Are You a Visual Thinker?

I sure am. I hear conversations and I envision pictures and images in my mind. I remember faces, places, interactions and life in general in my mind’s eye. It turns out most of us are visual thinkers.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and been totally confused by what they are saying? Only to have them grab a piece of paper or go to a whiteboard or flip chart and say “let me show you.”? They then proceed to draw something-or-other which results in you better understanding the point they are trying to make, or the concept they are trying to explain. That’s the power of visual thinking.

Floyd Wickman, the grandfather of real estate training, was a mentor of mine early on in my career. One of the sale techniques Floyd taught he called the “talking pad”. He trained agents to always have a black note pad and write, scribble or draw your key points during a sales presentation.  Use the talking pad as  you explain an offer, present a CMA, review showings or whatever the situation is. The talking pad adds the visual element to the verbal communication and increases focus, understanding and retention. As it turns out, it’s also very persuasive.

The Back of the NapkinDan Roam recently published a great book on this topic called The Back of the Napkin. The book discusses and demonstrates the power of visual thinking to solve problems with pictures.

We are in an increasingly complicated world where we are inundated with email, texting, online tools, conference calls, video conferences and a long list of other communication tools. Cutting through the clutter to make a point is vital to our success. If you can reduce a 10 page PowerPoint full of text to 1 page of visuals and text, you’ve really done something impressive. If you can leave a meeting with the other attendees knowing your three key take a ways, that’s a productive meeting. If you can focus a seller on the key terms of an offer instead of getting lost in 4 pages of legality, that’s going to simplify the decision making process.

Whether it’s the back of a napkin, the talking pad, the whiteboard or flip chart, use these tools to evoke the visual thinker in all of us. You don’t have to be an artist. That’s the great thing about our mind’s eye, we know how to turn a stick person in a flesh and blood image and we know how to turn a square with a triangle on top of it into our dream home. Most of us turn words into pictures instinctively, why not use that to our advantage?

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