To me, structure is to achieve what you want as easily as possible; to do what you want to get done with the least amount of effort.
Sometimes in my work I enter ”development-mode”.
This can be when I for example am to help a management team set a clearly defined course for their business, when I am in the process of developing a new service, when I am
trying to make a process run smoother or when I need to sort out the key message in a new lecture.
Words complicate matters
When I’m tuned into ”developing-mode”, I need to think and work with images. Words, text and certain wording only slow the creative flow down for me in these situations; perhaps due to that words are so distinct that it becomes very important that you choose just the right nuance in order for the group to strive in the same direction. Some words might be impaired by a particular set of values, which will easily side-track us instead of allowing us to focus on the task ahead.
An unbeatable tool in this situation is to make a sketch by hand with a pen on a blank, white surface. It can be a white-board, a white sheet of paper or something similar.
Do you have situations in your line of work when you need to develop a business-model, or illustrate how your products are distributed to the final client, or show how one thing interacts with another, or you need to explain the consequences to the sales-work originating in that a couple of your products or services overlap, or perhaps you need to explain a complex model to your co-workers?
Wouldn’t you agree that it’s in times like these you grasp for software which can aid you in delineating the image? “Hmm… Word, perhaps? Or Keynote? Or Visio?”
Forget about it. Make it simple. Make the sketch by hand instead.
Sometimes “singalong”, or the lack of it, makes me sad
“But, I can’t draw!”, might be your instinctive response. Few things make me sadder than when someone doesn’t “singalong” when meant to since they don’t believe they can sing. I experience that the same is true for being able to draw or not. We make it more complicated than it needs to be and think we need to do it “right”.
The only thing you need to know
No, you see, the only thing you need to be able to draw to be able to make a sketch of the most complex of models is:
- A circle, a square, a triangle and a rectangle
- A line, an arrow, a dashed line and a thick arrow
- A simple face (a circle with two dots as eyes and a small curve which makes for two eyes and a mouth)
- A stick-figure
- A box drawn in perspective, in 3D
- A cylinder in perspective, in 3D
I assure you — you can do it.
- Download a practice-sheet from here.
- Print out the practice-sheet.
- As you can see, I have drawn the symbols I mentioned above to the left (I haven’t done a course in sketching either). Practice drawing each symbol on the right hand side until you feel you’ve got it. Didn’t need too many times to get it right, now did you?
- Take a blank sheet of paper or head towards the nearest white-board and sketch how your most important product or service is supplied to your client (who is the receiver of what you do), from that the client orders it until he has it in his hand, or until she gets the service performed.
- Erase the white-board, alternatively get a fresh sheet of paper and get a colleague who would need an explanation of the model. Do the sketch again. Now you know it well, and you have probably had a giving conversation with your colleague about an essential part of the business. Two birds with one stone!
Faster, more engaging, more lively and more playful
If you adopt the simple sketch as a tool, you’ll be able to illustrate complex connections faster so that they become clearer to you. If you sketch while holding a lecture, the crowd gets more engaged, the lecture comes to life and you will probably come through with your message to a greater extent. And, it’s easier to be playful and think outside that box people keep referring to when you are writing, which is fun in itself.
What was your way of doing it?
When have you used sketching as a tool and gotten great results? Comment below and tell us how it happened, and what you think was the greatest contributing factor of it being a success.