Yes, I See That

How many times have you said that after someone explains something to you? That you see what they are talking about. You see because you can visualize what they are saying. If you can’t visualize it — if you can’t see it — then most likely, you don’t readily understand.

Your ability to understand through visualization actually originates with the dawn of humans. For over 250 thousand years, the first humans communicated through drawings and symbols. As such, we are hard-wired to comprehend visually. It’s only been the last few thousand years that humans have communicated by using letter forms, and only about 600 hundred years for the vast majority of people once Guttenberg invented the printing press.

Also, consider that letter forms, regardless of language, are essentially symbols. Because of this extensive history in drawings and symbols, our human brain consistently stores visual images in the same places, whereas our brain often stores the same verbal information in many different places. As a result, it’s easier for us to comprehend and recall visual information. My latest Toward Humanity blog post, “Yes, I See That” (or download the PDF), discusses this phenomenon.

So the next time you communicate, do it visually!

Writing Technical Information

As the Internet has become pervasive in our lives, the ability to write clearly and cogently has increased dramatically. We are continually communicating more and more in writing, and less verbally. Consider how many times you have written someone an extensive email rather than picking up the phone and calling?

What that means is that professionals who rarely had to write before are now writing more and more. The software tools for writing are everywhere, but for some reason, we think that just having the tools translates into knowing how to use them, knowing how to write. And yet that just isn’t the case.

Returning to the basics of writing, such as taking a business writing class, enables professionals to learn how to write. This creates two distinct benefits: coherent writing and reader comprehension, both laudable goals.