Two times I was taught the lesson that effective communication is not always about words – that is why data visualization tools are needed. The first time, I was presenting a project to my peers. I had designed a program for testing the students’ knowledge of English and included in the presentation a lot of textual info and a few photos of students and an English textbook. The presentation was a failure – undoubtedly, nobody understood what the app looked like or how to use it.
Another time, I had to instruct a colleague on how she had to create, edit, and format text in the tool we usually used at work, so I wrote a long tutorial on how to do it but with no illustrations. As you could guess, she didn’t understand a lot of my instructions and repeatedly asked me to help her until I created a step-by-step guide with a screenshot for each step. At that moment, I understood once and forever: effective communication needs data visualization tools, as well as an effective step-by-step guide needs screenshotting tools.
Why effective communication needs data visualization tools
Have you ever felt like a communication act has just happened but you’ve understood nothing? This can happen for a number of reasons including the wrong tone of voice, body language, choice of words and phrasing, listening skills, and failure to effectively present your points. The last, but not least, concerns not only presentations in the literal meaning but presentation skills as we use them in our everyday life and, most often, at work. As you can see from my personal experience, this really matters.
What’s important, in the IT or business environment, presentation skills are crucial as they affect your carrier accomplishments. Suppose you introduce a SaaS solution or communicate with your customers, what do you need to do it effectively? In this case, effective communication and presentation skills will not be the only things needed -use data visualization tools to make your audience understand you. According to an author, keynote speaker, and consultant Dr. Lynell Burmark, “unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear.” However, visual aids target the visual memory, that’s why, in effective communication, people should not only listen but also literally see your points.
Ways to communicate with teammates, customers, or partners
Whether you’re a founder, sales manager, marketer, or customer support agent, your communication manner can dramatically affect how your audience perceives, understands, and supports your points. Whether it’s verbal or written communication, data visualization tools conduce to effective communication with your teammates, customers, or partners. Consider using visual aids in the following ways for business communication:
Open meetings, presentations, discussions
At open meetings, you can use data visualization tools to demonstrate your ideas, explain issues, promote solutions, and so on. In this case, your audience consists of either several or many listeners and your aim is to transfer your issues or solutions and engage them into discussion or cooperation. The difficulty here is to attract everyone’s attention – do it with your speech, voice, body language, and visual aids.
Appropriate visual aids: image, screenshot, diagram, chart, video, mockup, infographic, shared screen
The only difference from the open meetings is that you only have one listener. While you might think that it is easier to talk to just one person, don’t underestimate such meetings. Be sure to hear your listener out, personalize your speech, and make them feel special while presenting your points. This can help you deliver your arguments more effectively while data visualization tools can help you make your arguments much easier to follow and comprehend.
Appropriate visual aids: image, screenshot, diagram, chart, video, mockup, shared screen
Onboarding, training, demo sessions
The aim of any onboarding, training, or demo session is to teach a user how to use a particular service or tool and make them love said service or tool so that they will easily use it for their needs. In this case, visuals like screenshots or video tutorials are extremely important. I believe you already know: just remember any situation in which you learned how to use a software program or online service, did you succeed with no data visualization tools? I don’t think so. That’s why you need to make a user guide or a video tutorial to make onboarding, training, or a demo session an effective communication.
Appropriate visual aids: image, screenshot, video, step-by-step guide
Whether you have a regular online call with your regular customer or an extremely important call with your major partner overseas, data visualization will allow you to sound convincing and confident as they will illustrate all your ideas in seconds. It can be difficult to make your point via online call, even if it’s a video call. However, if you send corresponding visual materials or share your screen with an interlocutor, you will have many more chances to communicate your idea effectively.
Appropriate visual aids: image, video, document, diagram, chart, step-by-step guide, shared screen
Emails & Chats
While emails are usually used for more formal communication, chat users usually exchange short informal or semi-formal messages. One way or another, visual aids are frequently used in emails or chat messages, chiefly, if you need to explain to your interlocutor how to do something or what needs to be changed.
Appropriate visual aids: image, screenshot, video, step-by-step guide, one-pager, diagram, chart
Articles or marketing materials
Last but not least, data visualization is an essential part of various marketing materials, articles, and blog posts. Although such communication is kind of one-sided, writers, marketers, sales managers, and bloggers all strive to make this communication effective since it impacts their work success. As long as they keep their texts eye-catching and easy to follow and comprehend, they succeed – and visuals are those contributing to effective communication in this situation.
Appropriate visual aids: image, screenshot, video, one-pager, step-by-step guide, chart, diagram, infographic
Data visualization tools for effective communication
As we have already revealed, data visualization tools conduce to effective communication. However, while in some cases simple screenshotting tools like the default Snipping Tool in Windows works perfectly, in many other situations, much more advanced data visualization tools are needed to create visual aids. That is why we’ve prepared the following list of tools for creating effective visual materials from simple screenshots to video guides.
