How to Communicate Your Ideas Better Visually & Verbally with Steven Rubio from Show it Better

In Episode 7 of Think Big, I speak to Steven Rubio, architect, visualiser and teacher creator of Show It Better. He loves architectural representation and he loves teaching architects and built design professionals the importance of architectural drawing for projects. From theory to practice, he describes himself as being obsessed with teaching and educating the things he has learned in a life of architectural representation.

In today's interview, I wanted to know a little more about his story and the importance of visual pictures being able to tell the story especially when it comes to helping my clients and students to verbally express the concepts to clients or to present projects in architecture critiques. I very much enjoyed our conversation because I could see just how much he loves teaching and sharing his passion for which I am the many people that follow his YouTube channel appreciate

I also wanted to know more about his tips for architects and students but also if English is your second language how you can learn more.

This interview kicks off the beginning of three episodes talking about presentations, including visual and verbal communication as well as presentation skills. At the end of today's episode, I give some practical examples of expressions and language to explain visuals in a presentation. Show it Better

Website / Courses -

Instagram -

YouTube - Show it Better

Pinterest -

We discuss:

✨Starting Show it Better - Why and how architects can better communicate their spatial ideas ✨There is more to who you are than just being an architect

✨Why it’s important to know how to communicate your visuals and learn from other disciplines

✨How to be more succinct and synthesise your ideas

✨Steven’s journey learning English and communicating ideas and so much more ✨Language of presenting visuals

Books & Resources

✨ Follow me on Instagram:

✨ Connect with me on LinkedIn Tara Cull

✨ Extended Show Notes and Full Transcript:

Ready to take action to speak up and share your voice?

Ready to start making a BIG impact on your English & building the architecture career you want?

You know it's time to make a change and you've got to start somewhere. In the evaluation and action plan, you will get my best tips so you stop the self-doubt and start taking action now. Take me to the action plan

Table of Contents Books and Resources


Transcript Images of Expressions


cohesive - fit and work well together and look like they belong together

complementary - combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other or another (often confused with complimentary - flattering).

synthesise - you put together the ideas and findings of multiple sources in order to make an overall point.

concise - giving a lot of information clearly and in a few words


bridging the gap - to connect two things or to make the difference between them smaller put yourself out there - to try something despite possible challenges

the gist - the main idea

the spiel - the story or the main speech

waffle on - talk too much

people lose us - people are confused

opens up your world - provided with many opportunities

there's an elephant in the room - a controversial issue that is obvious to everyone who knows about the situation but no one talks about it

to take something with a grain of salt - regard something as exaggerated; believe only part of something.

throwing yourself in the deep end - take a risk



Quick Find Snippets - Take me straight to these sections

6:30 Stephen's Story 21:00 Why it’s important to know how to communicate your visuals and learn other disciplines

25:00 There is no one way of communicating & identifying your personal style, and values 28:10 How to be more succinct and synthesise your ideas 29:40 Choosing which drawings best communicate the essence of your design

30:00 Typography, colour palettes and composition

35:00 The benefits of creating content online 39:00 Steven’s journey learning English and communicating ideas

49:00 Learning from other architects who speak English as a second language

57:00 The language of talking about your visuals


Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 00:00

You're listening to think big episode seven.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 00:11

