everyone can draw

This tweet yesterday from a recent social media friend:

reminded me of something that I learned from another friend some years ago, reinforced by my dear wife and her design colleagues.

Everyone can draw.  (and the corollary: Everyone should draw).

It really is true that a picture is worth 1,000 words AND it is often so much more effective to get your point across with a quick sketch than 15 minutes of hand-waving and fast-talking (although I do practice both of those techniques as well).


a picture is worth 1,000 words (the person is drawing a person drawing a person drawing on a whiteboard, remember that I am still an engineer at heart!)

My favorite book on the topic is “The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures” by Dan Roam which I have gifted to several of my team members over the years.

In fact, a recent cleanup by the aforementioned dear wife also found 3 copies of this book in our library (for reference, multiple book purchases are considered a no-no, around here… There are also several copies of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” around the house, but they are in different desk and nightstand drawers, so as to avoid easy detection. David Allen also has a great back-story that I heard in an NPR episode some years back, but now I am really digressing, so will save that story for another day!)

At any rate, drawing and visual communication in general – like the snippets of video messages that Polly talks about in her post – are so often much more effective than a whole lot of talking.

In this day and age with palm-held distractions all around, audiences are even less likely to pay attention than they were in the past. A speaker, whether talking to one other person, or to a roomful of people, needs to be concise and focussed. A picture, or sketch, or diagram helps to do that.

I try hard to simplify my presentations and add pictures judiciously, but regularly. A recent exemplar was my “death panel” slides created for a workshop this past August.

Everyone can draw. Everyone should draw. Communicate more, talk less.


About er1p

Also known as "Daddy".
Image | This entry was posted in Communication, Design. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to everyone can draw

  1. polly says:

    “Communicate more. Talk less.”
    LOVE LOVE LOVE that! Great post.

    • er1p says:

      Thanks polly for the support! My inspiration for the phrase was “wag more, bark less” bumper sticker seen around town! Applies to all kinds of communication.

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