We all have different creative styles, we all get our ideas differently. But what will set you apart is how you communicate them, that means not just verbal communication but visual presentation.
This isn’t a new idea, but in a world where people still like to sit down and discuss things before doing them, taking the initiative and coming up with a mock-up or prototype will go a long way in getting people to hear and experience your pitch.
I read this article in fortune magazine where it states that you should let your boss take the credit for your ideas but not your peers. But there’s a point not examined that’s getting your ideas heard first.
How do you do that?
Build a prototype.
In my first business, an ecommerce services provider, I instituted a practice of prototyping. We would build an ecommerce site with the bare necessities to make a demo for a prospect. So when we went door to door, we would come in with a demo as our presentation. Prospects were mesmerized because it was as if we had read their minds but mostly because they had not thought about how their online business would work.
It was a sales tool.
Now you might say that in big companies we can’t build prototypes because it’s time consuming and your manager prefers you get work done instead of playing around in kids activities. Well boo-hoo! Because that’s exactly what you have to do.
Now you might ask, does it make sense to go through all the trouble to create a prototype? If you want to have your ideas heard yes.
Let me put is this way, when you understand the common practice of pitching (a document/email with a description of an idea, a power-pointless presentation) an idea and how that process is slow, if you want to move one step forward you have to do whatever is necessary to make your ideas come alive.
This is an aggressive move and it might make others feel overwhelmed when all they have is a document and/or a power-pointless presentation. And that, is the point. You want surprise, you want attention.
Another point is most people don’t use their imagination anymore because they’re so used to power-pointless presentations with a lot of text and blabber. Putting a prototype in their face which they can engage with changes their perception. There’s not argument here.
Sure, most things you won’t be able to prototype. But you can make sketches and storyboards about what you are thinking. You can also use play-doh, lego, paper. You’ll definitely need to revisit kindergarten for this but it pays. If you forgot how to draw, learn or ask for help.
Actions speak louder than words
As an added bonus, act out your ideas. Yes, that’s right. Act. No, you don’t have to be Robert De Niro. You just have to be you. If you’ve identified a paint point (especially if you experienced it), act that out. Then act out how you plan to solve it.
I have a feeling this is going to become a more standard practice as everyone is dealing with information overload and brevity doesn’t cut it anymore. People have only so much time to read. Visuals on the other hand, in the form of a drawing, sketch, storyboard or mock up help people see more clearly and engage.
Well begun is half done
In a world where everyone in an organization is connected to the internet and at a moments notice can come up with an idea, this person needs to be able to communicate her/his idea in the most clear way possible. People need to be able to draw and storyboard to build a case for their idea.
Documents are ok, visuals are brilliant!
I have a standard practice that whatever you present, you better draw it. It doesn’t matter if you draw it on a napkin (or various napkins), what matters is that ‘we can see’ what you are talking about. It also helps to create the habit of thinking through your ideas as opposed to just thinking out loud. It wastes less time and jump-starts the discussion immediately.
What do you think? Do you have a standard practice to build a basic prototype to make a case for ideas?
- GM’s design lab breakthrough creates instant parts (content.usatoday.com)
- InVision: UX Prototyping Made Easy (techcrunch.com)