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Six Essential Visuals for Effective Technical Communication

Decision makers will give you about 10 minutes of attention. You do not have the time to explain complex visuals. Keep it concise with these six essential visuals.


Decision makers have never seen or have a dated image of the subject of their decisions, Include people in the photo. Use the most memorable image.

Geospatial Depictions

Decision makers will orient their perspective of decision impacts based on where and who may be affected by their decisions.


Business leaders understand tables. Graphs are simply a concise method for depicting large amounts of data. Graphs are not needed in most cases.

Time Series Graphs

Time series graphs allow the decision makers to evaluate patterns and behavior in actuator forecast data over time. “Show me the money” over time!

Tornado Diagrams

Tornado diagrams are modified versions of a bar chart. They are a classic tool used to communicate the results of a sensitivity analysis.

Guiding Graphic

Decision making under complexity and uncertainty is iterative in its nature. Include points or references to specific milestones where decision makers will be involved.

Use Just One of Each Essential Visual

Be memorable. Pick your best of each of the six. Remember, you do not have time to explain The visual must make its point quickly.


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