You know the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, it turns out that there is a growing amount of scientific evidence to support that notion.
According to experts, we only remember about 10% of what we hear in a meeting. That’s great because you get the key take-aways, but what if we could do better? When we connect what we hear with our own visual representation, we will remember up to 65% (over six times more!). We are also 80% more likely to remember something that we draw or see drawn over just hearing or reading it.
Enter the practices of strategic Illustration and graphic recording, active listening and facilitation techniques that can help you learn, plan, teach, retain information and creatively problem-solve.
This illustration by Rachel Smith captures best-selling author and visual strategist Dan Roam’s views on how images can add impact to any instance where we want to tell a story, persuade someone to think or believe a certain way, solve a problem, or simply remember important information.
"What is Graphic Recording?" Illustration: vidigami.com
By the time many of us graduate from high school, we have been conditioned to think that we are incapable of drawing. But graphic illustrators and strategists are quick to point out that, actually, we don’t need to be great artists to be effective visual communicators. In the video below, Creative Catalyst Guest Artist, bestselling author and strategic illustrator Christine Chopyak explains why it is easy for anyone to incorporate drawing into their business strategy.
Like Chris explains, the images don’t have to be complicated – stick figures along with basic shapes and bright colors used to group information goes a long way! Keep reading for more tips below.
According to Psychology Today, “A large body of research indicates that visual cues help us to better retrieve and remember information. The research outcomes on visual learning make complete sense when you consider that our brain is mainly an image processor (much of our sensory cortex is devoted to vision), not a word processor.”
These techniques work to:
If you need more proof that this practice is good for you, your business or your team, remember that anytime you can add a visual to content you want to remember and ruminate over, you are connecting your left and right brains. This is helpful for retention as well as creative problem-solving.
Most of the time people only use one hemisphere of their brains in a meeting (like kids in school). Imagine weight lifting on only one side of your body. How would you feel? How effective would you be? How healthy would your body be? It is the same with the brain. If one side isn’t engaged, it won’t be as effective in helping a person dream and achieve the goals they have set forth for themselves and their business/career. Inserting creativity (art) also fosters a brain that examines many perspectives, multiple facets of a problem and allows for more creative problem-solving.
Here are some suggestions for how to put these great techniques into action, but don’t make this your gospel — adapt and adjust to come up with notetaking strategies that work for you!
Visual Notetaking (Sketchnotes) and Graphic Recording
Get more tips about how drawing can help you focus in this webinar hosted by Chris Chopyak: Picture Your Passion: Design Your Future Focus. You can also learn more about ways to put your creativity to work in the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts’ Creative Catalyst Online Certificate Program.