Quick, think back to a recent time when you were trying to convince someone about your ideas or opinion. Did you use logic? Emotion? Stories? Whatever your approach, chances are your tool of choice was mostly words, either spoken or written.
Whether you were successful or not, you could have improved your chances (and decreased the time spent persuading) by making a drawing or using a simple visual. The use of visual IP – proprietary drawings, diagrams, or frameworks to support your ideas – can be a persuasion power booster for three key reasons: speed, memorability, and differentiation.
Images travel like a Ferrari to your brain. In fact, your brain can identify a visual image 30 times faster than a blink of your eye! That’s due, in part, to the way the body is wired for visual processing. Compared to text, visuals are processed 60,000 times faster, since nearly half of our nerve fibers are linked to our retinas. Humans can grasp a picture much faster than words – as brief as 13 milliseconds, according to MIT scientists. When you’re trying to make your point quickly, turn to a visual.
Because the brain thinks differently in pictures, your ideas will become more memorable if translated into a visual representation. An image of a three-step process, for example, will make a much stronger impression than three words or phrases. This holds true even if it’s a crude drawing of three boxes. In fact, research shows that the brain processes reading by seeing each word as an individual picture. When reading – particularly fiction – we create mental movies. Yes, we are hard-wired to create and remember pictures.
Differentiate to Accelerate
No matter what discipline you work in – and whether you’re self-employed, in a small business, or a large organization – you are competing to have your ideas recognized and accepted. We see this every day in the products and services we choose. Brands carry a visual shortcut, whether it’s a Nike swoosh, the Starbucks’ mermaid-like siren, or Apple’s bite-taken-out-of-it apple. We see that brand and immediately our brains translate that image into an emotion.
So the next time you’re facing a puzzled face, or someone who doesn’t see your point of view, or even a blinking cursor as you craft a document to promote your idea, product, or service, think in pictures. How might your thinking be expressed as a drawing, diagram, or framework? How can you help someone quickly understand and remember your ideas – all the while standing out from your competition?
VIsual IP doesn’t need to be Michaelangelo-level artwork. Simple lines and shapes can deliver your message with impact. What’s important is that it conveys your ideas, and creates value for the receiver as well as intellectual property you can leverage in multiple ways.
In my next article, I’ll be exploring the five essential shapes these visuals can take. These are shapes you’ve been drawing since your childhood, and they can bring your ideas to life.