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A huge thanks to Dan Roam for an inspiring and engaging presentation. I absolutely loved this session. Dan wrote the book “Back of the Napkin” – presenting through stories.


Today he used a lot of slides and a tablet so he could draw on the slides. Exceptional presenting. Here’s my notes:

We’ve come to equate intelligence with out ability to speak. Partly because our educations system comes from another [industrial] age. If you can talk and keep your hands clean then you could lead/manage, if you couldn’t you were a worker.

“I rarely think in words at all. My visual images have to be translated into conventional verbal and mathematical terms.” Einstein

Great visual thinker – Richard Feynman – drew visual diagrams to teach people about electricity.

Here’s a tweet during the presentation from The Ocean Agency:
Ronald Reagan’s doodles: Seriously. #whywordswontwork. More Presidential doodles:

Given we have so many issues in the US / World, where are the pictures? Speeches etc are largely words spoken. No pictures come out of the White House.

Example, healthcare reform on the back of a napkin:


Here’s more detail from slideshare:

And here’s his speech to congress on Healthcare:

What sort of visual thinker are you?


25% of us are those who would jump up to the board to draw (that’s Dan – Black Pen).
50% can identify in someone’s picture the parts that are most important (Yellow Pen)
25% think drawing on the whiteboard is is all trash.  They may have the most understanding, but they won’t jump up (Red Pen).

We haven’t really explored an idea until we’ve both talked about it and looked at it.

If you only talk about something, I’ll not believe you understand what you are talking about unless you can talk about it and draw about it.

Right and Left brain model is turning out to be less and less true.

Here’s some of the tools that Dan used – download free from his site – click here:

I hope Dan loads his slides to slideshare – it was a very very impressive presentation.

Session Background:
Blah Blah Blah: Why Words Won’t Work
scheduled 14 March 2010 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Location: Ballroom C
Austin Convention Center
Austin TX 78701
Since the industrial revolution, we’ve judged human intelligence by our ability to talk. And just look at where that belief has gotten us: from politics to energy, we’re deeper in conceptual debt than ever. This session shows how combining our innate verbal and visual skills is the only way we’re going to solve the big problems ahead.
More information: #whywordswontwork
Dan’s slideshare:

Thanks to Leslie Flores and Business Week for the photo of Dan and his book!

Happy days to you

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