Joining me on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Dan Roam, President of Digital Roam, bestselling author of multiple books, including, The Back of the Napkin, and the book we’re going to talk about today, Draw to Win. Among the topics that Dan and I discuss are Dan’s history with drawing, Dan’s study of visual processing in the human brain and how it opens the door to greater understanding.
Dan has always drawn. In university he studied organic chemistry and painting, and learned the same structural concepts. Dan wanted to push this modeling concept into business. People remember pictures over paragraphs.
Dan’s girlfriend was a nanny in the Soviet Union, and got Dan a visa to work there. He worked at a tourist magazine. He stayed seven years, founding the first Western ad agency.
In Russia, Dan communicated largely with pictures.
Dan liked working with business people, helping them clarify their ideas. He came back to the U.S., and continued with the same approach. Dan realized early on that a flip chart would help each person understand a deal.
Each time Dan’s company did a flipboard pitch, they won; many times even when, by their small size, they shouldn’t have. They were the ones who drew the client a picture.
People want a story, and a connection; they want to trust you. We neglect the fact that people would like to see some honest creativity taking place in the actual meeting. About ⅓ of your brain by weight is dedicated to vision. Another ⅓ of your brain is dedicated to processing vision along with other sensory input. That leaves ⅓ of your brain for everything else, besides visual processing.
Our brains could hold the imagery from 33 million Blu-ray Disc movies. To memorize speeches, assign each thought to a particular visual, in a train of images.
You can draw anything, if you can draw a circle, a square, a triangle, a line, a blob, and an arrow. Use stick figures. This is not an artistic process. This is a thinking process. The simpler the visual, the better the communication.
It took years of training to learn how to write your name. It takes about five minutes for an adult to learn the process of drawing. Confidence comes with practice. The picture is another tool in your communication toolbelt.
Dan saw that sometimes his pictures worked; other times, they didn’t. Some pictures are processed easily, and some pictures confuse. Dan explains the six brain pathways for images: What, How Much, Where, When, How, and Why.
To sell a safer car, draw a car, an accident rate chart, a map, a timeline, a flowchart, and a smart car, in that sequence. Prepare 75% of your presentation ahead, let the client provide 25% of the thinking and visualizing process. Ask, can you mark here what you think is the the most important thing? Practice the presentation and the pictures first. Never wing it.