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7 Things Only Visual Thinkers Will Understand

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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.

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    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

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      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.

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      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.

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        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

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          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

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            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

            Elena is a passionate blogger who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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            Last Updated on July 20, 2021

            How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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            How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

            You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

            Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

            Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

            Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

            1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

            According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

            “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

            Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

            Warming up

            If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

            If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

            Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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            1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
            2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
            3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

            Stay hydrated

            Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

            To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

            Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

            Meditate

            Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

            Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

            Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

            Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

            2. Focus on your goal

            One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

            Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

            Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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            Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

            If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

            3. Convert negativity to positivity

            There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

            ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

            It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

            Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

            Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

            Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

            4. Understand your content

            Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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            However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

            “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

            Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

            Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

            One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

            5. Practice makes perfect

            Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

            In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

            Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

            6. Be authentic

            There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

            Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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            Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

            To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

            With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

            Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

            7. Post speech evaluation

            Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

            Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

            We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

            You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

            Improve your next speech

            As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

            Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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            • How did I do?
            • Are there any areas for improvement?
            • Did I sound or look stressed?
            • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
            • Was I saying “um” too often?
            • How was the flow of the speech?

            Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

            If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

            Reference

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