Tag: leadership

graphic facilitation graphic recording facilitation tips

How to Have Better Meetings in 2019

When it started getting dark at 3pm, we knew it was time to reach out to our graphic facilitation community and compile our annual wrap-up post.

This time last year, we asked what the field of visual practice needed to do next – but was avoiding. This year, we wanted to know what advice our colleagues wished one other person needed to hear when planning a meeting in 2019. Here’s wisdom from a group of people who’ve attended over 1000 meetings.

Connecting Emotionally

Getting people moving and connecting throughout the meeting, not just the icebreakers. I wish people would ask: how can we keep people connecting on an emotional level. Let’s stop being afraid of passion and emotion and use it to support each other. We get stuck in thinking about the actionable items and things we can solve with best practices and vision statements, and really, I’ve seen all of that hard work become effortless when folks feel heard, safe, supported and are chatting like old pals. Keep the energy flowing and moving. Use humour and movement. – Annalee Kornelsen

Intentionally Create Culture Together

In 2019, I wish more meetings would centre connection and the culture we co-create. Ask participants what personal experiences and narratives are they contributing to the whole? What values bring them together? Step into the circle gets people standing, moving, figuring out where each other are coming from. Being able to share deeply about oneself and learn about others is an opportunity to build trust. I’ve also use photo cards to ask each contributor “when have you felt most alive/excited/passionate doing your work?” Overall, what tools will help people bring their full selves into the room? And then, how can you intentionally create a culture together? – Tiaré Jung

Indigenous Pedagogy and Intergenerational Inclusion

This year I was honoured to attend meetings led by Indigenous peoples, or where the focus was on Indigenous communities. As a Wet’suwet’en woman, it was uplifting to bring my own teachings into meetings. It is most beneficial to begin meetings with a territory acknowledgement and grounding exercise to ensure that all participants are present. Next, circle or meeting “agreements” to follow throughout the meeting can assist in completing the work in a good way. The successful meetings that I witnessed, allowed enough space and time for human connection, reflection, and capacity-building. My Elders have taught me that there must always be time for visiting and sharing food, and I so encourage this in each instance where we gather together. The greatest instances of self-reflection that I witnessed occur when space is given to youth and Elders to share their perspectives, especially within policy processes and strategic planning sessions. I wish that more space will be given to inter-generational sharing and planning in 2019! – Michelle Buchholz

Use Movement for Reflection

In 2019, I wish more meetings would include somatic exercises that get people moving in space to support reflection and discussion. I’ve been using a lot more blue tape on the ground this year to create shapes and structures that people can physically step into. For example, a tape “wheel” where people choose a perspective to stand in, a line that people step over when they’re ready to commit to action, or a mountain peak that people cross to explore a new land. It’s powerful! – Nevada Lane

Decolonize Your Facilitation

I wish for all non-Indigenous facilitators to take a bigger and more courageous step towards anti-racism, reparations, and reconciliation with Indigenous communities. It could be an infinite list – because how we work together is the work. Here’s an easy step: let’s eliminate these harmful phrases that pop up in boardrooms that are actually about colonization. We can start or deepen relationships, so we can be in meaningful partnerships. We can hire Indigenous facilitators or co-facilitators, or get them hired. We can move aside when it’s time to centre others, and we can move up to address racism. Here’s to reading more history books and trainings by Indigenous leaders. Let’s amplify Indigenous women and non-binary folks. Meetings can shift from hierarchical models to Indigenous methods that centre culture, such as circles and intergenerational learning. And we can get outside. We can do the work together, and support each other to keep going! – Sam Bradd

The Year of the Body

In 2019, I wish more meetings would get physical. Meetings are heady things: we talk, we think, we ideate, we brainstorm, we talk some more. Almost all the activity takes place from the neck up. We might as well be heads on sticks. I would dearly love for meetings to start making space for the rest of our being, through embodied activities like singing, theatre games, improv, dancing, walking in nature – anything that lets us use our whole bodies! It’s scary, because physicality opens up feelings, and feelings can be messy. But it can also be cathartic and transformative. I’ve seen roomfuls of people become joyously unified through choral singing. Witnessed life-changing insights arise from theatre games. Watched ideas flow abundantly after a reflective walk in the woods. Let’s make 2019 the Year of the Body and invite people’s whole person into our meetings! – Avril Orloff

