Monday, January 11, 2010

The Hundred Year Old Visual Aid

While I'm writing this, I'm watching my 7 year old, boy/girl twin grand children paint with tempera.

They love to paint. The arty stuff seems to run in the family.

Tempera paint mixes well. I am watching them mix blue and yellow to make green. It's a discovery they've come up with all by themselves.

Which reminds me, , , when two elements come together, a third one is created. It's a visual lesson you can apply to the design and use of visual aids again and again in your speaking career.

Back in the 1890's, a Cambridge math professor named John Venn, came upon a way to illustrate this reality.

By using two circles, that overlap, he demonstrates how the overlapping area represents a third and new element formed from two merging principles.

This type of diagram form has survived to this very day, being part of many Microsoft Office applications in their Design Gallery feature.

Probably the best known Venn Circle visual aids is published in Stephen Covey's (and co-authors) 20 million selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He shows how when knowledge, skills and desire come together, habits are formed. (p. 48)

Years ago, Robert Ringer used a two circle venn to show how character is the result (or overlapping) of what you say and do.

The forming of a relationship can be drawn the same way.

Say, one circle represents Bob and a second Jane. Their coming together and spending quality time with one another results in a relationship that can be viewable by the space in the overlapped area.

There is no end to the many ways you can apply two and three circle Venns to your speaking and writing activities. Your only limit is your innovation.

Accept our belated "Thank You," Professor Venn.


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