Master Symbols: A Visual Insight Field Guide

March 13, 2019


Strategic advisor, Consultant, Futurist, Global speaker, Entrepreneur


e are delighted to share some deep communication insights with our Future of Talent community, based on the new book Master Symbols: A Visual Insight Field Guide by FOT co-founder Eileen Clegg.

As many of you know, Eileen was one of the early pioneers of live visual communication creating murals on the fly during meetings and conferences. She has been visual facilitating our FoT retreats since they began in 2005.


Through her practice — and extensive academic research — Eileen has discovered how and why specific symbols can capture the hearts as well as minds of people.

This knowledge can provide a sharp edge in communication edge for talent leaders who have purpose. Certain symbols work to communicate resonant, complex ideas. They convey meaning to the subconscious — as long as the message has integrity.

Though you are unlikely to be creating murals, you should be able to create a quick sketch that conveys a concept, or flip chart notes that capture a group’s ideas, or a quick online doodle that will get your point across during a phone conference.

You do not need to be an artist to use symbols in simple but powerful ways. You simply place a word or two in an easily-drawn symbol that resonates with the concept.

For example:

  • Your team’s goal sits inside a sun
  • Unspoken issues appear underground
  • New ideas appear in a cloud


Eileen Clegg, illustrating at a recent Future of Talent Retreat

Eileen’s book explains how cultures globally “speak” the same language of shape. You will find that simple drawings can have complex meaning that crosses all geographies, if you understand the basic symbols.

This works for leaders who aren’t hung up on perfectionism and can show their vulnerability. It takes courage to draw live — and people appreciate that.

We hope Eileen’s ideas will support your talent initiatives!

Eileen has generously offered a $4.00 discount for FOT subscribers.

Use this code: fotsave4 when you checkout from the store on Eileen’s website. Safe and secure ordering.

You can order Eileen’s book by clicking the button below.


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Kevin Wheeler

Kevin Wheeler


Kevin Wheeler Founder and Chairman the Future of Talent Institute. Kevin started FOTI in 2004 out of his passionate belief that organizations need a more powerful and thoughtful architecture for talent than they have. After a 25 year career in corporate America serving as the Senior Vice President for Staffing and Workforce Development at the Charles Schwab Corporation, the Vice President of Human Resources for Alphatec Electronics, Inc. in Thailand, and in a variety of human resources roles at National Semiconductor Corporation, Kevin has firsthand knowledge of the need for better strategies and approaches to finding, developing and retaining people.

Today, Kevin is a globally known speaker, author, teacher and consultant in human capital acquisition and development, as well as in corporate education. He is the author of numerous articles on human resource development, career development, recruiting, and on establishing corporate universities. He is a frequent speaker at conferences. He writes a weekly Internet column on recruiting and staffing, which can be found at, and he and Eileen have written a book on corporate universities, The Corporate University Workbook: Launching the 21st Century Learning Organization. He serves as adjunct faculty at San Jose State University, the University of San Francisco and on the business faculty at San Francisco State University.

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