Go Multi-Sensory

In my Meeting Fantasia, it’s the rule rather than the exception that meetings are participatory, multi-sensory, and experiential. I know that sounds jargon-y, so here’s what I mean: Humans are whole beings with diverse learning aptitudes. Some of us need to doodle to think, some need to build, some need to move the body, most of us need to do it all. Multi-modal learning shouldn’t be an oddity – it’s just common sense. Because of our work, I DO see meetings rising to that occasion, but I’d love to see a world in which there’s an improvisational maker/hacker/D.I.Y./D.I.T. mentality in most group settings, as well as a deep awareness of, and appreciation for, a variety of learning styles. Unlocking our unique potential matters; so, when I see multi-modal techniques that accelerate learning, I’m all in.

Random, itchy, side note/industry request: Please differentiate the terms “graphic facilitation” and “graphic recording” in your own mind and when talking to clients. These practices are so fundamentally different as to almost be light years apart. – Sunni Brown

 

More Love

In 2019, I wish more meetings would be less about power and more about love. When vulnerability is welcomed and celebrated, I find participants show up in a more fulsome way – shortcomings, anxieties, and all – creating an environment of respect and trust, where fear and anxiety are reduced. Further, I believe that meetings where risk and debate are recognized and welcomed, result in meaningful conversations where a group can get to what’s happening under the surface, and transformative ideas are allowed to emerge. Both of these conditions take courage from meeting organizers and hosts, but it’s worth it. – Mark Busse

Less Fixing

In 2019, I wish more meetings would include time to brainstorm and reflect without (yet) “fixing” anything. As dialogic leaders we need to resist the perception that jumping in is an efficient use of time and energy, so that we can stop “fixing” things by providing inappropriate solutions that mire us all down further and become just one more layer on what didn’t work already. We need to get bravely clear about things like what brainstorming really is and why silence isn’t failure, and that if the right people (those who are being served) aren’t in the room, we should just start over when they can be. – Aaron Johannes, PhD

Meditation and Visioning

I wish more meetings would give people a chance to do their own visioning. I led a group through a meditative journey looking at the landscape of their own work/business, then they drew what they saw. Imaginative and metaphorical images that deeply resonated with them showed up as maps and touchstones forward. I gave a brief lesson beforehand using Bikablo’s stick people so they felt comfortable drawing people. – Julie Stuart

Digital Graphic Recording

In 2019, I hope more meetings try digital graphic recording. I was fortunate this year to graphic record at conferences where digital graphic recording was projected on big screens (sometimes super-wide screens!), and shared on participants’ phones/laptops almost in real time. This is essential for facilitating better breakout group discussions, as people could reference the graphic recordings immediately. Participants could also post comments/questions on the digital graphics. – Tanya Gadsby

 

Slow Down

In 2019, I also hope meetings slow down and try not to run at light speed. People need time to connect, reflect, and have deeper conversations. Some of the most profound conversations I’ve captured in meetings have happened when there was no pressure on the clock – Tanya Gadsby

Begin by Jumping Straight to the Answer

Groups can spend an entire day in conversation landing on the “answers” only at the end of the meeting. Instead, begin the conversation when people are fresh and ask participants to jump straight to the answer. Once these are elicited (we suggest capturing it visually), the conversation that follows will be from an advanced, richer place.

Instructions:

  • In an opening roundtable, go once around the room.
  • Participants have 30 seconds to introduce themselves briefly.
  • Ask, “We’ll spend the next several hours on shared actions that will transform you to do XYZ. For now, let’s jump right to the answer: if there’s one change we could make to transform XYZ, what’s that one change?”
  • Keep it moving rapidly and hold people to one answer.
  • Capture the roundtable visually and reflect back on it at the end of the meeting.
  • Ask, what did they discover? Did one or two answers wind up being major foci in the meeting and why?