Hello big thinkers. And welcome to another episode of Think Big English for architects. I'm your host, Tara Cull, someone very passionate about helping people in the built design profession who speak English as a second, or third or fourth language, to build outstanding communication skills, and feel more confident to speak about what they're passionate about. You can learn more about my coaching programmes and upcoming courses at So if this is your first time listening to the podcast, a big welcome to you. So the purpose of this podcast really is to share stories from architects and about architecture and its various disciplines. So architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, planning, but it's also about talking about things that will help you with your English learning as an architect, or somebody who works in the architecture profession. I would say that I'm someone who, ever since I became a teacher, I was driven to make my teaching relevant. After working as a landscape architect for many years, I felt like my work experience had helped me to see teaching in a totally different way. So when I went back to study teaching, I started to see the ways that I could bring them together. So I see my job really is bridging that gap between education and practical learning. I want you to feel like you're learning. But more importantly, I want you to feel empowered to know what you're truly capable of doing. And that's why today on today's episode, I'm excited to welcome this week's guest, Steven Rubio, architect visualiser, and teacher creator of Show it Better. He loves architectural representation. And he loves teaching architects and built design professionals the importance of architectural drawing for projects from theory to practice. He described himself as being obsessed with teaching and educating the things that he has learned in a life of architectural representation. In today's interview, I wanted to know more about his story and the importance of visual pictures, being able to tell the story, especially when it comes to helping my clients and my students about how to verbally express the concepts to clients or to present projects in architecture critiques. I really enjoyed the conversation that we had, because I admire his tenacity, and his passion for teaching and sharing his ideas with the world. So since starting ArchiEnglish, I've been following Stephen and his work. And I just wish that his architecture YouTube channel was around when I first graduated as a landscape architect, I think it would have helped me a lot. And if you know more about my methodology, you'll know that I strongly advocate for the idea of the best way to learn and to build authority around something. And to be known as the expert to grow your opportunities is to just put yourself out there and be willing to step outside your comfort zone, to grow and to teach and share with others everything you know. For me, Stephen is the perfect example of this. And it's exactly why I was so excited to get him on the podcast. I also wanted to know more about his tips for architects and students but also if English is your second language, how you can learn more. Stephen is Colombian and he speaks English on his YouTube channel Show it Better. Steven was so generous with his time and I can see how much he loves teaching and sharing his passion. I'm certain that all the followers that follow him on YouTube and Instagram and Pinterest. Absolutely appreciate all the value that he brings, and all the passion that he brings to his teaching. If you want to know more about Stephen and his YouTube channel, you'll find him at Show it Better. And I'll put all the links to social media pages and courses in the episode show notes. This interview kicks off the very beginning of three episodes talking about presentation skills, including visual today. And in the next episode, I'm going to be talking with Saneia Norton about verbal communication and presenting your projects and your stories. And then also in the last of the series. In Episode Three of the series. I'm going to talk about some of the things that I've learned about presentation skills after working with students and after working with a lot of my clients as well. And then at the end of today's episode I give some practical examples of expressions and language to explain visuals in a presentation. In my work with university students, I find that the merging of the verbal and the visual is often quite difficult to master. So I wanted to address this briefly at the end to give you some ways that you might talk through your visuals to engage your audience. And as with every episode, you'll find all the notes, the resources, and of course, the transcript in the link for the show notes at and you'll find the episode for today, there.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 05:40

Well, Stephen, thank you very much for joining me today. I'm super excited to have this conversation with you. We've been trying to meet up now for a couple of months. But we've got here. So very big welcome to you. Thank you very much for joining me.

Steven Rubio 05:55

No, thank you. Thank you so much, Tara for for the invitation. It's such an honour to be here. And yeah, it was, it was pretty, pretty tough to get to this point, you know, because of the universe in its ways. But we're here now. And I'm excited to talk to you and whatever topics we touch on, so it's cool.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 06:14

All right, well, let's get into the conversation then. So for those of the listeners who don't know who you are, and I don't know how they don't know who you are, because you have such a great YouTube channel. Could you explain more about who you are? And what you do?

