ideas. 

I am a Bikablo certified visual trainer based in Singapore conducting 1 day and 2-day visual facilitation trainings.