This tool helps teams get clear on the big things they want to do, and lined up for actions that get results. – Lisa Edwards and Lisa Arora

Four Ways to be Different

In 2019, I wish more meetings would try… to include outside perspectives in their work. Bring in artists, engineers, community workers, a musician, etc. See how different perspectives can open up your creativity and perspectives in problem solving.

In 2019, I wish more meetings would be… open to creativity. Too often we see meetings fall into the same patterns. I’d like to see more meetings step out of their comfort zone.

In 2019, I wish more meetings would become… a place for dynamic conversations. A safe place to talk and allow time for synthesis conversations to happen.

And in 2019, I wish more meetings would include… storytelling and visualization. Fewer slideshows and ‘sit and get’ information sessions and more sharing and participant engagement. – Liisa Sorsa

Braver Conversations

In 2019, I hope more meetings will create space for braver conversations and deeper reflection. That’s where I’ve seen meaningful change.

Consider:

  • Go deep with community agreements. Don’t just name a few and ask for agreement. Ask participants to discuss, take ownership of and uphold agreements that will help create a brave space. As the meeting progresses, check in periodically on how they are working. If something feels misaligned with the agreements, pause and reflect.

When partnering with a visual facilitator, let her explain the visuals and reflect back what she witnessed prior to a gallery walk. And give participants a clear intention to hold while looking at the visuals, using prompts like: what does this evoke in you? What else isn’t reflected her? Share in small and large groups. – Claudia Lopez

Encourage More Stories

In 2019, I wish more meetings would encourage people to tell stories – in any form. We often forget that communication is not just about relaying messages, it’s also about creating connections. Stories are a powerful way to share a vision, re-launch a brand, shift an organization’s culture, manage complex change, and more. At your next meeting, ditch the PowerPoint and bulleted lists. Don’t ask for a report out or a presentation, ask your groups to tell a story.

Here are 4 simple questions to get you started: What is happening? Who does it involve? Why does it matter to your audience? What’s the challenge? How can they help? – Sophia Liang

 

Include Time for Listening

I wish that more meetings would include time for open, unstructured listening. So many meetings are scheduled down to the minute with the fear that “we don’t want to waste time.” Listening is never a waste of time. We do need to commit to it – and create the space for it. Find time in your agenda to let it emerge. You might be surprised what comes up. – Anthony Weeks

 

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Compiled by Sam Bradd at Drawing Change. Stay in touch about 2019 visual facilitation workshops in Vancouver BC, facilitation, and ways to make your meetings matter. @sambradd

How to Lead a Graphic Recording Team for Big Events

It was a great phone call to receive: would Drawing Change like to coordinate a team of 8 graphic recorders, to capture 54 sessions over 2 days with 2,500 business leaders from more than 100 countries. Absolutely! If you ever get a call like this, – or are hiring a large graphic recording team – here’s what you need to know.

To pull this off, the team consisted of 8 graphic recorders, 1 photographer, 2 graphic designers, and 1 project manager.

Most graphic recorders work alone, so when we get to work as part of teams it’s truly inspiring. Our drawings and lettering influence each other, we push each other to excel, and we also share in collective success. It’s an arena like no other.

We learned a great deal from this event. We learned what it takes to run a successful large-scale graphic recording team. We learned how to cultivate high performing team relationships. And most importantly, we got the team to give us their take on what made it successful. Here’s what you need to know.

Pre-event organization and planning are key

You might think you can graphic record while coordinating a team, but having a project manager was crucial to this event’s success. The project manager effortlessly ensured the pre-planning, on-site organization, and the team support was in place – something that was crucial to a smooth and successful event.

“Having [someone to] manage all the advance communication is helpful. It gives a chance for everyone to get to know the coordinator prior to the event and give the right amount of info at the right time in the friendliest way.” – Lisa Arora

The project manager “quickly became an indispensable part of the team, event before we arrived onsite. Having her manage the many moving parts allowed Sam to work more closely with the client and with the logistics crew.” – Anthony Weeks

Avril Orloff says, “all the background maneuverings … make a big event like this successful!”

