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Business is fun

Dictator

A challenge that many people face in business is getting the message across. In fact being more specific about it, it's a challenge that I sometimes face with customers while trying to help them understand the complexities of business accounting and ratios.

For me it's easy to demonstrate how a ratio works and what it means but sometimes that's not enough, no matter that I explain it - as I do in every situation - in plain, jargon-free english.

But consider what would be better. Consider what could convey instantaneous meaning. Think about how TV works these days: whether you're watching a general election broadcast or ordinary day to day news, many news items containing concepts or numbers are presented in a "Minority Report" style with tables and charts and images flying on to the screen and off again, overlapping and connecting, clicking through the tables to real data and back up again. Even Sage50 Accounts has developed some of this technology so that you can "drill down" through the different layers of numbers making it easier than ever before to find out the cause of an over or under spend.

So pictures work better than words: they are direct, comprehensible in most languages and are (usually) unambiguous. Consider (alternatively) how ambiguous language is and how the same words mean different things even in the same context depending on the inflection of our voice or the position of a comma.

Nevertheless, pictures or diagrams still need to - in themselves - make sense to the viewer! Any old picture inserted any old place simply for "effect" it is hoped it will have, in fact will have the opposite impact to that which was intended.

So it is true - mostly - that a picture is worth a thousand words. Think how difficult it would be to explain in words what a steam engine was compared with showing a picture of one? If you want to see how complicated those words, "steam engine" are, just click on this link to see how widely the words might be interpreted!

Oh and before I finish, Dictator? Why is the article called Dictator?

napoleonbonapartedictator

Simply this, it was Napoleon Bonaparte who first (it is claimed) expressed the idea that a picture was worth more than words: "Un bon croquis vaut mieux qu'un long discours," (a good sketch is better than a long speech).

Au revoir!

JohnF

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Simon on September 30, 2012

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