Image & Screenshot
Adobe Photoshop is a number-one professional software program designed for image creation and editing.
StepShot Guides has an easy-to-use in-built image editor designed for editing and enhancing screenshots.
Canva can be used both as an app and as an online service for creating images, in particular logos, posters, and so on.
Diagram & Chart
Gliffy is a data visualization tool developed for building diagrams online or inside Confluence.
Microsoft Office Word is a simple yet advanced tool for creating diagrams, charts, and so on.
Canva offers a separate service for infographic design with quite a simple interface and editable in-built elements.
Microsoft Office Word can also be used for this purpose owing to SmartArt objects.
Adobe Photoshop will certainly help with infographic creation, but it will definitely take more time than the previous solutions.
Video tutorial & Demo
StepShot Guides makes the creation of a narrated video tutorial or demo based on screen capturing fast and easy like never before.
Movavi Video Editor also enables its users to create videos based on images, but you’ll need to take, edit, and insert images and write descriptions manually, not automatically as in the previous solution.
Moqups is a streamlined web app which allows you to design a mockup or a prototype to visualize your project.
Canva also offers a tool for design mockup creation and provides you with fresh ideas, templates, and icons.
StepShot Guides has been designed for this purpose specifically – owing to the AI-powered functionality you can create a step-by-step guide in minutes and export it to many formats.
Microsoft Office Word undoubtedly can be used to write a step-by-step guide, but you’ll need other tools to capture and edit a screenshot and then copy-paste it manually for each step.
Adobe Photoshop is frequently used to create a one-pager, but you need to remember that this requires a certain level of skills in using this software.
StepShot Guides makes the process of one-pager creation easier owing to enhanced image and PDF editors; you can use either automatically-captured screenshots or insert other images.
Microsoft Office Word similarly can be used for this purpose, you’ll just need to save a one-pager in a PDF format.
Zoom is a web platform for online meetings, web conferencing, video webinars, and so on and, of course, you can share your screen to present something to your listeners.
Skype is a popular app for online calls which offers functions of video meetings and screen sharing as well.
Above you can see a table demonstrating which data visualization tool can be used for particular visuals creation to make it easier for you to choose which tools are the most suitable for you. For instance, if you frequently deal with images, infographics, and mockups, you can favor Canva, but if you need a tool for creating various guides and tutorials based on screenshots – StepShot Guides is the best solution for you.
Who needs data visualization tools for effective communication?
In StepShot, we have gathered many use cases and success stories from people and companies using our products. Through this, we found that StepShot Guides users share files created with our tool for effective communication with their teammates, customers, or partners. If you are still hesitating whether you need data visualization tools like StepShot Guides for effective communication, check if your or similar job is mentioned in the list below to learn how visuals can help you.
- IT Operators use our tool to explain to their coworkers how to accomplish a task or how to use software, to write an SOP or a runbook, or to create a knowledge base for in-company knowledge sharing.
- Enterprise Consultants present new solutions, tools, and systems and train employees with user documentation created with StepShot Guides.
- Customer Support Agents frequently use our tool to create either a short 5-step guide or a long 300-step tutorial to better explain to the customers how to use the software or online service, as well as to create whole help centers.
- Marketers create one-pagers, marketing videos, promotional templates, illustrations based on screenshots, and other files.
- Sales Managers use the software to create demo videos, lead magnets, and one-pagers for effective communication with the potential customers.
- HR Managers mainly utilize StepShot Guides for a new employee onboarding process.
- Educators make use of StepShot Guides to create video tutorials, training manuals, or knowledge bases for staff and students.
- Software Developers & Testers describe the software they use, record bugs, and communicate issues to remote teams.
- Technical Writers compose user manuals, guides, tutorials, and other technical documentation.
In addition, all these persons can communicate with co-workers, visually explain ideas, and delegate tasks with StepShot Guides. In other words, the tool supports effective communication in the workplace owing to data visualization.
So, do you actually need data visualization tools to communicate effectively?
I can only guess whether this article makes you believe you need data visualization tools to communicate effectively in the area of IT and business. However, I hope that my personal experience I’ve shared with you and my findings of who, how, and why uses visuals in their communication with teammates, customers, and partners will come in handy to you. Just think of your regular communication at work, is it effective? Do you think that data visualization can make it better? Which visuals exactly?
I also would be happy to know that you appreciate my recommendations concerning helpful data visualization tools. The table you’ve seen above comprises the best solutions, you just need to choose which one (or a few) suits you the best due to your job tasks. Please do not forget, there are many complex solutions suitable for various purposes – and maybe you have discovered similar services? Share them with us! In turn, my team is always ready to discuss with you how you can use StepShot Guides in your particular circumstances, just contact support via the chat in the right corner of this page.