informa
/
1 MIN READ
Commentary

SmartDraw Brings Meetings To Life

Software vendor aims to replace PowerPoint slides with visuals that communicate relationships and associations.
If you and I were sitting down to coffee and I asked you (between sips of my extra-hot flat white) to explain something to me related to your work, how quickly would you give up on words and reach for a pen and a sheet of paper? For argument's sake, perhaps it's your iPad with a drawing app--same difference. Particularly if my facial expressions portrayed a lack of comprehension, would you continue to use just words, or would you say something to the effect of, "Here, let me draw it for you"?

If you took the approach of drawing it, you would be one of many to add emphasis to the research finding that diagrams, pictures, and images are more effective at facilitating communications than words alone. We all know the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words; but do we live it in our business communications? According to SmartDraw, the answer is no--and the company wants to change that.

Consider meetings, that bane of reality for workers the world over. If you look at the academic research on supporting collaboration between distributed groups, much of it treats face-to-face meetings as the gold standard, and yet they're almost universally despised. How do we reconcile this paradox?

Back to SmartDraw, which argues that the way people meet is the problem. If people could meet in a different way, the results--including satisfaction levels--would be much improved, the company maintains. The practices they propose, which are easy to understand and implement, include:

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing