Reasons to Use Visual Communication

By Paul Stannard  |  Posted 2010-08-26 Print this article Print

Reasons to use visual communication

The use of visual communication in the business environment is gaining momentum due to its powerful ability to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of communication, both internally and externally. Aside from the aforementioned research, three factors are driving the adoption of visual communication in the workplace:

1. Information overload

With so much data being generated on a daily basis, the use of visuals to compress, distill and summarize complex information can make it easier to digest and comprehend massive amounts of data. The ability to encapsulate data into a compelling visual element such as a flowchart, bar graph or timeline makes it much more comfortable to absorb and retain the information presented. If given the choice, would you rather read a 50-page report or view a four-page visual summary on the same material?

2. Globalization

In our infinitely interconnected world, global companies must have efficient, effective means to communicate with employees, customers and vendors who speak different languages and dialects. The use of impactful visuals makes it much more effective to communicate even relatively complicated information to a diverse group of people-without the worry of someone misunderstanding or something being "lost in translation." Visuals allow multilingual individuals to quickly grasp concepts regardless of their level of language fluency.

3. Brevity

When communicating with spoken or written word, it becomes easy to ramble on, especially when trying to convey complicated information. Many believe that writing or saying more will aid in understanding when oftentimes the opposite is true. On the other hand, the very act of creating a visual presentation forces the creator to refine the message or argument, clarify points and summarize explanations. This "forced" clarity distills messages to their core meaning, which helps the audience achieve a better understanding.

Visuals allow your audience to see and understand relationships between information and concepts (and the interconnectivity of processes and structures) more clearly than words can ever do alone. By establishing context for the interrelated pieces of the puzzle, visuals provide a more uniform language that is devoid of clutter, revealing the most critical information. Think about it: in an emergency, would you rather have a map to the fire escape or written directions on how to get there?

Paul Stannard is the founder and CEO of SmartDraw. A self-taught software developer, Paul began his development career in 1980, founding a company that developed software for Apple computers. Since that time, Paul has written more than a dozen published applications and continues to play a key role in the development of SmartDraw's products. Paul has also written applications for Microsoft, Broderbund, Intuit and GraphPad Software. Paul has been a successful CEO for more than 20 years, founding several other startups. Paul is a pioneer and recognized authority in electronic software distribution and Internet marketing and speaks frequently on the subjects. He holds both a Bachelor's and Master's degree from Oxford University, and earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from UCLA. He can be reached at

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