Visual Thinking and Entrepreneurship
Describing a new venture to someone is not always about the pitch and the words associated it with. There are times when using pictures has more impact. The Butler Venture Accelerator recently held a lunch and learn on visual thinking. During the session, visual thinking tools that can help entrepreneurs to present clearer ideas to the audience were discussed.
Some of the roadblocks that entrepreneurs face when pitching ideas are that they don’t know how to explain complex ideas under time constraint (for example’s, Babson’s Rocket Pitch model with a three minute pitch), they don’t know how to simplify the ideas so that the audience who has no technical background regarding a particular industry or products/services can understand, and they don’t answer the necessary questions regarding their products or services.
Entrepreneurs can improve their presentation skills and make their pitches clearer to the visual learner audience by applying the following framework: use story telling techniques, select appropriate language structure (analogies), and use effective pictures and word choices that can trigger the audience’s emotions and imaginations. In addition, entrepreneurs need to adapt their presentation skills to suite different types of audiences while still able to present their central ideas. For example: presenting to a group of fourth graders would require a fun, simple, and animated pitch while presenting to a group of VCs would require a clear, concise, and detailed analysis of the business model and profits analysis regarding the same product in both pitches.
How can entrepreneurs better convey their ideas? The entrepreneurs can incorporate their pitches to include short answers to the questions that start with who, what, where, when, why, how, and how much. While saying the pitches, the entrepreneurs can draw or use visual creation software to explain their concepts. For example: in order to illustrate who the target market would be, the entrepreneurs can draw pictures and symbols of people or draw a geometric shape and write the text in it. In order to illustrate why the ideas would work, the entrepreneurs can draw a line graph that compare the cost and value for a particular time period. Pictures are more important than words.
If you are interested to improve your thinking and presentation skills using visual thinking tools, check out Dan Roam’s Back of the Napkin book. Dan’s 6×6 rule: Six Ways of Seeing = Six Ways of Showing are displayed here.