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Dave Gray
Works at Independent consultant
Attended Art Center College of Design
Lives in St. Louis, Missouri
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Dave Gray

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Check out the cool stuff my friend Kurt Hanks is working on.
Working on a new book on Visual Note Taking.

Years ago I wrote a book called Rapid VIZ.

It was a very successful book and helped many learn the power of quickly drawn images. But over the years I’ve dramatically refined, unified and simplified my approach. It became a  tool to help people see what was formerly invisible to them – helping them gain some much needed insights and unique new skills.

And interestingly, those who caught onto what I was up to with this approach automatically started to use drawing as a part of  their thought and communication processes. I found it so easy to do that I missed its importance until some close friends reminded me of how it had so deeply affected them. Thick headed me.  I think this kind of drawing came so naturally to me that I was blinded to how it had so profoundly changed others who were new to it.

So, I listened to my friends and I’ll put this new visual process into a book.

At the core of this process is an integrated system of visual note taking for the capturing, generating, retrieving and communicating of ideas.

I’ll put this book’s ideas here as I work on them. 
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Thanks guys! Very informative, I learned a ton.

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Master the art of asking

If you want to be an effective communicator, you need more than just communication skills: you need to have something meaningful to say. You can start by

1. Collecting good information, and

2. Taking the extra time and energy to make it relevant to others.

You can do both at once by learning to ask good questions. The benefit of collecting information this way is that you automatically get deeper context than you would ever get from other kinds of research; you learn what people really care about.

Questions can be broadly categorized into two types:

1. Open questions provoke dialogue. They begin with “What” “Who,” “Where,” “Why” or “How.” Open questions can never be answered “yes” or “no.” Examples:

“How do you go about doing this today?”
“What area do you see as needing the most improvement?”
“Who will make the final decision?”
“Where are the biggest problem areas?”
“Why hasn’t this been done before?”

2. Closed questions confirm your understanding or seek commitment. They begin with do, so, is, are, if, can will, would, should, or could. Closed questions can only be answered “yes” or “no.”

Examples of closed questions that confirm understanding:
“Do you find this acceptable?”
“So you think the situation is deteriorating, is that right?”
“Is this common?”
“Are you saying that these kinds of initiatives have failed in the past?”

Examples of closed questions that seek a commitment:
“If I guaranteed immediate delivery, would you buy today?”
“Can you think of a reason not to do this?”
“Will you decide by Tuesday?”
“Would you like this today?”
“Should we talk to your boss?”
“Could we call him now?”

Ask good questions, for good reasons.

Did you like this post? <a href="">Buy the ebook</a>.
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Thank you Thomas!
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You can join the private beta now at

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Hey everybody, the book project is almost done. You can't pre-order yet but you can take a look at the website and sign up to be notified when it's ready for pre-order here:
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Great stuff Dave.
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Something I find useful. Major props to where I originally got the idea. 
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You are not as objective as you think you are.
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Well said David!
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Think you can't draw? If you have five minutes and a pen and paper, I'll prove you wrong.
Squiggle birds is a quick exercise that you can use to get people stretching their visual thinking muscles. It takes about five minutes and quickly, clearly demonstrates how little effort is really required to make meaningful, easy-to-read images. The main point of the demonstration is that our minds are already pattern-making machines, and very little drawing is actually required to convey an idea. The mind will fill in the rest. I learned this ...
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Have him in circles
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Information design, experience design and social business design
  • Independent consultant
    2012 - present
    Owner, 1993 - 2010
  • The Dachis Group
    SVP Strategy, 2010 - 2012
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
St. Louis, Missouri
South Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Founder and CEO, Liminl
I'm an information designer and entrepreneur, interested in user experience and the social web.

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I founded XPLANE, the visual thinking company in 1993. In 2010 XPLANE was acquired by the Dachis Group.
  • Art Center College of Design
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