Management IT Mentoring & Coaching

Why are visual images needed as mental hooks?

Yesterday, I discovered a great website resource from BizGraphics On Demand which is a great collection of professionally designed graphics that will help enhance the visual appearance of presentations.  See yesterday’s post for more details about BizGraphicsOnDemand.

What’s the purpose of a visual diagram?

I used one of their graphics to turn a list into a visual diagram which served the intended purpose.   The initial purpose was to make a boring list look more interesting because I am going to have to refer to that list of units for best part of a year so I’d rather look at something visually appealing than something boring.  I also needed to work out which order I will study the units following certain rules.  As you will see from the visual diagram, I have inserted two milestones (AWARD and CERTIFICATE) which are qualifications in their own right that I will be eligible for by obtaining Units 7001 and 7004 respectively.    As I read about each of the Units I made choices about the order of study and dragged and dropped the text from place to place  until I had everything in an order that suited me.

So, as I say, this original visual diagram served yesterday’s original purpose of turning a linear list into a visual map of study:-

However, when I looked at it again this morning, I started to contemplate the many books which I will need to read  so I have started to research books and websites and have begun the process of inserting pictures of those books/websites as “mental hooks” as reminders of what I need to do.  For example, I own some of the books but others need to be ordered.  No point buying them all up front so I will use the “mental hooks” as reminders to order the books as and when I need them.

The purpose of the visual has changed

When I first downloaded the graphic from BizGraphicsOnDemand it had contained icons to remind me that visual images help the brain to “see” key stages.

Keep reflecting on “the purpose of the visual” and amend it accordingly
This morning, as I say, I’ve started researching books and have started to include images of those books as my own “mental hooks”.  I have also inserted images to denote the milestones where I could stop studying and achieve a Level 7 AWARD and / or a Level 7 CERTIFICATE if I decide not to complete the entire DIPLOMA.
As you will see from the graphic below it now makes it very clear  that the DIPLOMA is vast in comparison to either the AWARD or the CERTIFICATE (even though the work is of the same level) simply by looking at the gap between the first and second Rosettes compared to the huge gap between the second and third Rosettes.
The next step will be to insert a hyperlink to my www.amazon.co.uk account behind each book image where I will save these books in my Shopping Basket.  That way, when the time is right, all I’ll have to do is to click the hyperlink and order the appropriate book.
So, yesterday it was a boring list of units to be studied.  By the end of today it will be a visual study plan, containing various “mental hooks“, with hyperlinks to books and websites of relevance.   There’s a lot of studying ahead of me to achieve this next qualification but I know that having a eye-pleasing visual, containing relevant hyperlinks, will enable me to stay the course and to not feel overwhelmed.  By knowing that the future is planned, my mind will be able to focus on simply tackling the current unit, one unit at a time.
Purpose and intended Audience
Whenever you create any visual diagram you must always keep reflecting on purpose and intended audience and by so doing you will create visuals which are “fit for purpose” and which help the intended audience to “see the bigger picture”, even if that audience is just yourself.   These are lessons which I learnt by reading Jamie Nast’s book Idea Mapping and they are valuable lessons for everyone to take on board.

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