The ability to present information visually, in a meaningful and compelling way, is growing in importance in our increasingly complex world. But how much of this ability do you innately possess? Paul Sloane’s excellent new book, How to be a Brilliant Thinker: Exercise Your Mind & Find Creative Solutions, contains a thought-provoking set of questions that you can use to assess your strength as a visual thinker:
- In the last month, have you drawn a diagram to explain something to someone?
- In the last week have you drawn a diagram to help yourself understand or remember something?
- Have you visited two or more art galleries or museums in the last 6 months?
- Do you like to study maps of places before you visit them?
- Can you visualize what a landscape might be like by looking at the contour lines on a map?
- Did you like geometry at school?
- Do you enjoy manipulating your digital photographs? For example, do you crop and edit them to improve the images?
- Can you use the 2D engineering drawings of an object or the 2D architectural plans for a building to visualize what the object or building might look like?
- Have you worked on a jigsaw puzzle in the last year?
- Do you use mind maps to record and remember things?
A score of 7 or more positive responses is good.
If your score wasn’t that great, don’t fret – like any ability, visual thinking is not something you’re either born with or not, but rather a skill you can develop through study and practice. To help you get started on this process or to further your skills in this area, I recently posted an article to this blog that recommends 8 excellent books on visual thinking. There are some truly amazing books on that list!
I also recommend that you get involved in VizThink, a very active worldwide community of visual thinkers that is doing some excellent work in this area. It holds a series of webinars on various aspects of this topic. And, of course, you can read this blog, where I not only provide a wealth of information related to mind mapping software, I also try to highlight any resources related to the larger space of visual thinking that surrounds it.