Beyond Words

The science and fun of nonverbal communication

Seeing Is Believing & Learning

Sketchnoting and infographics can help you learn... & be fun!

Considering my research area is primarily nonverbal communication, when I am presenting and offering workshops and trainings, it is not just words I rely on to try and help others understand the value and important role nonverbal communication has on our daily interactions.  This includes both our professional and social interactions.

Sketchnoting and infographics are two examples of how information can be shared and retained when you are at a workshop, public talk or even a meeting.  Sketchnoting and infographics display information differently and in contrast to solely rely on writing words.

Consider how boring and how easy it is to lose focus while watching a PowerPoint presentation that is full of only words and bullet-points.  Now consider how much more appealing it becomes when different colors are added and use varying fonts along with graphics or pictures.

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Now take that mindset and think about how boring your notes can be.  Instead of just taking notes during your next situation where you are required to, or your next presentation, try sketchnoting and using an infographic.

Sketchnoting is adding drawings, illustrations, varying fonts and colors, and objects to note taking. Infographics are just that- offering information as a graphic.  Each of these helps us and others understand information much easier compared to just writing down the information and reading text.

Think about how gesturing helps you get a message across more clearly while it also helps others understand a message as well.  Be cautious, just like gesturing, it takes practice and the middle-path is recommended.

1. Practice:  Just like everything else in life, do not expect to be an expert at sketch noting and designing info graphics on your first attempt.  Have fun while you practice, search the internet for others (like sites SketchNoteArmy.com and CoolInfoGraphics.com) who are doing it to get ideas for your next try.  Getting training and attending workshops like the one offered by the New York Peace Institute (more here) is another fun and informative way to get tips from professionals while learning with a like-minded group.

2. Middle-path:  My good friend His Holiness the Dalai Lama promotes the middle-path as a spiritual way of living.  I often share this mindset with others during my nonverbal communication trainings in regards to gestures and other elements of nonverbal communication.  Too many gestures makes you look erratic while no gestures can make you look stiff.  For sketch noting and infographics, seek to use the 'just right' amount of fonts, colors, drawings and shapes.

Additionally, in regards to the middle-path approach, sketch notes and infographics might not always be the best approach.  Complimenting it with written notes make be the best choice given the context of the situation.  Be flexible and be able to adapt. Have fun.

Below is a recent example of my CPR acronym via sketchnoting.  It represents Charisma, Professionalism, and Rapport in regards to nonverbal communication and being effective when interacting with others.  Read about it [here] and then view the pictures of the work in progress below with the last picture being the completed drawing.

Try using different colors and adding shadows
Pay attention to 'little' details
The finished product

Remember, words are important but our ability to retain information while also sharing it is not limited to only words.  There are many tools out there.  Sketchnoting and inforgraphics are two examples that have helped me and could help you. 

Give it a try!

 

Follow Jeff Thompson on twitter @NonverbalPhD where he frequently tweets comments, and shares posts pictures and videos on nonverbal communication.

Jeff Thompson is a Ph.D. candidate researching nonverbal communication and mediation at Griffith University Law School.

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