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Leaning to People

The Power of Engaging with a Visual Narrative

Yesterday, I dropped by one of pearcemayfield’s courses to see Richard Rose, the CEO, and trainer on this event. The course was on AgilePM©. And I saw the diagram above drawn on a flipchart. I’ve seen this before and I’ve noted the way Richard does it. He tells a story as he draws what is a key diagram for AgilePM.

And he must have done this the day before. The Roles Diagram relates to so much of the AgilePM method that he deliberately does this early on in the course and leaves it on display for the delegates to muse on it as they consider later topics.

A Visual Narrative

I’ve discussed this with Richard and our other trainers. One of the most powerful ways of understanding complex content is through a visual narrative. It seems that people can recall far more of what is being said if they can see it drawn at the same time. And quirky hand-drawn cartoons appear to be even more memorable than if something is homogenized into a PowerPoint presentation. It’s the quirky-ness and the joking in class that sticks in people’s brains as hooks.

All I could do at school was paint and draw and that was the only time I ever passed any exam. It was the only thing I ever got right at school.

David Bailey, Artist

I’ve tried various online techniques, from recording my Prezi-based presentations and using Whiteboard animation software. (See my YouTube channel for examples of both.)

Yet nothing seems to stimulate people’s engagement, aid recall, and help integration with other aspects of a subject as seeing a live discussion drawn. Even more so, nothing seems to help me develop my understanding of a new subject better than if I can sketch it out as I explain it back to someone else.

What was the best live illustration you saw drawn that has stayed with you?

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