Simplicity is the key when talking with your architect. As a residential architect I work with clients to distill the essence of what they would like to achieve with their home. I describe it as Crafting a Story (rather then discussing styles and architectural terms); the story helps provide a framework for decision making in the design process.
Sometimes creates an aha moment for a client, but sometimes not. So we also ask clients to show us pictures. Lots of pictures. In fact, when a client shows me many pictures and we discuss them upfront, their project is always better for it.
There is a caveat to this, and it's mostly academic, but here goes: your house won't look like any of the pictures, not exactly. The pictures are a language and a way for you to communicate with us. Sometimes we architects get wrapped up in the thoughts and ideas of architecture, and those images you provide are the clarity. Your pictures create an aha moment for me as your architect.
Here's how to use them:
1. Setup a Pinterest or Houzz account or just a plain old notebook with magazine clippings and photos from books. We also have clients select images from our office library. Two of the best 'ideabooks' we have seen were equally extensive and useful, but one was online and one was printed. Each was from a client that had put thought and extensive time into their project, before we ever sat down together.
2. Focus on Categories. Show us exteriors, interiors, rooms and details you love, those you dislike and those you have questions about.
3. Comment on the pictures you have chosen. Tell the architect what you love, what you dislike, what you have questions about. It's quite alright to pick an image for one small detail or for the whole thing, just lets us know why.
Usually, by the time we have finished the meeting to review your 'ideabook' we have a great sense of where your tastes are and what you as client are hoping to achieve. From there, we do what architects do, which is get creative and start drawing those ideas.