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How Visual Mode changed my life

Visual thinking, visual communication, visual note taking, sketching. How many times have we heard this jargon before? All around us, friends and colleagues are actually using these techniques and improving their professional or personal lives.

In my case, the bug hit me a few months ago, when I started reading Gamestorming. My goal was simple: to learn new dynamics in order to develop business and teams. Yet, somehow, I was stuck on visual and entered in what I like to call visual mode. And now, I’m hooked!

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not an expert in this field! I’m just having fun learning more about it and I want to share my personal experience on how this process started working for me.

I hope I can inspire some of you, if only just a bit, to start looking at the world in a different and funny way!

1. Start Sketching… not drawing

Sketch everything you want, even if it looks ridiculous. Were you successful in conveying the message? Great! You did it! Not really? Well, keep trying! But don’t try to achieve artistic perfection except, of course, if you are an accomplished artist. You won’t succeed and you’ll feel frustrated. In order to sketch you don’t need to know how to draw. Trust me. I can’t REALLY draw, dogs look like crocodiles!

2. Transform the way you work.

I got rid of my to-do list. But wait… I still have a bunch of things I need to do. I’ve just transformed it in something more appealing and easy to ready. It works for me.

It’s a small white cardboard with the things I need to do or think about, in different colored and shaped post-it notes.

OTB means Outside the Box.

3. Get up and head to the whiteboard.

Don’t just sit there craving for it. Get up and go. Sketch, write, underline, draw a box, or whatever comes through your mind. Expose yourself.

4. Pratice. Pratice. Pratice.

Your cell phone drawings will look less and less like bricks.

5. Embrace digital.

iPad, tablets. I use Noteshelf, Showme, Inkflow. And a Bamboo pen.

6. …but don’t forget paper!

Paper is visual mode’s best friend. I use a Micron Sakura 0.45mm black pen and a few Tombow ABT Dual Brush colour pens, for my thinking process. What am I talking about? Well, for instance, when I go to a meeting, I draw some sketches, write notes, etc. For this, I will only use a black pen. Afterwards, I will colour my notes during my information workflow recap. It’s a way to absorb or consolidate the whole data.

Forget pencils. Remember: the goal is not to draw perfectly.

7. Transform the meetings you’re in.

Whiteboards, post its, markers, colour papers, whatever. Lose the laptop.

8. Start right away.

You don’t need to read 10 books, 20 articles, or watch 5 films to get started. You just need to be inspired. Start small and at your own pace. Grab a pen, some paper and go for it!

9. Watch out for the overwhelmed syndrome.

This is a tricky one, at least for me! When I start reading or learning about something I really like, I tend to embark in a long arduous search for books, articles and videos that cover the subject. What happens when I do that? I get so overloaded with information that, at some point, I don’t really know where to start or even what to do!

Don’t overexplore it. Go with the flow. You have to have your own rhythm.

10. Have fun!

Indeed. If you’re not having fun, forget it! Focus on what you really love and what brings you joy.

Remember, this is a way of thinking. It will take time. However, when you least expect it you’ll start thinking visually. And this is all you need to do in order to enter the visual mode and becoming addicted. I certainly did!

Wanna go visual?