Steven Rubio 06:28

Yeah, well, my name is Steven, I am an architect. I am from Colombia, from Bogota, Colombia. And I am the creator of Show it Better. Show it Better is an educational platform that dedicates teach on architecture representation to architects around the world, what it basically works on or platforms that it works on is on YouTube, Instagram, and you know, private courses, where we teach you everything from tutorials on how to add, like, recently, like how to add fog, how to create a digital parquet, how to identify, you know, main compositional techniques for your images. And we even have like more short bite size posts on Instagram, where it's more like on a personal level. And of course, they're like two or three hour courses on on teachable and on our platforms. And yeah, well, it's been existing since 2016. Show it Better, it started as a curiosity for creating a YouTube channel for creating something else and also for like, unemployment. So I was, I think I was unemployed towards that era. And I was like, you know, let's create a YouTube channel, I created like, three different versions of YouTube channels. One was for like, random topics. But eventually, like, I realised that I was passionate about presentation and also passionate about like, I was also good at it. And I was also passionate about teaching, which is something that I was always wanted to do. And that I want to do like, eventually, like, until I die or something. So yeah, so it kept on going. While I was working on side jobs as an architect, I graduated in 2015. And that just kept on surviving. Like very minimally sometimes with you know, two videos a year to three videos a year. But eventually, like, I think was last year or this year, I think it was last year, I decided to just go full in for now with with Show it Better. So I try to dedicate much more time to the platform, to the community. And well, here we are, I'm happy in the moment, like the thing that I tried to centre myself the most thing right now like towards showing it better is communicating ideas as an architect, which I think is super important, like how to how not to can communicate ideas. And since it's a prime, like its first form of communication, is the drawing, then we need to, like emphasise on how to make that drawing better. You know, that drawing can be anything like it can be like, diagrams, collages, plans, whatever. But still, it's about communicating your spatial idea much better.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 09:11

So you have a YouTube channel and an Instagram page and also your courses. Would you say that you are an architect, content creator, or an architect first and then a content creator? or a teacher? or How would you define it?

Steven Rubio 09:24

Oh, I don't know. It's such a difficult question. It's like the, the way of identifying myself like right now and like maybe in this moment in my life is so hard because I want to be so much so many things. I don't like what I do have to right now is that I don't want to be just an architect. Because I don't think I don't know. I don't think that that categorization of people should be made like anyone. Like I studied architecture. You have an architecture degree. Yep. But I still love many, many things. I love graphic design. I don't know movies. I love videos. I love a lot of things. So I, of course, I am an architect, but I'm also a digital creator, but I don't want to be only that. So I think it's great. Now in this moment in my life, maybe I don't want to find myself in a specific category.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 10:14

Yeah, I think it's really important that you mentioned that because as you say, you don't have to define yourself as one or the other. And what I find is that architects generally are people that have a lot of interests, and they want to pursue their different passions. So speaking of pursuing different passions and interests, can you share with us one interesting or fun fact about you that's outside of architecture?

Steven Rubio 10:38

One fact, there's so many displaying now think, um, well, some people may know that at first, when I wanted to, when I was a graduating high school, I wanted to study graphic design, like I was in between, like any, any of the creative arts, so I wasn't going to be like, I was never going to be like an engineer or anything or an accountant. But I did want to study either graphic design architecture or music, I was more inclined towards music, as I don't know, like my whole life until that point, at spent being like in orchestras and music groups. I don't know I I played the bass, I played the like the congas, the guitar, like everything, because I don't know, I like to have like a very musical context that I was immersed in a very Latin music context. I was, like, maybe I was like, I don't know, like, 11or 12 years old. And I was in at a, at a party of because we needed to play or we do like a gig or something. So it was always in that context, which which I loved. But I don't know. Yeah, you know, parents and everything. And like, the whole society kind of says that music maybe isn't that as valued economically as other professions. And if you if I was, you know, I was I was comparing that era. No other graphic design music or architecture. Architecture, at first was the one that was the most stable, like, perfect for me and for everyone. But you know, eventually, you realise that it has nothing to do with that. And it just depends much more on you. But it's still kind of still kind of, I still, I still see kind of like, in a static way, like I should eventually maybe right now, or maybe when I'm 50 or something, study music because I need something that I need to do. Because Yeah,

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 12:40

yeah, I love it. So you have a lot of varied interests, which is good. Do you play the bass now still,

