A few years back, I taught a workshop in whiteboard and graphic recording skills. Watching two participants, I realized that some of the worst mistakes come from the best artists. Here’s what happened…

One of the participants created charts that looked like an intricate children’s book. Seriously, the graphics were stunningly beautiful. In her future chart, she drew elaborate sketches detailing the process of how she would plan her future. Images included calendars, retreat time, reflection activities, counseling and emerging dreams. It was breathtaking.

Another participant drew simple charts, built of shapes and critical words. She built a timeline with specific steps that included commitments necessary to get a PhD from Columbia. At the time, she had not applied. But in the vision, all the steps from application, interviews, class work and thesis were clearly shown. Each step was precise, clear and linked to a specific time, culminating in a degree.

Now fast forward.

Several years later. Guess who has a PhD? Yes, you got it. The second participant.

The first one, well…I’m not sure what ever happened to her.

This story is both a cautionary and an inspirational one. Caution: Don’t get overly swept up in creating beautiful charts and whiteboard depictions. Sure, make your visual displays easy to look at and easy to understand. But, remember this: the true power is in the ideas and not in the beautiful rendering of the images.

Inspiration: Be clear, concise and commit to timelines. When you envision a goal, project, or process, define small steps. Break big goals down into small steps that are discrete and do-able. This helps you make steady progress and ultimately complete your goal.

Now flash forward.

You’re standing in front of your super busy client. He or she wants to see the simplest representation of what you are offering. Whether you are selling ideas, products, services or solutions—the request is always a variation of this: “Show me what you mean.”

According to academic research, approximately 65-80% of the population are visual thinkers. People who think visually make decisions based on visual displays. They are often asking for a picture, a diagram, or a line drawing. They want to see what things look like.

When your prospect of client says, “show me what you mean!” what are they really asking for? Do they want to see every single nut and bolt of what you offer? Of course not.

They are asking for the very simplest representation of value. They want to see the solutions and benefits from a 50,000-foot view. The forest. Not the trees.

This is a very important distinction. A lot of experts (who are brilliant) forget that this is what a decision maker is really asking. They rarely want to know as much as you do. They just want to know ‘enough’ to make an informed decision.

In short, ask yourself a single question: “What is the simplest way I can show this?” Your answer will be a sketch, a drawing, or a whiteboard representation at it’s most essential. It should be easy to draw, easy to talk about and easy to understand.

Interested in giving interactive visual presentations? When you learn these skills, you’ll have the key to unlock richer conversations, faster decisions, and faster sales.

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/