Dan Roam is a management consultant and strong advocate of incorporating visual thinking into your business to solve any problem. He's the author of four best-selling business books, including The Back of the Napkin, which has been called one of the best innovation books of the year.

Wrike interviewed Dan Roam to get his take on using visuals at work to improve the way we're working and communicating. Watch to learn:

  • His predictions for the future of work — it's not a common viewpoint!
  • How to fix common problems he sees in both large and small teams.
  • How to deal with the three major business problem areas: emails, meetings, and reporting on activities.
  • How to use pictures to sell your ideas or startup pitch, even if you don't think you're a good salesman.
  • Why it's important for every worker to hone their presentation skills.

Hit 'play' now to hear more about visual thinking and how you can use it to improve communication on your team: (Note: there is a minor sound issue in the first minute.)

Our biggest takeaways from our interview with Dan Roam were how we can start using visuals to improve our team communication today. Here are some ideas from Dan Roam, mixed in with a few of our own:

5 Ways to Use Visuals to Improve Communication

  1. Classic technique: when giving a presentation, instead of loading your PowerPoint slides with text, fill them with pictures to illustrate your point or inspire a feeling in your audience.
  2. Before sending an email, think about the content. Can you illustrate any of your ideas instead of sending a explanatory paragraph? Sketch it out quickly on paper, snap a picture on your phone, and attach it to your email. Next time they respond, you'll be working around an image, instead of a heavy block of text.
  3. If you're sending a task to your design team, mock up your design ideas instead of explaining them with words. Even if you don't have a good eye for aesthetics, giving them your ideal layout at the start prevents the disappointment and wasted time of them creating a first draft that misses the mark.
  4. Proactively get up and use a whiteboard during meetings. Just hold the marker in your hand to make yourself more likely to open up and start drawing. Even if you use circles, squares, and arrows to illustrate your point, structured whiteboarding helps make sure everyone  understands the goals in the same way.
  5. When it comes to reporting, a picture is worth a thousand words. Send charts and graphs instead of a string of numbers and percentages.

What do you think about bringing more visuals into conversations?

Have you read any of Dan Roam's books? What was your biggest takeaway from our Dan Roam interview? If you are already using visuals to improve team communication, have you noticed a big difference?

Share your thoughts with everyone below, and if you already have a tried and tested method, tell us how we can keep improving the way we work with visualization. Let's start a conversation!

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