Looking to capture and develop ideas with your team, partners and creative people around the world? Visual communication is key. Get the low-down here with 5 powerful tips for powerful collaboration.

Since early cave paintings, visual communication and visual storytelling have been central to how people connect. The early cave drawings show a record, told in pictures and words. Even across the distance of time, it’s easy to imagine early hunters telling their tales by firelight.

These days, visual storytelling is equally critical. More and more teams rely on hands-on tools such as flip charts, dry erase boards, and whiteboards. These tools are relatively easy to use, yet many professionals struggle with the skills.

In working with thousands of business executives, I’ve helped people gain confidence and comfort with visual communication. Funny enough, many of today’s current fans at one time firmly believed they had zero artistic ability. (“I cannot draw a straight line” is a common comment.

Last week, I trained a group of new sales reps. They’re excited and on fire about the new skills they have to capture a sales conversation at a whiteboard. Here are 5 tips that helped them succeed. Just remember: if they can do it…you can do it.

1. Capture what people say
The fastest way to engage your audience? Write their words down on the whiteboard or flip chart. Of course, you don’t have to capture each and every single word. Focus on the key words that capture their idea in a short, succinct statement.

2. Write first…draw second
You already know how to write. So, capture the key words first, and then draw to amplify the meaning. This helps buy you a bit of time to connect the concept with an appropriate graphic.

Practicing in a hands-on class, participants learn how to record real-time conversation at a rapid rate. If you are getting ready to use this skill in front of clients, be sure to allow plenty of time for fast-paced rehearsals.
3. Use visual frameworks
As you’ve probably seen, most business whtieboards are a mess. They are often a haphazard blend of words, scribbles and poor sketches.

This doesn’t look professional, interesting or structured. To move past the blur of ‘stuff on a whiteboard’ you must use structured frameworks.

Some of the frameworks you already know: a timeline, a list, or a grid. In a presentation skills training, you’ll discover a treasure chest of ways to organize information for visual impact.

This is the ‘secret sauce’ that most people never touch. With this knowledge your whiteboards will ‘pop’ and people will ‘get’ your story, filled with excitement.

4. Practice lettering for credibility
As my young sales reps found out, there’s more to lettering than meets the eye. Let’s face it. It has probably been many years since you picked up a marker and worked on your penmanship.

Well, maybe you didn’t need it for PowerPoint. Buy you definitely need it to be credible and professional at a whiteboard. If your lettering is illegible, and people laugh at your chicken scratch…take note.

Illegible lettering is not a good idea. If people can’t read what you write, they won’t understand the value of what you’re selling. Also, busy decision makers may assume that you don’t care about your writing…and therefore don’t care enough about your sales, service or product. Ouch.

5. Practice your content
Tempting as it is to learn thousands of icons, don’t forget your day job. Learning to communicate visually is deeply rooted in your topic, content and presentation focus.

That’s why it is essential to practice visuals tied closely to your content. Do this first.

See, it’s not so rough. That’s how ambitious new sales professionals get started…and how they become pros. Of course, if you’re serious about using visual communication, take a laser-focused training. With online presentation skills training, learning these skills is easier and faster than ever before.

Author's Bio: 

Milly Sonneman is a recognized expert in visual language. She is the co-director of Presentation Storyboarding, a leading presentation training firm, and author of the popular guides: Beyond Words and Rainmaker Stories available on Amazon. Milly helps business professionals give winning presentations, through Email Marketing skills trainings at Presentation Storyboarding. You can find out more about our courses or contact Milly through our website at: http://www.presentationstoryboarding.com/