A Board Game for the Living Room… and the Conference Room

by | Sep 20, 2018

Did you know there’s a board game out there that will not only make your next game night awesome, but will also make you more effective in the workplace?

Playing this party game will give you thrills in the living room and skills in the conference room.

…a game that will make your friends go “Ha ha!” and your colleagues go “Ah-ha…”

Ok, this is getting way too cheesy…

But it’s also true.

Telestrations has been a favorite game of the Sketch Effect team for years. If you’ve never played it, you’re missing out on one of the best party games on the market.

In short, it is a visual game of telephone. Think telephone meets Pictionary.

(Side note: The Sketch Effect is not affiliated with or sponsored by Telestrations or USAOPOLOY, Inc. in any way. However, we will not turn down any free board game swag that may or may not show up at our office…)

So here’s how it works: four to eight people sit in a circle, each with a drawing pad and a marker. You begin by writing a “secret word” (or phrase or thing) on the first page. Then, you pass your pad to the next person, who views your “secret word” and has 60 seconds to sketch a picture of that word or phrase. Then, the pad is passed again. The next person looks at the picture (without seeing the original “secret word”), flips the page and writes what they think that sketched drawing is. The process of only looking back at the previous page and either drawing or writing continues for eight rounds. At the end, the original “secret word” will have turned into something so completely nonsensical, comical, and sometimes a bit inappropriate.

To conclude the game, each person takes a turn to show the group the horrific and hilarious devolution of the original word…it’s a total blast.

At The Sketch Effect, we play Telestrations together to not only have fun, but to also step up our visualization skills.

After all, the process of interpreting language and then coming up with a visual representation of that language is what we do, and Telestrations provides a great vehicle to do that.

Now this is where the conference room comes in.

Playing Telestrations enhances your visual thinking skills and your visual literacy skills.

It will help you express your ideas more effectively using simple sketching, and it will increase your ability to interpret ideas visually.

The research shows that people who use visuals to communicate their ideas are more effective than those who simply explain with words only. The use of pictures when explaining ideas adds the element of visual learning, which boosts the comprehension and retention of those ideas.

In “The Back of the Napkin” by Dan Roam, Mr. Roam states that:

“There is no more powerful way to prove that we know something well than to draw a simple picture of it. And there’s no more powerful way to see hidden solutions than to pick up a pen and draw out the pieces of our problem.”

    This book, among a handful of other books and articles, make the case that visual thinking and visual problem solving is a critical skill in the modern workplace.

    Mr. Roam defines visual thinking as:

    “taking advantage of our innate ability to see—both with our eyes and with our mind’s eye—in order to discover ideas that are otherwise invisible, develop those ideas quickly and intuitively, and then share those ideas with other people in a way that they simply ‘get’.”

    Visuals are a global language that add efficiency, effectiveness, and a dose of fun to a business meeting. Visuals help you and others clarify ideas, get on the same page, reduce redundant conversations, and get to the right solutions faster. Creating visuals also doesn’t require any advanced technology…a whiteboard and some markers (or a napkin and a pen) will do just fine.

    I’ve even seen someone try to explain an idea by drawing in the dirt. And guess what? It was effective.

    To learn more about the science and history of Visual Communication, check out my previous article “What Millennials and Cavemen Have in Common.”

    To summarize, visual thinking is an indispensable skill that 21st century professionals can and must leverage to increase their effectiveness.

    And what better way to step up your visual thinking skills than with a hilarious game? Beyond generating uproarious laugher and your friends’ next inside joke, playing Telestrations will get your visual thinking wheels spinning and make you more comfortable sketching for an audience.

    And remember: it’s not about the quality of the art. It’s about the quality of the communication.

    You don’t need to be a trained illustrator to convey an idea and problem-solve using pictures.

    Check out our team’s favorite game today (here, here, or here) – make your game nights more fun and your meetings more effective.

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