Dan Roam is giving us the power of sight. How about that for a gift? Roam, who is the author of the best-selling book Back of the Napkin and the newly released Unfolding the Napkin, is an expert in discovering, developing and selling ideas through pictures. As he puts it, visual communication "can help us crystallize ideas, think outside the box, and communicate in a way that other people simply 'get.'"  

Speaking at the recent South by Southwest (SXSW) conference here in Austin, he argued that visual problem solving can accelerate comprehension and engage audiences in ways that words cannot. To this day, we are taught that the best leaders, thinkers and communicators are the best talkers. But is that really the case?

I sat down and spoke with Dan at the event. How, I wanted to know, might his ideas help those of us engaged in articulating and communicating complex business trends, problems and solutions. Here's what he had to say: