Advertising
Advertising

7 Things Only Visual Thinkers Will Understand

7 Things Only Visual Thinkers Will Understand

One day, when I was in the fifth grade, a stranger came into our classroom and passed out a sheet of paper to each of us. On it was nothing but rows of circles. We were asked to draw as many things as possible using as many circles as possible, in 10 minutes. Students around me happily began to draw suns, happy faces, regular faces, cartoon faces, while I sat for a few minutes, pencil in hand, drawing nothing. I was looking at the entire page and trying to figure out how I could make one large drawing using all of those circles. I couldn’t, so I settled for combinations of circles instead. I drew a pair of eyeglasses and a bicycle. I connected several with strings to make a balloon grouping. I made a caterpillar with his little legs coming out of each segment with shoes on, and a head with antennae at one end. When the 10 minutes were up, I had not used nearly as many circles as those around me, and I wondered if I had somehow “failed” the test.

A few weeks later, I was called from class, and the same stranger met me in the office. He had more “tests” to give me, because he said I had demonstrated so much creativity with the circle exercise. He explained that he was a college student who was studying “visual thinkers,” and he thought I was one of them. He also told me that I was probably not getting grades as high as some other students, because most teachers don’t teach for visual learners.

That was the first time someone had tried to explain to me why I had difficulty learning. Later on it led me to explore just what a visual thinker is – I fit the definition pretty handily! So, here’s a list of 7 things that all of us visual thinkers will understand, and most others probably won’t.

1. We plan our projects and tasks in a different way

Visual Thinker Flowchart

    While others make lists of things and create great Excel files that speak to the tasks to be completed, we need a big flow chart, with the entire project divided up in a visual representation. When others use project management tools that utilize lists and files, we become frustrated and less productive.

    Advertising

    If this sounds like you, get another tool. One that I recommend is Casual. This is cloud-based software that lets you draw an entire project, like a large mind map. You can see the whole thing at once and monitor the details of task completion with one large visual flow chart. It’s like this piece of software had our names on it when it was developed!

     2. We have huge imagination

    imagination_by_thebluspicy-d78xbv2

      We look at a cloud formation and immediately visualize all sorts of scenarios with that shape. While others are busy with their to-do lists, we are seen as lacking in focus, as daydreamers.

      In reality, we are seeing past images and imagining new ones, so “do not disturb”, please! And if you ask us to come up with solutions, you need to let us be, as our visualizations may just result in the best one.

      Advertising

      We are great with group math modeling and optimization projects, and if you ask us to help decorate a room for a party, we can “see” the finished product pretty quickly in our “mind’s eye.”

       3. We do not write notes, we draw them

      notes

        If we are listening to a lecture, we don’t write what we hear, we draw it. Our handwriting is usually not that good, but we can draw pictures, charts and other images that will allow us to remember what was said.

        When we need to give directions to someone, we have to draw them; when we need to explain anything, that explanation will be in the form of a picture. While others are making outlines for their essays and papers in school, we are drawing graphic organizers that make sense to us.

        Advertising

        If we need to remember to pick up items at the store, we will not make a list – we will draw pictures of the items instead. Because we have a visual picture of the store in our minds, we know just where to go to make “quick work” of that shopping trip. And we don’t memorize the spelling of words phonetically. We can tell if a word is spelled correctly by looking at it.

         4. We have the aptitude to invent

        Thomas Edison and Einstein were failures in school – labelled mentally deficient. But they “saw” things that others could not and changed our lives forever because of it. While we visual thinkers will not all be as inventive as that, we do come up with some pretty good ideas.

        Let’s say someone, many years ago, was at a restaurant eating hamburgers. When he turned the ketchup bottle upside down to slather his burger, he had to shake it to bring the ketchup down to the spout. He shared his vision for a new bottle design – a wide cap that could balance the bottle upside down, so that the ketchup was always at the spout when opened. He even wrote a letter to one of the companies suggesting it. A few years later, out came the first ketchup bottle just as he had envisioned it, soon to be followed by several other items – mustard, jelly, mayonnaise, etc. Now, someone at the ketchup company may have come up with the final product, but this wonderful little convenience was actually born in that restaurant.

         5. We don’t get tables, but love diagrams

        Advertising

        NETWORK-DIAGRAM-AWS-Architecture-Diagrams-3-Tier-Auto-scalable-Web-Application-Architecture

          If an instructor draws a benzene ring in chemistry class, or if we can play with Punnett squares in biology, we are in “heaven.” But give us data in a table, or ask us to explain how a bill becomes a law in prose writing, and we will go nuts! Give us a picture, let us absorb and process it in our brains, and we will “have it” cemented in our memory permanently. Years later, we will still be able to visualize that picture of the legislative process.

          6. We remember things as images

          While others write or speak about their first pets, a significant event in their lives, or someone who has impacted them, we deal with pictures. Those events in our lives become movies playing in our heads as we recall them.

          Some extreme visual learners, in fact, have such vivid “movies” in their minds that they can recall even the tiniest of details about a scene. Recently, a television series, entitled “Unforgettable,” became quite a hit. The major character was a woman with such extreme visual memory that she became a huge benefit to a team of detectives, as they solved crimes. She went to each crime scene and focused on the “big picture,” but, when necessary, she could recall every detail of the place later on.

          7. We are pro-packers

          EB50522D23

            Why? Because while everyone else is trying to stuff things into a suitcase with only marginal success, we have pictured that suitcase and everything that must go in it. We have arranged and re-arranged the items in our heads, over and over, until we have the perfect pattern of placement. We then simply follow our pattern, everything fits perfectly, and we are ready to go!

            We visual thinkers are imaginative, creative, and divergent in our thinking processes. While we may frustrate others, and even ourselves at times, we are often the most valuable member a team can have!

            More by this author

            Elena Prokopets

            Freelance Writer

            22 Amazing Pineapple Health Benefits (With Simple Pineapple Recipes) 15 Cool And Practical Apps For Couples 14 Things No One Tells You About Being in a Long-Distance Relationship 9 Tips to Prepare For Your First Multi Day Hike 10 Tips For Traveling in Europe With Class on a Budget

            Trending in Communication

            1 How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward 2 What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships 3 How To Stop Negative Thoughts from Killing Your Confidence 4 This 4-Year Old Girl’s Explanation On the Problem with New Year’s Resolutions Is Everything You Need 5 What You Really Need to Feel Secure in a Relationship

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on January 15, 2019

            How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

            How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

            Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

            In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

            Step right up, don’t be shy!

            Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

            The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

            Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

            Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
            So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

            A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

            Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

            Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

            When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

            Culturally Conditioned

            We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

            I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

            The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

            Advertising

            Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

            Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

            Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

            1. Broadens Your Network

            After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

            2. Improves Your Communication Skills

            I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

            Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

            3. Continually Learning

            So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

            Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

            4. Increases Self Confidence

            Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

            Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

            So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

            How to Talk to Strangers

            Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

            Advertising

            1. Say Hello

            Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

            Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

            Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

            2. Ask About Them

            Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

            You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

            As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

            3. Just Do It

            One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

            When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

            Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

            4. Don’t Take It Personal

            One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

            When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

            Advertising

            5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

            I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

            One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

            6. Detach

            A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

            Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

            7. Share Your Stories

            Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

            To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

            So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

            8. Give a Compliment

            Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

            When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

            9. Relax Your Body Language

            If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

            When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

            Advertising

            If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

            10. Practice, Practice, Practice

            Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

            Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

            After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

            The Bottom Line

            As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

            There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

            Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

            Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

            More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

            Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

            Reference

            Read Next