How to Increase Engagement with Visuals

What makes a customer’s eyes light up with curiosity, an audience lean in, or an employee show enthusiasm for and take ownership of a project? More specifically, what makes an individual stop and engage?

ImageThink’s work with hundreds of Fortune 500 clients have revealed that concerns surrounding engaging a crowd, company, or team are all but uncommon. And it isn’t just limited to our clients – increasingly, audiences, employees, and customers have grown disengaged as our world has become more stimulated. According to Gallup, only 21% of employees feel engaged at work.

Luckily, for our clients, ImageThink’s approach offers visual solutions to engagement challenges. Whether by helping a client booth stand out from the crowd, or by prompting team involvement with creative exercises and visual thinking, the way to ensure impactful, long-lasting engagement is through visuals.

What are we talking about when we talk about engagement?

To understand how to truly engage someone, we first must know how to define engagement. HR Zone indicates that engagement is an interplay between three factors: cognitive commitment, emotional attachment, and the resulting behavioral outcomes. Essentially, engagement is the degree to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and are willing to put discretionary effort into their work.  

But what is driving this engagement? Research has found that the following factors build and elevate engagement:

1. Communication – Open communication has the potential to increase employee involvement and well-being at work, while also impacting contributions to organizational and individual performance.

2. Organizational Culture – A healthy work culture provides an environment for individual engagement to thrive.

3. Opportunities for Growth – Employees who are provided opportunities for professional advancement are far more likely to engage than those who stagnate in their roles.

4. Rewards and Recognition – Acknowledgement and awards engage and instinctively inspire individuals to find efficient solutions and process optimizations.

5. Work-life Balance – A flexible balance between work and personal life improves productivity and thus allows for better engagement.

6. Diversity & Inclusion – A diverse and inclusive culture fosters better teamwork, collaboration, and leads to elevated levels of employee morale and engagement.

7. Physical Working Environment – A safe and comfortable work environment positively influences an individual’s ability to stay engaged.

8. Leadership – Confidence in the competence and credibility of top management creates a sense of security and deepens involvement with teams and the organization.

9. Training & Development – Learning and training initiatives reveal to an employee that the company is invested in their personal career advancement. As such, training and development positively impacts performance and engagement levels.

10. Ownership – Shared ownership of projects and the incorporation of employees into the bigger picture builds strong and sustainable commitment and involvement.

When businesses place engagement at the center of their organizational structure, they set themselves up for success. And these investments toward engagement yield big results: from higher retention and lower absenteeism to greater productivity and profitability.

Now that you’ve had a crash course on engagement, let’s get to the colorful stuff. 

Inducing engagement with visuals  

If you had the choice between reading a 5-page paper, or viewing an infographic that depicts the same information visually, which would you choose? Most respondents choose the latter. Why? Because visuals communicate a message faster and clearer than any other form of content or communication. Our brains are wired, and biased, to appreciate and prefer visuals. 

The science behind why visuals increase engagement - our brains our wired to prefer and process visuals better than any other medium!

Meetings stewarded by a graphic facilitator, and conferences that leverage visual support capture the eyes, ears, and total attention of attendees. When ImageThink graphic recorders are live scribing for an audience, creating striking strategic visuals or animated videos, or deploying creative exercises in workshops or meetings, they are actively working to engage their audience.

Adding some color to the meeting 

Anyone who regularly attends meetings could tell you that a lot of meetings are poorly run, unproductive, underwhelming, and costly. With a creative approach, a graphic facilitator virtually wipes out that laundry list of meeting problems through engagement.  

We all know first impressions are important, so we like to make them count. As a meeting’s first impression, an agenda serves the purpose of preparation and setting expectations. When aided with visuals, not only does the agenda do both, but it also helps build excitement surrounding topics and meeting activities. As a plus, a skilled graphic recorder will pull recurring themes and visual cues from an agenda, which keeps the attention and focus of the group on the tasks at hand and reinforces the day’s goals. 

ImageThink increases meeting engagement with a visual agenda.

Throughout the meeting, visually framed questions and exercises prompt meaningful discussion and collaboration and allow attendees to work more creatively. The result is more energy in the room, bigger, more innovative ideas, and fully unlocked, lasting group potential. 

Real time visuals, real time engagement 

At a jampacked tradeshow, or when the event or conference becomes a full house, it’s a difficult task to stand out from the crowd. Live scribing panel or individual talks or having a visual display at your booth provides that “wow” factor to make people stop and engage. 

An ImageThink social listening mural provides a strong differentiator from bland product displays and demonstrations. Employing an ImageThink visual strategist invites your audience to interact with you and your brand with thought-provoking questions and visual responses drawn in real-time. In a conference setting, a graphic recorder live scribes key points that beautifully summarize the discussion and allow attendees to internalize what’s important.  

ImageThink creates a social listening mural tower to engage conference attendees.

And why stop the engagement there? With digital rendering, your visual board can be shared across social media platforms and distributed internally between organizational departments for lasting impact.  

Keeping individuals, teams, and organizations engaged is a universal challenge. With the help of an ImageThink graphic recorder and a visual approach, you’ll keep the interest piqued, the energy high, and create lasting invaluable engagement. Take it from our clients or experience it for yourself by filling out the form below to get in touch with us.  

Illustration of a lightbulb with a brain in the middle.

Do you seek deep, lasting engagement?

ImageThink graphic recorders are equipped with the skillset and tools to transform any event or meeting into a fully immersive experience. Unlock the potential and engagement of attendees with visuals today.

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