One of the major benefits of incorporating more visuals into your note-taking process is that those visuals help you to communicate ideas clearly and efficiently.
In this episode of Verbal To Visual Video I share with you a process for using visual notes to prepare for an interview so that you don’t let your nerves get the best of you during an important conversation.
Watch the video above, then give it a try the next time you need to clarify your ideas and communicate them well to others.
I used 3×5 index cards to get down my ideas in preparation for a podcast interview.
Here are the steps that I went through:
1. Decide what topics to prepare.
Here are a few categories to consider when prepping ideas before an interview.
Be able to clearly and concisely tell your personal and professional history as it relates to the conversation.
Not only is that useful in conversations with others, it’s also good for your own psyche – the story you tell internally about yourself determines much of how you navigate the world.
Your Area Of Expertise
Be prepared to talk about your skills, the types of work you do, and the industry within which you work.
The more clearly you can talk about your area of expertise, the more confidence you’ll have in yourself and the more confident others will be in you.
Likely Topics Of Conversation
Make a list of other topics that might come up. That list will be context-specific, and worth thinking about beforehand.
2. Get your ideas down visually.
I used the small size of 3×5 note cards to help me stay concise in the way I expressed my ideas.
Top Left: Icon
I added an icon in the upper left portion of the card as a quick visual reference. That icon serves as an anchor to the rest of the ideas on the card.
Top Right: Title
Adding a title in words gives a bit more context for when you’re quickly looking for an idea. It should pair well with the icon to its left.
Below: Major Ideas
Use the rest of the card to get down your major ideas around that topic using words but not sentences, plus images where appropriate. Your goal here is to get down the big-picture structure of your ideas about that topic, not the details – those you’ll fill in extemporaneously during the conversation.
A Few Examples
Here are some examples of the notes that I took in preparation for a podcast interview:
This example falls into that first category – being able to tell your story. These are the broad strokes of mine.
From the area of expertise category – here are my thoughts on the primary benefits of sketchnoting. They provide clarity around a set of ideas, giving you the confidence that you need to then act on those ideas.
Finally, the third category – likely topics of conversation. The podcast I was on is primarily a business show, so I knew that I might be asked what online resources I use. Near the top of the list for me is Fizzle – they’ve got a great free podcast as well as a membership site with useful training and a vibrant community of folks building independent online businesses.
3. Have your ideas on hand or in mind.
If you can have your ideas in front of you during the conversation, great! That was the case for me:
If not, then use your note cards to study. Practice talking about the topics on those cards, and lock the visuals into your brain so that you can access them during the conversation.
The next time you have an important conversation, give this process a try!
Want To Dig Deeper?
If you’re new to the idea of sketchnoting and excited to develop more visual thinking tools, I think you’d enjoy our foundational course An Introduction To Visual Note-Taking.
If you’d like to make sketchnoted videos like the one you saw here, we’ve got a course for that too! Check out How To Make Sketchnote Videos.
And if you’re an educator interested in bringing visual note-taking into your classroom, check out Sketchnoting In The Classroom.