Sketches: The communication secret

Have you ever tried to explain something to a client and they are looking either extremely bored or confused? Traditional methods like a slide, text or tables may not be cutting it. While you are talking away, the listener may be trying to come up with a picture in their head of what you are talking about. This barrier could also cause them to understand something incorrectly or not get the whole picture.

Sketches can solve this problem because you can use the pictures to show others exactly what you mean without having to rely on them making something up in their head. For centuries pictures and drawings have been used as a tool to communicate effectively. So why not use it to communicate in the corporate sphere today? 

You may not be able to communicate everything in a drawing, but it is a great way to keep people engaged, have a starting point to go off of, and a reference to go back to if the conversation gets off track. Even simple sketches can help to remove understanding barriers to start a conversation around. 

I use sketches often in my presentations or workshops and have had amazing responses from all sorts of people about how easy it was to understand what was being talked about and also how engaging it was. 

Now you may be thinking? But I am so bad at drawing! 

That is ok, even the simplest shapes can be used to communicate. Remember, everything is made out of shapes. To draw a chair or person ,it’s made up of a bunch of simple shapes like rectangles, circles and lines. Drawing shapes and putting them together is all you need to do. Using arrows to denote actions or steps can help to create a story or explain a process.

Sketches are also useful to help work through ideas yourself. If you are stuck on a problem, you can get ideas out of your head and onto paper in the form of sketches. This can help you visualize where the gaps may be, share ideas with others, and have something to reference later. Before I proceed with an idea I like to sketch it up roughly and get feedback on it before I spend lots of time on a solution that may not optimally solve the problem.

Sketches can also be helpful when taking notes in meetings. They can be helpful to jog your memory when looking back at your notes later or to show to someone presenting. to ensure that you were understanding correctly. Creating sketches for your own reference can be a great way to improve your confidence in your sketching abilities before implementing it in a presentation.

So next time you are creating a presentation, starting off a new project or trying to explain a concept, take out your doodling tools and get sketching!