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How to overcome the communications dilemma of brevity, simplicity and visual clarity



If I was to take an educated punt at three things people in business are crying out for it would be simplicity, brevity and clear visual thinking. We are zoomed out, are juggling return to work balls in the air, and have done a great deal of listening to people in the last 18 months.


All valuable no doubt. And in landing strategies that are fit for the modern world, a lot of thinking and talking has been hugely necessary.


But as a live illustrator, whose job it is to capture all that is being said in meetings, seminars and presentations and distil a huge amount of thoughts into a one page illustration, I am seeing not only positivity but almost a sense of gratitude that a visual plan on a page is a shareable and hopefully punchy outcome.


Because for all the great presentations being pitched, inspiration being shared and route maps being championed, ‘next slide please’ has become the norm, and recall from the audience sometimes sketchy as a result. Thanks to my agency friends for admitting and sharing that!


I’m not saying the pitch and sharing model needs to change, and far be it from me to fully judge, but I think what is increasingly vital is that all important final punch. The leave behind summary. The legendary plan on a page goal. Leaving the room with something that covers it all that is more than a final powerpoint slide.


Whether it be a pitch, or a webinar, a conference, an internal motivation session, a creative workshop or an annual planning session, visuals help with the win.


It’s a much more shareable outcome to keep and refer to as a distillation of a mammoth session.


It’s brand theatre if it’s happening live (which I do on a live screen while events are in full flow) and boosts both real time attention and post event recall


And of course we all think in pictures in reality, so it’s a format that naturally fits our brain patterns when the information ‘they’ are asked to process grows daily…


Sometimes competitive advantage, or pulling in focus to what is being said, can come down to the smaller detail. The illustration approach doesn’t create new thinking, but it does enhance what others are saying and hardwires those core thoughts into audience minds. And we all want a clear call to action in what we ask people to do, or to believe in…


Which brings things back to my start point punt around the value of the brevity, simplicity and visual clarity in a sea of loud things happening.


And three things I would highly recommend to think about around illustration and summation to match those goals


• Think how to make it a live part of your presentation rather than necessarily a pre prepped visual. Don’t lose the theatre and the curiosity it can build

• Work the outcome hard - use the visuals to revisit, recap and refer to regularly

• Include different people’s perspectives in the visuals - everyone likes a little bit of immortality and ego stroking and the more inclusive the illustration the harder it will work


This is rational messages meets emotional storytelling. Which is always a win win…


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