L TO R: NATASHA PATTERSON (project manager extraordinaire), CORRINA KEELING, STINA BROWN, LISA ARORA, TANYA GADSBY, AVRIL ORLOFF, SAM BRADD, JIM LOWE (design), YOLANDA LIMAN, ANTHONY WEEKS AND DEANNA SMITH (design). PHOTO BY SARAH RACE PHOTOGRAPHY

Hot Tips!

Phone people. Give your team information weeks ahead of time. By creating an opportunity to create dialogue and answer any questions that come up, it will help define the purpose and scope of the project. Photographers, graphic designers and even graphic recorders may not have done a project like this before.

Book a green room for the team. We needed room to finalize and colour posters, shoot the photos, and for the graphic designers to share a desk. Make sure the client puts the green room close to the stage – and not in the hotel across the street.

Space and easels: Some logistics we learned on the fly include factoring how long it will take to cross a big convention centre. Also, make sure each breakout session has its own easels set up the morning of the event, instead of carrying easels back and forth. We learned this one the hard way.

Shipping is more complicated to a convention centre than hotels or other venues. Convention centre delivery is expensive – you’ll be charged labour fees to move boxes, and it will be handled by a third party with their own cut-off delivery deadlines. Get on top of this early. Make friends with the account manager by phone and be clear about how the final posters/boards are going to be shipped home. Figuring this stuff out before the event will make everything so much smoother! We promise!

Be clear on what time teams should arrive. With a high pressure agenda, we all arrived 2 hours early the first day, and Sam and the project manager stayed at the hotel so there would be no travel issues.

 

Create space for team development

“Treating the team to dinner the night before was such an unexpected treat and a classy move. Also a great chance to deal with questions so you weren’t overloaded with them the next morning.” –Lisa Arora

Organize a team dinner the night before to introduce the members of the team and create space to answer questions. It will support team cohesion, communication, and will resolve any conflicts before the day of the event. There will always be way more questions – the more people, the more questions!

Approach the day like a team, not solo artists. It’s a balance of letting talented graphic recorders work their magic, and also giving some constraints on creativity. This project needed final files back by 8pm the day of the session. The team approach meant people prepped titles for each other, helped with colouring and “polishing” the charts – instead of it being a race to who would finish first.

   For out of town graphic recorders, make sure their needs are met.  

Include the non-graphic recorders in your team building! This way when the graphic recorder asks the photographer to boost the contrasts, it will be a friendly request.

Make time for 1:1 conversations with each team member during the day.

Happy teams are well fed and caffeinated. Have a plan for where staff eat lunches, snacks, and coffee. Don’t assume staff or vendors can help themselves to the attendees’ buffet – no matter how convenient it is outside the door.

By ensuring each person on the team is well connected, well fed, and generally well taken care of, you’ll have the right conditions for success.

 

Consider having a “backup listener”

When there is so much happening, it’s easy to lose track of the information coming from the stage. With so many graphic recorders on hand, we could have added a backup listener to each session. In hindsight, having a backup listener would have been extra helpful for such large event. This is especially useful when any posters have incomplete content.

With something of this scale, it is normal to not know what we don’t know. We learned having an extra set of ears to take notes and add content in the polishing stage can be extra helpful. (Thanks to Lisa Arora for the tip!)

 

Add delight

There was no possible gift we could have bought this client to say thank you – so instead, we made something priceless: a summary poster for Day 1 and a summary poster for Day 2.

When the graphic recording team had a few seconds during the day, we added quick highlights from the 54  keynote presentations into a summary poster. We presented the first poster at the end of day 1, and the client spontaneously burst into happy tears. It really inspired us to up our skills for the Day 2 poster, too. Her gratitude was a huge gift back to us.

Be someone your client wants to work with by bringing delight.

 

Leadership qualities on the day of the event

Leadership involves many qualities, and every leader will be nuanced in their style. That said, here’s a few things that helped.

