Complex Relationships Explained with “Bubbles and Intersections.”
The Power of Visualisation. How to explain complex relationships with simple lines, a few words and some colour.
If I were to ask you to explain the relationship between the Isle of Man, The British Isles, The United Kingdom, Ireland and the current situation since Brexit, in less than 50 words. Would you be able?
Background – Where the heck is the Isle of Man?
I live in Sydney, Australia; however, I originate from a little known place called the Isle of Man.
Don’t worry; you are not alone if you have never heard of it.
It is a magical place “famous” for cats with no tails (Manx Cats), one of the largest waterwheels ever built (Laxey Wheel), where adults talk to “fairies” (The Fairy Bridge), and a crazy motorcycle race called the T.T. (Isle of Man Tourist Trophy).
At this point, I usually get asked a few questions. Firstly, “Where the heck is it?”
Answer: “It’s a tiny island in between England and Ireland in the middle of the Irish Sea.”
Once past this question, I often get asked, “Is it part of Great Britain or the United Kingdom?”
Too Many Words
If I try to explain it verbally, it takes quite a few words. Even after going through all this trouble, did the person genuinely understand, or are they just nodding and wishing they had never asked in the first place? If I have a pen and paper to hand, I usually draw a simple diagram, so much easier.
How often do you use words to explain concepts, ideas, instructions and assume that the recipient has understood you?
You don’t have to be an artist to use visuals to help you communicate, yet if you use visuals, they can be powerful!
So, please allow me to use this example to show you just how powerful visuals can be.
Back to the Second Question: “Is it part of Great Britain or the United Kingdom?”
With just a few words (actually 25), some colour and simple lines, I can not only show you that it is not part of Great Britain or the U.K. I can also show you what makes up Great Britain, the United Kingdom, the relationship between the U.K. and Ireland, the Crown Dependencies, the places that make up The British Isles AND how they relate to the European Union since Brexit.
NOTE: If you want to find this out on your own you will need to visit at least 2-3 websites and trawl through hundreds of words to find the information you need.
If you are not using visuals to help you in your day to day work, you are missing out and sadly, so may the people around you.
Incredibly, you don’t even need to create meaningful drawings to benefit from visualisation; let me introduce you to the world of doodling.
Doodle: “To draw pictures or patterns while thinking about something else or when you are bored.” – Cambridge Dictionary
Doodling and Memory Retention
Back in 2009 British psychologist, Jackie Andrade ran an experiment with forty people. She asked them to monitor a short, dull and rambling voice mail message. Half the group were instructed to doodle during the exercise (colour in a shape), and the other half asked to listen. Both groups were unaware that their memory recall would be tested after the exercise. Surprisingly, the half that doodled were able to recall 29% more of the information.
Imagine what happens when you use visuals that relate to the content!
J Andrade – Applied Cognitive Psychology: The Official Journal of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition – Published by Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Special Thanks: The diagram has been used with the express permission of the author Martin Haussmann and the incredible team at bikablo H.Q. – Cologne. Thank you, Martin!
The original diagram is from Page 98 of bikablo® publication “UZMO – Thinking With Your Pen.” – Bikablo Publications
Do you wish you could draw it but don’t, as you think you are “rubbish at drawing”? We can teach you how in just two day’s, please take a look at our bikablo training course offerings.
The Humble PM – A space for introspection, growth, visualisation and learning, a place where we can be vulnerable, share stories, talk openly about the truth so that you can create better environments for your people.