You as a Venn Diagram

In the last couple of years, every workshop and talk I have delivered started with a Venn diagram. And when I say “started,” I literally mean started. I present a diagram similar to the one above before even introducing the topic. I use it to introduce myself. 

Introduction is an essential part of any interaction. When working with a group of people I am meeting for the first time, the need for an introduction is obvious. There are many cases, especially in large organizations, where an introduction is required, even if everyone is working in the same company and even on the same project. 

The traditional introduction has two problems; the first is that it is, well, traditional. In other words, it is predictable and boring. Talking about myself (or, even worse, presenting some bullets on screen about myself) is not likely to draw much attention and is even less likely to be memorable. Instead of opening with something that will grab the audience’s attention, you start with a bit that sounds technical and far from exciting, regardless of its content. 

The second problem with the traditional introduction is that it doesn’t make the audience think. It is purely informative, and the audience is primarily passive; they are in a reception-only mode. 

So, a while back, I decided to try something different. My initial idea was simple: I wanted to introduce myself visually. I thought of different ways, but many seemed to be forced and unnatural or required too much effort. Then, the idea of the Venn diagram came up. 

Each of us has different roles, interests, and generally different parts of our lives. Listing them is not interesting. Representing them visually is more engaging. But a Venn diagram does something else: It illustrates the connection between these different parts, creating interest and a sense of evolution; it invokes curiosity. 

This visual introduction is an excellent example of adding value to what is being said. The graphics don’t just repeat my words — they add a new information layer. Instead of being the technical, boring part of the session, the introduction becomes a hook that invokes thinking. 

So, next time you meet people you don’t know, try introducing yourself using a Venn diagram or any other way that adds value to a plain description of who you are and what led you to this specific point.

share this page and help us inspire more people to communicate better

Scroll to Top