What is your visual metaphor?

Pictures speak louder than words. One picture is worth a thousand words. Picture it! These phrases and many more like them are part of our daily speech and zeitgeist.

How do we put them into practice? Especially in the organisational context? Visual thinking within groups, teams and entire companies has become a new paradigm. Major global corporations and small start ups are engaging visually. Picture what I am saying is becoming a norm.

One of the more powerful ways to engage visual thinking is with visual metaphors. A metaphor being some phrase, term or object used to represent something else. For instance, a space ship may be used to symbolize an organisation journeying into new spaces in the marketplace. A treasure map may be used to depict a team’s exploration of who they are and what golden knowledge they will find by working cohesively. A mountain with passes, cliffs, valleys and waterfalls may represent the challenges a company faces within the context of a changing landscape.

Of course, the organisation is not the metaphor. It is the thinking about and conversing about the metaphor that moves groups forward. The graphic of the spaceship, map or mountain holds or contains the thinking that emerges in conversation. The graphic recorder captures the ideas and thoughts in a visual manner and populates the metaphor with visual language. Seeing the conversation revealed within the metaphor helps you find connections, share ideas deeply, think differently about yourselves and, hopefully, moves you to act, communicate, commit and align. The metaphor supports that happening. When that support happens the power of visual thinking propels groups to new places. We see it all the time.

Our partner company, Meeting Magic, has 15 years experience working visually with groups and helping rethink meeting culture, with metaphors being one way of working. They facilitate the conversations while Scribing Magic does the graphics that support the conversations.

The impact of graphic recordings on meetings is powerful stuff. It has power because we are visual animals that process visual information more quickly, making connections where none seems to exist. We are happy to support your exploration of visual metaphors and metaphoric thinking.

Leave a Reply