Venn diagrams are greatly overlooked for their power to demonstrate inclusion, exclusion, and exclusivity. Let’s look at 2-, 3- and 4-circle Venn diagrams, and where to use each.
If you want to show the unique value you can bring to a project or client, a Venn diagram is golden. It can be a negotiator’s secret tool.
Two circles for commonality or exclusivity
A two-circle Venn diagram (above) can clarify what’s included and what’s left out. That overlap? It represents commonality. Or, a union of both. The overlap can also show the exclusivity that you cannot get by choosing either Circle A or Circle B.
Three circles for greater exclusivity
Up the ante to a 3-circle Venn and exclusivity heightens. The intersection — I call it the “golden triangle” (although not a perfect triangle) — can demonstrate extreme value. I’ve used a diagram like this to win a $50K pay raise and big contracts. So have others I’ve coached.
Four circles get pretty complex
Four-circle Venn diagrams border on cross-eyed complexity. The most common use is to communicate the Japanese concept of ikigai, or “what gives life meaning.” (Although many will vehemently argue it does it no justice.) Once again, the overlaps provide depth and meaning.
Which Venn diagram option to use?
Simple visuals can be powerfully persuasive. Circles, squares, triangles. All zoom to the brain faster than words. The challenge is matching shape and content.
For a Venn diagram, first get clear about what you want to communicate. Are you trying to show the power of union, or exclusivity? Which elements — and how many — will make your case most persuasively?
Clarify, then choose
Clarify your message first. Then select a shape that will communicate your idea most effectively.
When in doubt, simplicity rules. Choose Venn diagrams with 2 or 3 circles over 4. Don’t undercut the impact of a visual by making it too complex. Speedy comprehension is your ally.
Want to know more?
The circles of Venn diagrams are just one element of creating persuasive visuals that I teach in my cohort-based class, AUTHORITY BY DESIGN. In just three weeks, with a group of like-minded professionals, you can create a portfolio of frameworks and Visual IP to increase your visibility, credibility, and revenue.