Dexterous at doodling? Skilled at sketching? A visionary with visualizations? Would you even venture as far as calling yourself an “artist”?

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If being visual couldn’t be further away from your comfort zone, then trust me, you’re not alone. The intense fear many experience is because “art” very quickly becomes personal – and when that happens, judgement from others also feels more personal. When that judgement occurs in front of others, it can be a barrier that stops the majority before they even try. 

Coming from a mathematical background I have used the phrase “I’m no good at drawing” many times and have also observed many like me, with an initial lack of confidence in this area.

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I’m making an implicit presumption that you need to connect and convince others to buy something, to vote for your idea, to follow you along a path in whatever capacity you wish. If that is true then there’s a very tangible prize to be had in picking up a pen and getting a little more visual. And you want to know the best part? You could you actually enjoy it and reach the person you’re communicating to in a much more open, honest, and authentic way.

Think of your last meeting. Following up what was discussed and decided, you send an email. If opened on a smartphone first, it will be “thumb-scroll scanned” to gauge content and length. It’s diligently detailed, so the recipient clicks “Mark as Unread” intending to read it later on the larger laptop screen. Maybe they read it, but it’s fighting for attention, and looks like every other communication on email. TEXT!

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What if those same points arrive visually with minimal introduction. Natural curiosity of what is in a photo attachment increases the chances of it being opened and could increase the chance of it being opened again later on their laptop, and a positive action.

 

Mass production at high quality is not uncommon today. Despite that, value is still placed on the unique, however imperfect it appears. “They took the time to draw that for me?” can quickly help influence your audience, and if the message was worthy, increase the likelihood for them to act on it.

 

But, “I’m no good at drawing”, right?

 

In my work as a Customer Innovation Principal, most of the 60+ professionals I’ve run sessions with and worked with this last year start at that statement. A few hours later, by their own measure, each and every one demonstrates visible improvement. How?

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All that really happened was I used some skills I learned to introduce the basic concepts slowly, let people try them in a safe environment, practice at their own pace, ensure the group feeds back positively, and repeat. I did my best to stay authentic, honest, humble, and make the session FUN, and there is no pressure to adopt a certain style. In fact we celebrate the only style that is worth noting. Yours.

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If you want to get a flavour of the session, the deck is available here. It’s got all the facilitator notes so you get the flow. Maybe you might want to run one yourself?

 

Faith in your ability is required to start with because having some lets you discover some of the best ways to connect and convince your audience of your message. And when you can feel comfortable with your style, celebrate it and develop it without fear of judgement (as many exit the session claiming), then we’ve all just improved our chances of success.

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  • Bernard Rummel   5 years ago

    Hi Varik,
    thanks for this post! I also think “faith in your ability” is key. Actually, my art education in German schools was a veritable discouragement programme – making kids draw stuff they don’t want to, using tools that make satisfactory results impossible (watercolor! Irks!), and eventually grading them, making at least half of them feel insufficient.

    Can you tell what exactly you did in order to boost your own faith?

    😉 Bernard

  • Anonym  5 years ago

    Hi Bernard, thanks so much for sharing your experiences. It’s amazing (and frustratingly sad) how many people have had to endure similar. The phrase “fake it til you make it” or confidence being a self fulfilling prophecy has a ring of truth for me. It certainly helped me whilst initially practicing. The thing that really sustained me through the early (limited experience / easily dissuaded) times, was I found that I actually enjoyed it. Then it didn’t seem to matter as much if I was any good. And being any good is only subjective anyway. Maybe I’m just stubborn but I felt I owed it to the kid (me) that was dissuaded all those years ago to persist?

  • Anonym  5 years ago

    Great Post Varik! Sometimes all it takes is to put that pen on paper. Guess technology did tamper some of the inherent “drawing skills” each one of us have had.