Sketching scenes that sell your skills

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Everyone helps each other out.


Strategy needs to be specific.



What if

Staff at Arq had a call-to-action landing page, using:

  • One sketch of a heroic story, showing what they love to help with most.

  • And a button to reach them.


  • To practice sketchnoting, and

  • Sketching a landing page for a team mate, that demonstrates their unique strengths and gets people to take action to use that unique ability across the Arq network.

Learning goals:

  • Learn how to draw a scene that drives people to action.

    • Understand what makes scenes work in telling stories and getting people to take action.

  • Interview the person next to you to learn their unique strengths.

  • Draw a scene that heroically shows their strengths applied to a situation, so that it becomes a call to action, like “hey this is what I’m great at, ask me to help you with this on your next project!”

    • Add a call-to-action button.

  • Present your sketch to your partner.

  • Open feedback to the room about what you thought about the sketch you received from your partner.

  • Other ways you can use this method to convince people to use your strengths.

    • Next steps

  • Conclusion

Rules for sketching

  • Always sketch with a real user and their real problem in mind.


  • Show time passing



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Metaphors & similes

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Observing and deconstructing basic shapes and forms helps you draw faster & from memory.


How do you get people to take action?

Make their brains study the image, but only long enough to be convinced.

  • Reduce scanning

  • Threat / benefit


So How do we reduce their eyes scanning?

  • Simplicity reduces scanning

    • Study award winning photos before sketching a scene

    • At least the foreground needs to be simple.


  • Unusual

  • Emotive

  • Action buttons

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But don’t do this

Not self-explanatory.

No focal point or simplicity leads to eyes continually scanning.



Interview a team mate

Aim: Identify your team mate’s unique strengths. 5 minutes each.


  • Get them to tell stories

  • 5 why’s

  • Interpret specific strengths


If you could have a magic wand and wish for anything, what kind of project would you work on and what part of it would you love doing most?

What kind of work feels most effortless and fun? / What tasks keep you in a positive flow?

Tell me a story when you really shined?

What’s something you love doing and want to do more of?

Sketch their heroic story

of their strength in action.

10 minutes

  • Show a critically urgent / dire problem being overcome using their strength.

  • Make it emotive: show frustration and delight.





This is my strength

Being a futurist

  1. To sell: The futurist’s inspiring vision told in detail gets buy-in.

  2. To spot what’s missing in the usability of the solution.

  3. To simplify and build understanding.

  4. To be persuasive or build an argument and consensus in a crowd.


More at

Back to showing your strengths.

Show how you think

Like a travel brochure of your brain:

  • Data visualisation (using perceptual psychology)

  • How stuff works diagrams

  • Metaphors and similes

  • Mental model for problem solving (eg Build - Measure - Learn)

  • Layers of meaning


Future steps

  1. Gallup Strengths Finder 2.0

  2. DISC personality test

  3. Book: The Secret Language of Birthdays



Strategies need to be specific, to call on the right person to provide the right strengths.

Call-to-action stories are ones that make people study the picture just long enough to convince them to act, by:

  • Simplicity, to stop eyes scanning

  • Showing a threat / benefit

  • Being emotive / unusual

  • Action button


“Scan Patterns When Viewing Natural Scenes: Emotion, Complexity and Repetition.”

“Data visualisation for human perception and their future trends.”

Book: ‘Good strategy / Bad strategy” by Richard Rumelt