I’m not a visual guy. I have a pretty good eye when it comes to picking out good photos for a project, something I developed with the help of my late friend Todd, a photographer. When I’m mulling something in a meeting or on a call I’ll scribble on a piece of paper to sort of occupy my mind or some such, but I can’t draw worth a darn.
Reading this post about how developing a doodling habit can help with productivity I was reminded of a moment from years ago where I sat in awe of someone whose brain obviously worked much differently than my own.
It was during the PNConnect conference back in 2013, a gathering of folks from across Porter Novelli and Voce Communications to discuss social media and online marketing trends and share case studies. During one session I was sitting next to Jeremy Harrington, then the head of user experience within PNConnect. While my notepad was filled with bulleted scribblings that would hopefully mean something when I reviewed them later on, his, I saw, was covered in doodles. He was translating what was being shared by the speakers into a more visual style. Looking at it a bit more closely I saw it was a lot of the same information I’d recorded, just not in text form.
The moment has always stuck out in my mind since it provided a stark instance of contrast. It’s not that Jeremy couldn’t take “traditional” notes or understand the written word, but his brain filtered the information in a graphic, not text, manner.
In a very real way this comes down to user experience. As you think about content that’s being planned for your marketing program, how are you appealing to the different ways people consume and process information? Is there a way for visual learners to get the most of what you’re sharing? How about those who prefer audio?
Do this today: Take a look around your office, coffee shop or wherever you happen to be. Scan the room the next time you’re at a conference or event. How many people *aren’t* writing but are instead doodling or doing something else? If you’re not adjusting your tactics to reach those audiences, you’re missing out.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.