Those who know me are aware of my detail-oriented, analytical mind. This is probably why I love golf so much. There are so many details to consider and analyze. That’s why I find visualization such a handy technique to use in golf. I visualize my shot before I swing. I visualize the trajectory, where I expect the ball to land, and how much I want it to roll out. This technique can also be a great tool in many different aspects of business.
Visualization for Planning
As we all know, it isn’t a good idea to jump into something without doing some detailed planning first. Part of that planning should include visualization. Who is the project or job going to benefit? Who is involved? It is useful to imagine yourself in your clients’ shoes, with their level of expertise. Visualize their process and experience with the service you are providing. Don’t picture everything going perfectly. Visualize the problems and issues that may arise, and plan ways to overcome the difficulties.
As an event planner I use visualization extensively. Of course I visualize the layout and décor of an event, but it is most important to visualize the flow of the affair. When visiting an event site, I will visualize the attendees entering the site and how I expect them to flow through the event. How many ways can they enter? Where will they go first? What will they do? I use this method to define the flow of activity through the event. A great attendee experience is always the goal.
With my consulting services, I employ what I call “usage” visualization. I start by listening to clients’ needs and documenting their requirements. As I work through my recommendations, I imagine I am the client or the user. I visualize them implementing and/or using my recommended solutions. This helps me to think of, and plan for, scenarios we might not have considered initially.
I have a client who is looking for a software solution with mobile capabilities. The customer wants to access its data away from the office, via cell phone or tablet. To effectively consider the available solutions, I visualize myself as the client utilizing the mobile version of the solution, perhaps in the car before or after a meeting. Is the mobile screen large enough to effectively view the data? If my cell connection is slow, how long will it take to pull up the data? If the solution requires large amounts of data to be downloaded, what kind of a cell data plan will my client need? This “usage” visualization helps me define a more usable and well-thought-out recommendation.
It is good practice to make a list of the different types of users and visualize each of their unique experiences. For instance, when I am planning a business event with exhibitors, I not only visualize the experience for the attendees but also visualize the process and experience the exhibitors will have. When I am working on a software recommendation, I visualize the experience for the individual entering the data as well as the person who uses the data.
Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes!
We are taught empathy as young children by being told to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. It is a vital human quality to be able to see things from differing points of view. I believe it is also a vital quality in business. In all of your interactions with your clients, you benefit from visualizing yourself in your client’s shoes, no matter what product or service you provide.
No, my golf shots do not always turn out as I visualize them – but oh, what a sense of accomplishment when they do!
About Your Columnist
Lorie Campbell is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence where she covers customer relationship management (CRM) and detailed planning. She is the owner of LAC Solutions, a consulting company that specializes in CRM and event solutions. Previously, Lorie spent 20 years with IBM working as a consultant, teaching, managing projects, executing technical sales and supporting vendor partnership alliances.