She was given a ten-minute slot for her online slideshow presentation; she took only five, and so we were left with an awkward vacuum to fill. Sound familiar? Our new normal has given us the incentive to explore alternative means of visual communication. As business owners we have adapted to the notion of networking on screen and creating dialogue on social media. Never have our visual skills been more in demand, affecting how we appear to our own networks, but also in a worldwide community sharing the effects of Covid-19 together.
I felt the initial impact of the national lockdown as a self-employed jewellery designer when casting companies and the assay offices closed. After an unexpected call from a connection, I was involved in a creative collaboration. Within a week I had a new website, a new freelance venture and my first clients. To start a second business in the middle of lockdown required a clear vision and an understanding of long-term demand. Working from home, I had spent months online unintentionally researching visuals, from slideshow presentations and websites, to videos, to social media posts.
The creative process begins with a dance between the unconscious and conscious mind. Unconsciously I had shifted my focus. Once we unearth the need or problem, to resolve it requires time to research in depth and incubate a plan. Suddenly you get the “Aha” moment and the ideas flow. Only then can you produce the solution to be evaluated and verified. It is a simple and natural process just like business, which many people find themselves unaware of. For me it is a deliberate and cognitive progression from inspiration to generation.
You do not need to be able to draw to be creative and produce eye-catching visuals. There are rules to visual design and the key is to see it as a learned toolkit. You could take the Post-modern approach and break the rules, however you need to know them to break them. As a qualified graphic designer, I see potential. We are now experimenting more than ever as individuals, using our logos, branding, colour, fonts, the moving image, and symbols (or semiotics as we designers call it). I saw a niche business opportunity.
When combined with a fear of public speaking, the concept of creating visuals and giving a presentation is incomprehensible. The post-pandemic world may well continue to include online networking, so now is the time to master your visuals. I see public speaking as a gift and recently became the Vice President of Public Relations (VPPR) with Voice of Wales Speakers Club, Toastmasters International.
When it comes to creating an impression, people believe what they see. Imagine yourself delivering a talk confidently with your slides that lasts the ten minutes you were given. Think about how you can express yourself visually, on brand, via social media, on your website, in your emails, or in person. You can be anywhere in the world now so why not show up and make it count?