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How does visual thinking help you at work?

Updated: Jan 30

The author Maria Nawrocka of the article:" How does visual thinking help you at work?".

Publication date: 26.10.2023

People think in two different ways: the first one is verbal and the second visual. The former means that information you have in your mind is represented by words. The second one is when your thoughts are shown as pictures or situations you experienced. The most crucial part about it, is to be aware of which one of these two you are more used to.

Temple Grandin, the author of the book ‘Visual Thinking: The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures, Patterns, and Abstractions’, says that visual thinking is much slower than verbal one.

If you are a more verbal thinker you probably don’t have problems explaining what is going on your mind. People who think in pictures have more difficulties sharing their thoughts in the oral way. So, realizing this fact helps you to determine your thinking and to be more clear with your communication.

visual skill to improve your communication

Why should you try to use your visual thinking more often?

Even if you are a more verbal thinker, there are still many ways to use your visual skill to improve your communication. Using your imagination, you are able to get the most interesting ideas and gather information in the unclouded style. It’s definitely easier to remember things described by pictures or colors than things presented by the long wall of the text.

What’s more, a visual way to show information is a perfect technique to get the essentials of your process of thinking. For example, you can easily find the purpose of the sentence because it’s impossible to present every word in a picture. That’s why you can make your idea in the most concentrated way.

A few examples of visual methods

1. Mind maps

This is one of the most known methods. You can start with your goal in the middle of your drawing, then use arrows and icons to develop your idea. You can link every aspect with another and see the process of thinking step by step. Nowadays there is a lot of mind mapping softwares which can be helpful in this case as well.

2. Venn Diagram

To compare two different problems, you can draw two circles which are linked with their sides. Each circle represents what is not similar. The connected space is a place for what is the same.

3. Radar charts

If you have more than two aspects to consider, you can use a radar chart. How does it work? Put every side of the problem on the edge of the circle. Then draw lines from the center of the circle to each of the dimensions.

Divide lines with the numbers - the closer to the aspect, the higher the number. Choose the weight of importance of every piece of information. Now you can see disparities most easily.

4. Sketches

You don’t need to be a professional artist to show your thoughts through the pictures. It is a perfect way to release stress and vent some undescribed information. When you don’t know how to start with some idea, just try to put patterns, figures, or objects on the paper. It can work similarly to writing or sharing thoughts orally.

So how and why should you consider enhancing your company's work structure with visual methods?

Visual thinking at work

Visual thinking at work

Verbal ways of communication are traditional ones. Focusing only on the verbal aspects can be overwhelming and as a result less productive. You can start with finding the problem to solve and encourage your colleagues or supervisors to work on it together in a different way.

Try to use visual thinking strategies written above such as a whiteboard. You can draw diagrams, write motivational sentences or create colorful pictures there.

It doesn’t matter if you are in charge of running the business or you are a part of it. Visual methods boost productivity, strengthen focus, and improve communication skills. Well, just try to have some fun with visual thinking and improve your workplace environment!


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