Don’t be a micro-manager. Don’t tell professionals what to draw, but do tell them what you need. ”This took off a lot of tension from us (at least me) because we were all a bit nervous. It basically said “I trust you, I know you’ll do your best, I’m not going to try and control that.” You rolled with it and that made us roll with it too, and I loved how everyone pitched in.”  –Yolanda Liman

Be calm. I’m not sure I was calm, but I fake it. “I was impressed most by your calmness under pressure and trusting all of us to be where we’re meant to be on time. By no means an “easy” task with an ever-changing schedule in the mix!” –Tanya Gadsby

Be professional and authentic when people need to step up to a challenge. “I loved it when you said “I need all of you to move about 50% faster starting now”. You called us to bring our best game and I feel like we all did, in our own ways. We all behave differently under pressure.”  – Stina Brown  

“The required quick turnaround of the charts for digitization made us more disciplined about chart clean-up and finishing. While some of us lingered over our charts longer than others, we had just enough time to apply the finishing touches before handing them off. This made for a more streamlined work flow.” – Anthony Weeks

Be clear on what you need, and ask directly. Lisa Arora said, “ In the morning, you announced what you were most focused on, “I care about timing and…” I think that really helped the team understand what to pay attention to. It was comforting to people to know exactly what you wanted. And from there on, there was no micromanaging.” This helped the whole team move in a unified direction.

Let things go. Define the problem, be open to solutions, then make a decision and let it go.

At some point, you have to go with the flow. This works when things are well organized first, generally. But as much as structured planning and organization are necessary, so too is the ability to let go and allow the event naturally unfold.

 

Be mindful of your presence on stage

We alternated sides of the stage, so the 2500-person audience could see the work happening. This added a layer of complexity navigating backstage. We also had one person waiting in the wings ready to go at all times.

“Have the team be aware of their visibility to the audience when waiting in the wings. It runs the risk of being distracting and is less of a “seamless” transition from back-stage to on-stage presence if we’re visible with big white boards and non-black clothing. Of course I know it was necessary to take a peek every now and then in order to hear the speakers and know where things were at!” – Tanya Gadsby

Last Hot Tip!

This was the first event where we were tipped! And what a classy move. Since most clients do not tip, so consider building this cost into your project proposal and contract so you can then pay it forward to the team. It’s a great idea that goes a long way.

 

What we’ve learned

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how we pulled off capturing 54 sessions in 2 days. It was a sincere privilege to be a part of such a large event and to share the work of graphic recording with such a large audience.

When an event is to this scale, you can never know and plan for everything. With the dream team of 8 graphic recorders, photographer and graphic designers, we were able to deliver an outstanding product for the client.

  • We are deeply thankful to the team and appreciate the generosity of graphic recorders who shared their feedback.

We do this work because we love it. While logistics, planning, and on-site professionalism are important, equally so is reminding ourselves of why we do this in the first place. So be present, have fun, and enjoy!

 


 

Interested in learning how to graphic record and facilitate? Check out our Graphic Recording and Facilitation Workshop, October 28 – 29 in Vancouver, Canada!

Are you already an experienced visual practitioner? Check out upcoming workshops in Portland, Oregon: Towards Mastery: Advanced Graphic Facilitation Workshop, February 11 – 14, 2018
Visual Practice Workshop, February 15 – 17, 2018.

Structure, Hearts and Minds, Behaviour are all needed for social change. Via Social Transformation Project

Art of Leadership with Robert Gass: sketchnotes

Six days with Robert Gass’ Art of Leadership course feels like 30. Happy to share these personal sketchnotes with you. Sometimes imperfect is best.

I ate a lot of yeast dressing. Spilled my guts to strangers. Laughed so hard at the no-talent show. Found out why Facebook pushes my buttons and how to really have a courageous conversation. Decided to start turning off my phone at 8pm. Reconnected to my deep joy when I’m facilitating and working with groups, and it feels like I was away for a month. Thank you to everyone who made this all happen at Hollyhock on Cortes Island (Klahoose Territories), British Columbia. Here’s a few photos, then the Slideshare is last.

I only took a few notes, but they help me remember what we did:
Reconnect to purpose.
Tell your vision to a room full of strangers in 2 compelling minutes.
Give affirming feedback that is also constructive.
Go deeper into what triggers you at work and in relationships, and tips on how to shift your state back.
Find your personal ecology and balance again.

