by Steve Adubato, PhD
It has often been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But it really depends upon how good the picture is at describing what you are trying to communicate.
In his new book, “Book Yourself Solid Illustrated,” bestselling author Michael Port uses pictures to communicate a variety of important messages regarding how to effectively conduct your business. Port is one of the leading experts and authors in the field of business development and has been coaching professionals on how to build their book of business for years. Port writes about how professionals can more effectively serve their clients, expand their networking base, and better brand themselves in the marketplace—all keys to booking yourself solid.
A few years ago, I wrote about Port’s original book entitled, “Book Yourself Solid”, and wondered why he would take his book, cut it by more than half, and replace it with visuals. Here’s his explanation; “Writing and selling a book is one thing, but getting readers to consume and use its content is quite another. My focus has never been on selling, it has been on making sure people can actually use the information in my books. I have met people that said they loved, ‘Book Yourself Solid’, but often said they didn’t finish it because it has 90,000 words. For ‘Book Yourself Solid Illustrated”, I cut out 2/3 of the text and replaced it with illustrations that people can relate to immediately.”
From a communications perspective, it’s fascinating that so many people respond to visual images in a way that words sometimes fall short. Port says that even the best “to do” or action list often fails to communicate its message because people can’t and don’t receive and store such information in a way that makes it easy to recall when they need it.
He’s got a good point. In my communication seminars, I’ve often used a football goal post to explain the concept of “disciplined communication” by saying it is essential for professionals to communicate their message (and ONLY their message) by “staying inside the goal post” and avoiding talking about anything “outside of the goal post.” You need to ask yourself the question; “What themes and messages do I want to get across in this meeting, media interview or presentation?” Answering this question helps you communicate within the goal post and become a more disciplined communicator. The biggest problem many professionals have is when they make the mistake and venture outside the goal post. Using the visual of the goal post helps get this message across.
This is what Michael Port has done throughout his new book, “Book Yourself Solid Illustrated.” He worked with visual strategist Jocelyn Wallace to fill it with dozens of helpful illustrations that make important business concepts more real and relevant for readers. Says Port; “When you can visualize an idea, it is often easier to absorb it than reading text alone...When you see an image, you can put yourself inside of the visual and at that point understand how it applies to you. It is like driving a car. You can learn the ‘how to’ of driving by reading about it, but you can’t truly learn how to drive a car until you do it. The same is true with intellectual ideas.”
If you want to improve customer service, build your client base and ultimately “book yourself solid”, Michael Port’s book is a great resource.