Steven Rubio 12:46

I'm more of a guitar guitar person, I played the bass because when I was, when I was in the orchestra, there was no one else to play the bass and there wasn't like a spot or a guitar because it was a very, like Latin orchestra kind of thing. But so the bass was like the only chord instrument that I that I could play. And with all the minor percussions I had already, like advanced through that. But right now I played much more guitar like it's more like more like a hobby, you have like a to like, I haven't looked in, like three guitars at home. But, but it's still as Yeah, I play this guitar, but not much bass.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 13:26

I know you've touched on your journey already about studying architecture, and then to where you are now. But could you talk us through a little more how you went from finishing architecture, and then to starting your YouTube channel and what really drove you

Steven Rubio 13:40

When I was studying architecture I had always worked. So I like from second year or something I, I wanted to work. And I had to pay off University. So I had to work. And I started working. It was so curious. I started working as an English teacher here in Colombia.

So that's so good.

Not obviously on your level, but just like an English teacher, for other people. But that was the like, the only job that I could have at that moment. Because like, No, I was a very, like very, I had no architectural knowledge to go into an actual practice. And I had always, you know, seen being an English teacher like here in Colombia as kind of like a fast way out if I didn't have any other options, but I loved being a teacher, but I didn't love being an English teacher because I had no idea of English. So, but I was I was here for about, like, one year while I was studying architecture. Then I started working in many different offices. I don't know why but like eventually I realised that that the position that I was filling in in these offices was was towards more like the graphical like communication of the projects. It may be out like many different circumstances. I was in offices that We're doing a lot of competition. So I found myself doing a lot of renders learning many different programmes, doing many, many sort of tasks, but never like the, the technical kind of tasks like I didn't have to do a budget or didn't have to create a detail of the bathroom or anything like that, like, unfortunately, because that would have been like a very good learning experience. But it wasn't my like, I didn't have the chance, I was just linked in the very graphical kind of context. And eventually, I developed a lot of skills while I was in University. And then eventually, I started like a mini business, or, like inside of university, by doing like a lot of renders for my, my partner's for other people that were graduating, I just came up in, like, Hey, can you help me? I don't know, do the whole presentation boards, can you help me great renders or whatever. So I started seeing it more as a business. And eventually I graduated, I started working in other architecture offices with more or less the same role and maybe different scales, like urbanistic offices or casual offices, like public public offices, but still it was kind of like that role of graphic representation. And, you know, the more I work in it, the more I, like, understood, like, in a very intentional way, maybe, like, what my, like what I was doing here, like, Why was I so interested Also in, like, in the graphic part of architecture, because I don't like the whole visual part, just always distracting me a lot. And I think if you, if if like, if you communicate very good visually, then like, the idea, like the whole con, the actual content is much easier to understand than if you don't like, for example, when I was in university, I, there were a tonne of people that maybe we're great architects had great architectural ideas, but they didn't communicate them well. So nobody understood them. And eventually, you know, this is like translating, and when you translate into real life still happens like nobody knows, like, maybe, you know, this perspective would work best of any other perspective, or presenting a project like this or that excetera. So I started working in many different offices, I realised that I was very prone to visualisation to graphic skills. I'm not not not in the stores, not in the sense of like, like an archivist sort of way, like a render artist sort of way, because that it's a very technically demanding, demanding field, I was just more like a general graphical presentation sort of way. And when I was when I was about 2016, when 2017, I started doing my masters in architecture. And that masters notes picture was focused on investigation, and I saw like, like, specific courses on drawing, and like the drawing versus the actual architecture. So we started, we had to study like the whole all the, like, the treaties, treatises, and I'm not I'm not sure how it's been said. But like, all the texts that you have, since I don't know, since vitruvius, since Alberti. And we had to study all of them in comparison to the drawings that were made in that era. And all that investigation, I also, I was fascinated by all that. And eventually, parallel to that, while I was studying my Masters architecture, I decided to start a YouTube YouTube channel, because