Absolutely transformational. And with that, I’m off to eat outside instead of eating at my desk!you have been given power to serve the mission, don't waste it feeding your triggers

 

 

connect and reconnect to purpose with robert gass leadership sketchnotes
POP: purpose, outcomes, process sketchnote

 

Interview: Drawing Clarity at Tech Leadership Conference

Communitech’s signature event is the Tech Leadership Conference, and it delivered on its promise to be inspirational and thought-provoking. Afterwards, Communitech interviewed fellow graphic recorder Liisa Sorsa and I about our backgrounds and how we use visuals to help companies succeed:

“The two have a passion for art and for human relations. Their careers sprung from the realization that graphic recording is as much about understanding people as it is about sketching.”

eamwork! Liisa Sorsa, Erica Bota, Disa Kauk and I created these during the TLC. We made a gallery in a large hallway, then displayed the graphics in the reception area (here)
Teamwork! Graphic recording tech leadership with Liisa Sorsa, Disa Kauk and Erica Bota. These were displayed in a gallery/ hallway during the event, then moved to the reception (here).

I took away that inspiration and leadership can come from anywhere: a quiet walk, prototyping something messy, and it definitely can can follow an unusual path.

My path into graphic recording certainly wasn’t a straight line, and you can read the interview here:

http://news.communitech.ca/news/tlc-2015-drawing-clarity-in-a-digitized-world/

Thanks Communitech for a fantastic event.

DASH BC Leadership Symposium

BC DASH believes health and learning are connected for students. This graphic recording is a visual summary from the 7th annual leadership forum on healthy schools.

Visual summary of 7th annual DASH BC Forum about Healthy Schools, sam bradd, artist, vancouver, image, what is graphic recording, what is graphic facilitation, illustration, DASH BC, healthy schools, school health, planning forum, teachers, healthy living, comprehensive school health, community consultation, union, illustrator, best practice, vector, best practice, visualization, visual learners, infographic, mind map, visual practitioner, creativity, sketch noters, visual notetaking, facilitator, visual thinking, information architects, visual synthesis, live drawing, world cafe, conference, information design, educator, non-profit, progressive, environment, sustainability, community, health, youth, empowerment, justice, leadership

The plenary speaker Dr. Penny Ballem spoke about the need to build strong and flexible relationships to move a public health agenda forward. A dialogue about healthy schools requires a cross-sector approach and she outlined some of her philosophies of success. Presentations from Healthy School Network projects, the After School Sports Initiative and GO Day (Girls Only Day) inspired the forum participants and we then heard directly from the Youth Council.

All of the presentations at the forum were engaging. Here are just two examples of things that resonated with me. In the afternoon, two professors from Vancouver Island University collaborated on a presentation about “bridging our data”.  Drs. Le Masurier and Fisher shared how teachers in the classroom can be at an arms-length distance from researchers with datasets, and vice versa- but data can bridge the gap both in methodology and in results. Dr. Le Masurier gave the example about how obesity is an important science story, but an even bigger story is about movement and fitness. High levels of fitness result in better health, no matter your weight. (Then he connected how movement can make us smarter – who knew!). Dr. Fisher uses narrative and story to collect data. Her approach starts by asking us to consider how and why we assess students – is it a deficit model, or a strength-based model? and ensures student voices are in the model of inquiry. Performance standards/tools were provided to forum participants by DASH to help create a model of inquiry that speaks across sectors.

Visual summary of 7th annual DASH BC Forum about Healthy Schools, sam bradd, artist, vancouver, image, what is graphic recording, what is graphic facilitation, illustration, DASH BC, healthy schools, school health, planning forum, teachers, healthy living, comprehensive school health, community consultation, union, illustrator, best practice, vector, best practice, visualization, visual learners, infographic, mind map, visual practitioner, creativity, sketch noters, visual notetaking, facilitator, visual thinking, information architects, visual synthesis, live drawing, world cafe, conference, information design, educator, non-profit, progressive, environment, sustainability, community, health, youth, empowerment, justice, leadership