Miscommunications are the worst. Whether you鈥檙e decorating with a roommate or planning a getaway with your girls, being on the same page, even with someone you鈥檙e close with, is tough. But putting an end to confusion can be as simple as picking up a pen and drawing a picture.


Dan Roam, the author of The聽Back of the Napkin, uses what he calls 鈥渧isual thinking鈥 to explain complex issues. During his strategy meeting with corporate groups, he noticed it was difficult for the team to understand one another. He was able to communicate the same concepts more effectively by illustrating his ideas with simple pictures, like a game of Pictionary. 鈥淎dding a visual opens things up to us,鈥 Roam says.

Now he shares his problem-solving strategies with companies like Microsoft, Wal-Mart and the US Navy.

More than half of our brain is designed to process images, so when drawing is used in tandem with good ol鈥 talking things out, the fully engaged brain can come up with better solutions and connect with the material on a higher level.


So in the age of creativity hacks and adult coloring books, why not try doodling to wrap your head around a problem? 鈥淒rawing it out forces the vision to become a lot clearer,鈥 Roam says. He鈥檚 used the concept on everything from keeping characters straight in new books to talking through budgeting objectives with his accountant. And when you鈥檝e finished visualizing your goal, you have the picture as a very tangible reminder of your ambitions. Hang it high and proud!

Master the art of visual thinking at Roam鈥檚 online course Napkin Academy, and scroll on for Roam鈥檚 three tips for doodling with purpose.

How to Doodle With Purpose


1. You don鈥檛 have to be an artist. Draw what鈥檚 on your mind, not what you think it should look like. Conveying the thought is more important than creative ability.

2. Keep it simple. Roam recommends starting with circles and giving each one a name or label. Then draw arrows to explain how they relate to one another. It鈥檚 okay to have one picture representing one idea.

3. Don鈥檛 edit yourself. It鈥檚 important to get the whole thought out. Even if you make a mistake along the way, all the pictures will connect eventually.

What problems will you solve with doodling? Let us know in the comments and share your photos with us on Instagram using #iamcreative.

(Photo via Getty)