Book review: The Visual Communications Book by Mark Edwards

Here’s a very handy book for anyone who wants to have more productive meetings and deliver more persuasive presentations.

The deluge of email (about which I wrote last week) is a major productivity drain. The other major time bandit is wading through the swamp of meetings. Mark Edwards makes a living helping people compellingly show (rather than just tell) what they need a large audience or just a few colleagues to understand.

This addition to the LID concise advice series of pocket-sized books delivers a useful toolkit for visualising a wide range of concepts. I was hooked early on: to demonstrate what a simple system diagram can do, Mark uses it to explain the crafty tax strategies many firms use to reduce their tax payments. Suddenly something that’s fiendishly complex in a newspaper column becomes comprehensible.

Mark Edwards’ book delivers dozens of ways you can:

  • Visualise a problem – the better to explore it
  • Explain a process – and the dependencies that affect everything working as it should
  • Create a meaningful infographic – and save your audience a ton of slides
  • Decide if a 2 x 2 box matrix or a line graph will best serve your purpose
  • Use metaphors to explain your concept whilst subtly communicating with your audience; an iceberg sends a very different signal compared to a temple…
  • Choose the right colours to bring your point to life
  • Prompt discussion with comparisons and contrast
  • Use smilies to make a change from ticks and crosses
  • Help your audience see the progress they have made – or need to make
  • Connect with your audience and communicate powerfully by visualising the human form

As Mark says, the idea is to encourage readers to “Bring creativity back into the way you present your ideas, your point of view – and ultimately yourself”.

Don’t just take my word for it: Kevin Duncan, who wrote the first book in this series, has given it a big thumbs-up. By the way, my review of Kevin’s ‘The Diagrams Book: 50 Ways To Solve Any Problem Visually’ is here – it’s another very handy toolbox to add to your kit.


Dawn is the author of ‘How to be Zoomly at work’, available on Amazon.

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