Draw to be understood

Use drawings and sketches to be understood

When language isn’t enough

When working with clients or colleagues it just happens that people do not understand what I’m trying to explain. Having studied in other languages than my first tongue language, it also happened often that I had problems to explain things verbally.
What I found out is that by simply doing a quick sketch of the idea or concept that I had made everything more clear. Drawing is like an international language that everybody understands. Today, when I a client or colleague gives me feedback, I often ask them to:

“Show me how that would be”

Drawing what you think is great to explain to others, but you can also ask others to sketch something so that you understand them. I think that asking people to draw, show, point the problem or solution visually helps them to get a clearer idea of what they want. It also avoids this kind of loop where each time you propose something people just answer “I imagined not that like that”, “That’s not I had in mind”.

“Draw” even if you suck at it

“It’s not about drawing, it’s about showing”

Let’s be clear, not everyone can draw, and only a few people like to do it. I also have to admit, that I suck at drawing, just like you. But with the time I got confortable with sketching. Note here that I use the term “sketching”, because to make an idea clear you can just scribble something ugly but that makes your speech more clear.

This is the kind of ugly drawing that is clear enough to make a problem more clear.
If you can’t draw, just use simple shapes. A man can be drawn like children do, with simply a few stroke and a circle for the head. The drawings, sketches or scribbles you will do to make yourself clearer are not art pieces and you will throw them in the garbage after the conversation is finished. So don’t be afraid to make ugly drawings, because they can help a lot, and nobody else will see them.