At the start of the year, we are typically inundated with tips to improve ourselves, our schedule, our body, our family, and our performance at work. The idea of visualizing our goals is one concept I see (pun intended) over and over. However, a quarter of the way into the year, your vision board may be gathering dust as your projects have started to derail or fall by the wayside. May I suggest we reframe the value we see in this visualization exercise? Let’s understand why it’s helpful, when it’s valuable, and how to easily apply it – specifically as we look at successful change management and its impacts on the advancement of our initiatives.
Visual Communication: What is it and why does it matter?
Change is hard. As a person with a full schedule and many daily responsibilities, the pressure to understand something new or complex outside of your typical routine is a lot to ask. When both competency and efficiency are put at risk with a process or product change, the status quo can look more tempting.
To remediate this, I encourage the use of visual communication to improve project management as a whole. Visual communication — or the use of icons, graphs, and pictures to convey ideas and information — can introduce topics, gain buy-in, and encourage adoption. Using visuals can help us reach our goals of sustainable change.
Visual elements have scientific support for their effectiveness based on the way the brain works. Not only do you understand information faster, but you also remember it better. According to studies, the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. When a person is asked to recall information three days later, on average, he or she can only recall 10% of text-based information. Information recall jumps to 65% when a picture or graphic is added.
Think about the implications of this during an onboarding session with a new hire or when meeting with an executive who makes multiple decisions every day. Visuals help get your information more attention, are easily digestible, and are more likely to be remembered later.