Visual communication is powerful. It is said that people only remember 10% of what they hear after three days. If a relevant image is paired with the same information, the retention rate goes up to 65%. It is the only form of communication that transcends languages, cultures, and geography to deliver a consistent message. Humans have been using visual communication to get their point across since the stone age when we drew cave paintings on the walls.
People are increasingly turning to visual sources of information. The time spent watching videos by adults in the US grew more than 5 times. Since 2011, the average time spent watching video has grown from 39 seconds per day to 1 minute 55 seconds per day in 2015.
Almost 50 percent of our brains are involved in the processing of visual data. Research has shown that visual communication is more effective in gaining and retaining the attention of your audience than any other form of communication. Using images, video, charts, and diagrams to make your point will help your audience to more instantly connect with the message and project their own thoughts onto the subject. Visual communication delivers the ability to directly deliver information in a way that grabs the attention of the listener.
Because of these qualities, visual communication should play a big role in every organization’s communication strategy:
Make the Message Clear at a Glance
Our brains are hardwired to process visual information quickly. When we were hunters wandering the plains, we had to spot and move on prey quickly so that our families and tribes could eat. Compared to a simple quote, an image or video really touches those hardwired features of our brain that help us to retain information and act on the information that we receive.
A diagram, chart, or an image can be a great way for your audience to truly understand the point that you are making. By spelling things out visually, you allow them to make the connections at their own speed. It takes less time for us to process an image than it does written instructions.
Increase the Credibility of Your Message
Visualizing your message can give it credibility. When you deliver messages in written form, everyone hears the message in the voice of the author. They are subject to their own bias’ in receiving that message. A visual message helps to increase the credibility of your message by visualizing it for the audience. They don’t read a graph in the voice of the author, they just process the information. By delivering information visually, you can take a lot of the focus off of who is delivering the message and allow your audience to focus on the information that is provided.
Improve Visual Communication for Quick Decision Making
Our brains are wired to make quick decisions when we see visual information. Quick decision making is absolutely essential for agile and fast-moving businesses. Visual communication is immediate and simple to understands. It gives you a full picture of the topic that you are looking at and can help your audience to visualize the next steps that they need to take.
Because people can understand information more quickly through visual aids, they end up having access to more information as well. In the end, they have more information to work with and can make a more informed decision when they do decide to act. By increasing the attention to visual communication, you put your company in a position to make quick decisions with materials that can be easily referenced moving forward.
People who follow instructions with illustrations do 323% better than those that follow text directions alone. Increasing the amount of communicating that you do visually within your organization, you can improve results in all areas of your business. If you want your audiences to reliably retain information that you provide, include visual aids with every presentation that you give. The more visual that you can make the information that you deliver, the better of a chance they have of understanding your message.
Visual Communication is More Engaging
Visual communication is simply more engaging. Consider your own actions when you engage with content. If you came across a blog post that you were moderately interested in, but it consisted of 7 very long paragraphs, you might decide that you aren’t interested enough to dedicate to tedious reading. If that same blog post was broken up into coherent paragraphs with visual aids to help you understand and retain the information, you would be more willing to spend your time reading it.
Improve Visual Communication to Cut Through Information Overload
Information overload is a real issue in today’s society. At work and online we are exposed to so much information that we naturally have to make decisions about what is important and worth retaining and what is not. To improve visual communication helps your company in all forms of communication. It can help you to cut through that information overload and show your teams what is important.
Retaining information that is presented visually is much easier than retaining text from a paragraph. By delivering information and data in a visual way, it is easier for the viewer to decide that the information is important and make an effort to pay attention and retain what they are hearing.
Visual Communication is Key to Successful Communication
Companies that make a serious effort to improve their visual communication find that it helps their communicative efforts across the board. You should aim to include visual aids in your messaging wherever you can. Visual communication can be a key component of professional communication in every channel that you use. As you communicate with co-workers over the course of the next few weeks, consider whether the subjects that you are discussing could be better represented in a visual way.
Using tools like Organimi can help you to communicate within your teams and provide them with a visual aid that helps them to better understand your company structure and hierarchy.