I had some time recently to ponder the marvellous, international, border crossing nature of working visually.
Our need for a shared language has never been more necessary, more relevant or more useful. At one end of the economic spectrum companies continue to merge, outsource and expand, creating vast global workforces. At the other end 'gig' culture and the freelance revolution has been built on the back of technology which allows us to work globally and nomadically, often for the first time. So how do we communicate effectively in our modern world?
Visually of course.
I’m lucky in my work. As well as working with large diverse workforces here in the UK I’ve worked in different countries across Europe at meetings large and small. I've drawn in Dubai, I’ve trained teams in India and I've even co-produced training for an organisation in Laos.
I’m always impressed (and a bit ashamed!) by the linguistic skills of the people I work with. But, equally the people I work with are always impressed with the visual language I bring to the table.
Pictures allow a common communication to take place within the room which doesn’t rely on the translation of one language to another. Pictures approach everyone equally and the benefits of this are positive in a way that words can’t compete with.
We understand and retain information better when it is visual. We connect with messages more easily when they are visual and if, like me, you read the ‘Happiness Advantage’ when it came out a few years ago, you will know that our minds respond to creativity and the happy feelings this brings with…well, more creativity and happy feelings. What’s not to like?
Of course even graphic recorders use text (some much more than others) but the power of the visual trumps all. Despite being the oldest form of recorded communication, working visually is also thoroughly modern, embracing our need and desire to communicate effectively without borders, whether these are geographical, or simply within the diversity of our own workforce.