Some See the Big Picture, Others See the Pieces
I’m a visual guy, I like drawings or pictures to understand things.
I’m from Iowa, but maybe shoulda been from the Show Me state?
My career started on a drawing board, if you know me, I do a lot of my talking with a sketch pad, I can interpret your sketches, I have a large whiteboard in my office, I usually have to give sketches to my engineering team to better explain myself, I can win at Pictionary, getting the picture? This heavily influences how I approach things, how I understand things, and how I present things. I marvel and enjoy working with folks who see things differently, such as when I give every detail of what “I feel” needs to be presented only to have my client say “let’s go out to the plant”, so they can see it.
People see and understand things differently, some want the whole picture, some only the puzzle pieces, some want you to show them, some want you to tell them. It helps if you can do both, even more if you can do it well.
There is some research that suggests that more than 90 percent of people are either auditory (tell me) or visual (show me) learners, and a smaller group are tactile (touch). Long lectures may frustrate visual people and tactile folks might get all fidgety without something to get their hands on.
Sometimes a conversation lends clues. If a client says “show me what you’ve got”, it seems like I had better get out the drawings and pictures, graphs and charts to give the big picture. Those visual folks could be more likely to retain if there is some imagery to go with the message. If they say “tell me”, perhaps I should go into the details first, the descriptions, the manuals, the details, or perhaps just the details they are interested in.
None of this is to say that I’m going to tell you what you want, rather my job is to ask, to listen, to look, to show, to advise, to give you choices, to help you decide what you want. A balance that lets people look and listen seems to get the best results. If there are samples of things they can touch, we might be hitting on all cylinders.