Method

New to VisualsSpeak and our approach to the world? Welcome!

In this section of the web site, you can learn more about the VisualsSpeak system and our tools. We’ll give you some glimpses at how others are using them, and fill you in on some of the reasons why VisualsSpeak is so effective across environments and industries.

We sometimes find that folks who are new to VisualsSpeak have trouble getting a strong sense of how it all works. So if, after looking through the materials here, you’re still a little fuzzy, don’t worry. It’s an experiential method, so until you experience it can be a bit unclear.

Because our work is based on nearly two decades of research and testing, there is much, much more than we can comfortably fit on this website. Of course, we love this stuff–so we’re happy to talk more about it. Just drop us a note or give us a call.

So how does VisualsSpeak work anyway? What would a typical participant experience?

What a Session Might Look Like

Let’s take an example session using the VisualsSpeak ImageSet. With that tool, 200 hundred photographs would be spread out across a table. Some pictures of people, some of nature, some of things, and some of life itself. Twelve subcategories in all. Each picture tells a story–but a different story to each person.

Next, the facilitator might offer up a framing question. For a visioning session, this could be, “What will our organization be like in five years?” For team-building, it could be, “What does an ideal team look like?” The list of possibilities is endless, and can be customized to every situation.

Over the next several minutes, the scramble is on! Participants are looking through the images and making their own combinations. Everyone is creating their own visuals. Some are literal, some are metaphors, and most are obvious only to their creators.

The facilitator then leads the group through a structured story sharing process. Through the process, the facilitator is helping participants draw links between the participants’ visuals–noting patterns, similarities, and connections. Barriers start breaking down.

Through the image-based discussion, the group is unlocking stories and insights that remain below the surface in a purely verbal and written context. Through follow-on activities and additional uses of the images with deeper questioning, the process continues to pay dividends.

We’ve heard it described as everything from amazing to magical. One of our first “wows” was how everyone from engineers to accountants went from skeptical to super-engaged in just minutes. We still get surprised ourselves at how well it works!