Thursday, April 18, 2019

How does visual thinking help us understand/think better ? (Part-2)

In continuation with my last post, I am sharing the key points of my conversation with Ashok Thiruvengadam for the SmartBites series.

In the last blog, i did write about how visual thinking helps in being more aware, and live in the moment and also beings in brevity in communication that is much needed these days.

Here are a few more areas where visual thinking has helped me.

3. Being more intentional about listening:
Some time back, I had organized a session on Quantum Computing in my organization. Quantum Computing is not a routine topic to comprehend and explain. My colleague, Maha did a wonderful job breaking down the basics of the subject and making it understandable for the audience. I sat down during this session with my digital sketchpad (Lenovo laptop) and stylus pen. And started to 'draw' the session being imparted as the session went on.

This experience of live sketchnoting was an eye-opener for me. It was more of a lesson in active listening that no book or podcast could have taught me. For me, to draw the summary of the ongoing session was more an exercise of eliminating what was not needed than really to gather what was needed. In short, it was an exercise of separating noise from signal. 

Visual thinking has made me more intentional about listening. While the left side of brain was busy understanding the content, segregating into different knowledge buckets, the right side of brain was actively engaged in drawing pictorials metaphors of all the gathered knowledge. The beauty of this process was that it was all happening in tandem while the session was going on- i.e. listening, assimilating, categorizing, elimination, metaphorization, coming up with pictorial equivalents and finally putting it all on canvas. This was one of the most complete listening experiences i have had.

4. Retaining more info:
The fact that you can draw the summary of a session or an article or a book or literally anything you like, helps to retain more info in your mind. 
I loved this quote from David Heinemeier:
'I’ve realized that the hard part about most books is not reading them but recalling their knowledge or insight when you need it the most.'
Sketchnoting helps you achieve exactly that. The simple act of putting pen to paper helps you remember more but the fact that you can see the sketchnotes anytime you like (they are all over my work area) means that you always tend to actively or passively glance through this.This act helps in ensuring that you build strong neural connections in the brain.

5. Building Networks:
Finally, one of the biggest blessings i got from my journey of visual thinking is that it helped me connect with various accomplished people, most of whom helped me make a better person and professional. 
I remember I read this quote that stayed with me (I think from the book- 'Show your Work'):
Networking is less about knowing people and more about putting your best work out in the open. that attracts the best people out there.

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