Visual Note Taking

It’s no coincidence that we use the phrase “mind’s-eye” when we visualise and imagine – our brains are masters at remembering pictures.

Studies show that when you hear a piece of information, you remember about 10% of it 3 days later, but recall rises to 65% if that information had a picture associated with it.

Without reviewing information, we don’t absorb it and as much as 80% gets lost. That is super unproductive. The best way to review and retain information is to synthesise it into an image – to see the big picture.

You may provide vital information in a presentation or document, but much of that effort is wasted if the recipient can’t retain most of what you say 20 minutes later. This inefficient transfer of information is a frustrating reality in professional development and a handicap for those not skilled in visual thinking and visual communication.

Our average speaking rate is 2.3 words per second. Hand written notes hover around .3 to .4 words per second. Typing may be faster but studies show that typing bypasses cognitive processes essential for understanding deeper meaning and is often no more than a shallow process of transcription.

Visual note-taking is the most efficient way to encode information for later recall. Thinking in pictures and drawing relationships fuses knowledge and understanding and lays down a richly integrated memory. When thoughts are connected they are better retained in memory and can be more easily recalled as a whole.

Critical and creative thinkers must be able to make easy connections between diverse ideas and stored knowledge.

Fortunately, visual note-taking is easy to teach. It’s fun and creative, and encourages us to let go of tiny details that can clutter our minds in favour of integrating new information with prior knowledge to create the big picture.

This is absolutely necessary is we are to process large amounts of complex data and use it productively.

Everyone can be a visual thinker. Vision is our dominant sense and we constantly create visual images in the brain. By employing visual note-taking skills in the workplace you will encourage a more productive culture and strengthen the imagination skills of your people. That leads to innovation.

It’s a no brainer, and its fun.

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