What do memes, GIFs, and emoji all have in common? Aside from penetrating nearly every corner of the internet, they’re a form of simple visual communication. Visually displaying emotions and intentions is not new. Since the inception of digital communication we have been trying to make our meaning clearer. The permeation of gifs and emoji into every form of online communication is one small sign of something bigger; a tectonic shift in the way we exchange information and communicate.
With the advent of the smartphone and tablet, faster internet connections, and more refined pieces of software, visual communication has been pushed to the forefront, and with good reason. Not only does visual communication increase understanding, but it also increases retention rates of information. Let’s dig a little deeper into the benefits and potential problems of visualizing your communication.
A Strong Image is a Clear Message
It’s undeniable that there are advantages to getting visual while communicating, especially considering that non-visual communication ignores the fact that 65% of people are visual learners. Along with appealing to more people’s learning tendencies, visual aspects to a message can also allow you to create a clear unified identity to your ideas. Think of your idea as a brand that you’re presenting. Strong branding pushes a message deeper into your audience’s memory and makes your points more memorable. Modern platforms have made it easier than ever to set your colors, fonts, and image style and ‘brand’ your message.
Not only does visual communication help to dig your message deeper into the minds of your audience, but it also can make your ideas clearer. How many times have you been explaining something and inevitably said something like “No, like this…” while drawing a quick diagram. Why not skip the frustration and preemptively add visual components to clarify your point? The benefits are undeniable. That’s not to say there aren’t potential disadvantages…
I Don’t Have Time…
It’s an understandable stance that in our increasingly busy lives you might consider creating a visible explanation too time consuming or even expensive. Or maybe you might feel that a chart, diagram, or video oversimplifies a complex topic and cannot handle a large quantity of data. That feeling isn’t wrong as it’s a common pitfall to create a simple graph or diagram and then have to spend 30 minutes describing it losing all value in the visible asset.
While these were valid concerns, innovations in technology and connectivity have produced so many platforms and solutions that make assembling complete visual content easier and faster. Finding usable assets is easier than ever. There is an abundance of free or low-cost resources for all types of visual assets. Even with these resources you can also simply reuse material created by your marketing team or assets from a lesson plan shared by other teachers!
Not only is assembling those assets easy, it can even be done during a live presentation or collaboration. Adding a live visual element to communication allows that effective roundtable discussion from the office or classroom to happen anywhere anytime without oversimplification.
Considering how easy it is to employ visual tools and the benefits of using them, there’s no reason not to jump on board!