There is something to be said for sitting right there and watching the drawing unfold—it can make the spoken narrative clearer. At the end of a very intense diagramming session that has revealed every possible magnificent detail, there is always the moment of excitement and reckoning that warrants, “Wait, wait … let me take a photo of this with my mobile phone.” But when you show it to someone else a week or two later, it no longer makes any sense. Watching something being made is a powerful way to understand a concept; trying to decode just the final result, no matter how simple and visually elegant, demands an explanation of how it came to be.
Andrew Blau, futurist and cop resident of Global Business Network, once shared with me how when he enters a room as a speaker, he automatically assumes that the audience is non-English speaking, even if he is in the United States. It reminds him of the importance of his tone, hand gestures, and emphasis in his voice to give him an increased chance for success in communicating. This reinforces to me that what you say in words, numbers, or pictures matters less than how you come across as a human being.
I’ve learned that by replying personally, I was undermining people in my own chain of command. In other words, managers in the hierarchy serve specific roles in communicating with the campus and I now believe that the president really has no business responding on their behalf. Being aware of the many conversations happening on campus *is* the business of the president, so I spend a great deal of time listening and learning from conversations that happen both online and offline to understand my community.