"Change your language and you change your thoughts." - Karl Albrecht
I started my journey into the world of 'visual language' in 2007. I was working in the education sector to improve the quality of early learning experiences for children. Our team was on a mission to impact change. Our goal was admirable, but our systems were not able to support the complexity of workflows, stakeholder interests, and compliance requirements that were critical to our success. Our great ideas were often lost in endless meeting notes, PowerPoint slides, and documents.
I started looking for solutions and learned about the innovative work of The Grove Consultants International. My first read, Graphic Facilitation by David Sibbet (listed below), was just the inspiration I needed to shift my perspective and help our team re-think our approach. I started using visual planning tools and sticky notes to map out our ideas and goals. This simple adjustment helped us to easily track our progress and quickly identify areas that needed our attention.
Over the past 13 years, I have built a library of resources that have shaped my approach to strategy planning and have influenced the creative process I use to guide my work as a visual clarity coach. I've selected 5 books from that collection to share with you in this post. I hope at least one of the titles will serve as a launchpad for you to integrate more visuals into your work and life!
5 Books to Help You Incorporate Visuals into Your Business & Life
(1) Graphic Facilitation: Transforming Group Process With the Power of Visual Listening
This book by David Sibbet was my introduction to the field of graphic facilitation. A blend of textbook and workbook, it provides a thorough overview of graphic facilitation, and visualizing, along with an overview of the history of visual language.
Who should read this: Anyone just learning about the field of graphic facilitation should check out the sections on 'Four Foundational Skills' and how to get started (practice techniques for journals, and presentation charts).
(2) Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences
Nancy Duarte, CEO at Duarte, is well known for her work in communications, brand development, and design. As an educator transitioning into the non-profit sector, I had to make a huge shift from using PowerPoint to 'teach' a skill to using the application as a tool to tell a story.
Who should read this: Those looking for practical strategies including the impactful use of visuals to transform presentations into engaging experiences that connect you with your audience.
(3) Draw Your Big Idea: The Ultimate Creativity Tool for Turning Thoughts into Actions and Dreams into Reality
Nora Herting and Heather Willems are founders of Image Think. I love Drawing Your Big Idea because it is a guided workbook. It includes question prompts and space for you to practice your doodles and reflect!
Who should read this: Anyone who has a 'big idea' they want to flesh out and is looking for beginner-level guided practice in visual capture.
(4) Visual Note-Taking for Educators: A Teacher's Guide to Student Creativity
Wendi Pillars, a National Board Certified educator, shares her process for integrating visual notes into the classroom. Experienced in teaching a variety of content areas and grades, Wendi incorporates research in neuroscience and pedagogy in this well-organized guide.
Who should read this: Check out this title if you work in any role (e.g., tutor, educator, or coach) that involves helping students learn something new. You will glean strategies on modeling visual thinking and getting your students doodling, drawing, and capturing ideas visually to increase their understanding and retention of whatever content you are teaching.
5) Business Model You: A One-Page Method for Reinventing Your Career
Tim Clark, in Collaboration with Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, wrote this great workbook that uses canvas model templates to help you reinvent your 'career brand'. Designed by Alan Smith and Trish Papadakos, I love this book because it was "co-created" with real people from over 43 countries. You'll find real-world examples of how people from different sectors used the visual tools to transition their personal careers.
Who should read this: Intrapreneurs, solopreneurs, and career-changers should have this book in their toolkit. The case studies and templates are great tools to help you brand yourself for the next chapter of your life, whatever that might be!
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