Thinking and Communicating with Pictures

Dan Roam is an expert in helping people think and communicate with pictures. His theory is that anyone with a pen and a piece of paper (for example, a napkin) can explain even the most complex business ideas as well as communicate better with customers, vendors, and employees. Here he is interviewed by Guy Kawasaki.

The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures

The premise behind Roam’s book is simple: anybody with a pen and a scrap of paper can use visual thinking to work through complex business ideas. Management consultant and lecturer Roam begins with a watershed moment: asked, at the last minute, to give a talk to top government officials, he sketched a diagram on a napkin. The clarity and power of that image allowed him … [ Read more ]

Dan Roam

If we…create pictures [by] breaking down any problem and its corresponding picture into distinct “who,” “what,” “how much,” “where,” and “when” elements, we can convey the “how” and “why” to anyone in a way they will understand.

Dan Roam

When the first person said, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” he or she permanently warped our understanding of pictures. The point of a good picture isn’t to eliminate words, it’s to replace as many as possible so that the words we do use are the important ones. (Rather than spending time verbally describing coordinates, positions, percentages, qualities and quantities, if we simply show … [ Read more ]