Coming out of the Graphic Facilitation Closet

Well, I guess it is time to walk my talk and declare I CAN DRAW. After doing it on the side, teaching it to others, I realized it was time to declare this part of my practice on my website.

Today I put up a page on the workshops I’ve been doing, as well as outing my own graphic practices page. I hope to more formally structure the visual online offerings I’ve been playing with as well.  I say this also as I prepare to send in my registration to this years International Association of Visual Practitioners gathering in Montreal.

Here are the workshop offerings. They make nice additions to existing meetings, especially if you need to break up all the talk talk talk! What do you think?

Graphic Facilitation Workshops

Beyond doing graphic recording myself, I offer two kinds of workshops on the practice of graphic recording and facilitation. One focuses on the use of visuals associated with specific facilitation techniques and group processes, and the other is a simple, hands on introduction to graphic recording, also known as “I CAN DRAW.” I can also customize a workshop for your needs either alone or with one of my collaborators. (Image courtesy of Pen Machine)

Using Visuals With Group Processes & Facilitation Methods
This workshop originated at NexusU/Nexus for Change at Bowling Green State University in 2008. It offers an overview of how visuals can enhance group facilitation processes and methods such as World Cafe, Open Space, Appreciative Inquiry, and other methods, including interactive drawing methods that can be used to break the ice or open up thinking about an issue in a non-verbal manner. This workshop is part lecture, part conversation and a short hands on experience.

Description: Are you the kind of person who loves working with groups, who is interested in finding new ways to apply your listening and recording skills, and who learns best from doing and reflecting? Are you intrigued about the role of visuals in our group interactions and learning, especially in the context of whole systems change methods such as The World Cafe, Appreciative Inquiry and Open Space? This workshop is designed for a group of people to play and learn together to develop your their practice in graphic recording and facilitation in the context of group processes. (You can see some examples here ). Graphic recording at its most basic is capturing what is happening in a group or presentation. (To learn more, see )

We’ll take a glimpse into the world of graphic recording, provide time to experiment and play with a range of tools and techniques, and explore how they can support a variety of whole systems change methods.

If you are looking for more of the “how to” part, pair it with the “I CAN DRAW” workshop.

Length: 2 hours minimum up to full day paired with “I CAN DRAW”

I CAN DRAW – Hands On Writing on Walls

This playful experiential workshop takes place almost entirely at the drawing surface, ideally in a room where we can hang large paper all around the room or use constructed 4×8 foot drawing boards. This workshop can start with very introductory level work for those who are reluctant to draw, and can be customized up to a full day graphic recording/facilitation workshop which includes not only the recording, but preparation and follow up with digital images. For those who want more in depth techniques, I usually bring in another artist to show the advanced work. Then people can see a range of styles and expertise. I’m still on the “newbee” side of the practice. This can help make the reluctant more comfortable. We can look silly together safely.

Description: Want to draw your notes instead of write them? Visually capture what is happening at a meeting or in a classroom? Engage people beyond words and text? Then come learn to write on walls, the practice of graphic recording and facilitation. Learn some basic techniques and tricks that enable any of us to draw as a way of capturing and communicating ideas with each other. This is a playful, hands-on experiential workshop. You do NOT need previous experience or have to consider yourself an artists. We can ALL draw. Come prepared to get your hands dirty. Bring a digital camera to record the fruits of your labor.

Length: 1 hour minimum, ideally 2-3 hours. Can be paired with “Using Visuals With Group Processes & Facilitation Methods”

For a sense of a very short “I CAN DRAW” session, here is 6 minutes from a lightening fast 45 “taste of” workshop at Northern Voice in 2009.

Nancy White, on Graphic Recording 101 from jmv on Vimeo.

Testimonials and Blogposts About My Work

Learning to Draw Perfect Circles and Starfish People: Capturing Collaborative Energy

Meg Whetung, Communications Designer

(Used with permission)

Nancy White’s session on graphic recording (or visual note taking) had an approachable mood and her exercises engaged participants in exploration. Standing up with markers and pastels in hand, there was laughter and the letting go of any preconceptions we carried about drawing. As a graphic designer, I draw every day, yet I left this session with many new ideas.

Observing Nancy’s approach, friendly tone, funny anecdotes, and her detailed yet simple explanations and the effect she had on the group taught me how to encourage people to relax and participate in an activity they may not ordinarily be comfortable with.

Collaboration has definitely been a buzzword in our office over the past few months, and as a designer I’m interested in opportunities to collaborate with non-designers (clients, editors, web programmers). Nancy’s session made me think about getting everyone together at the start of a project, equipping them all with pens and paper and generating initial ideas together visually – potentially a fun and effective way start to a project.

Check out Nancy’s Online Facilitation Wiki for tools and discussion of these visual methods. While explaining the benefits of taking a visual approach, she notes that visuals are “open and inviting to meaning-making (while text can be experienced as more declarative).”

I think this makes a great case for using graphic recording techniques during brainstorming meetings, where the goal is to explore possible meanings and outcomes together.