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5 TIPS TO OPTIMISE THE VALUE OF WORKING WITH A GRAPHIC FACILITATOR

So … you are planning a workshop, meeting, conference, forum or gathering of some sort and you want the output visually recorded.

You already know that a Graphic Facilitator is a faithful listener, synthesiser and scribe and that
their visual notes will add an invaluable dimension to the thinking; the retention, engagement and the buy-in to the content of the meeting.

But, you want to cover all angles in the preparation and planning of this event to ensure you make
the most of your Graphic Facilitator’s skills and expertise before, during and after the event.

When working with all Graphic Facilitators these tips and Drawn to Learn’s free checklist will help
you to gain the best value from your investment; moving your event or meeting from good to great!

1. YOU REVIEW THE PORTFOLIO, YOU MAKE YOUR CHOICE

Although most Graphic Facilitators can be flexible in their drawing approach, just like we all have different handwriting, they often develop their own distinctive style of visual capture.

Therefore, when selecting a Graphic Facilitator have a quick look at their online portfolio so you can take a view about which style you prefer. It’s not that one style is better than another, its more about the fit with your event, audience or brand.

This can be a subjective decision. What you are really looking for is not just the beauty of the drawing but the VALUE of the artefact.

Although the drawings drawn at an event are likely to be meaningful to those who were there, consider the following questions when reviewing a potential Graphic Facilitators’ work to help make the right decision for your event:

1. Could the drawings convey a message that makes sense for people who didn’t attend the event?
2. Does the drawing inspire people to engage more with the subject or challenge?
3. Does there look to be enough information to tell a story afterwards?
4. Does there seem to be clarity in the grouping of information and a flow to the visual story?

Remember though, Graphic facilitators can’t display all their work on websites and social media due to confidentiality requests from some of their clients, however, there should be enough examples to make an informed choice.

2. HEADS UP TO SUCCEED BEFORE THE EVENT

In our profession, we find that engaging a Graphic Facilitator is often a last-minute thought. Something to add a bit of a wow and ‘entertainment value’ to the proceedings. And we will.

But to get real value, the concept of visual strategizing or capture should be integrated into the initial design of the event. Your experienced Graphic Facilitator is an invaluable source of advice and creative ideas on how to do this.

Check with your Graphic Facilitator what level of support they can offer to ensure your event or meeting achieves the required outcomes. After all, Graphic Facilitators attend hundreds of different meetings and events with different objectives and many will have learned a fair few strategies to support the event planner.

3. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE BRIEF

You know you are in experienced hands if your Graphic Facilitator takes a professional approach to their collaborative contract with you. Prior to the event it is important they ask for an in depth briefing conversation which should be followed up with a short proposal to ensure both parties have a common understanding of the service and costs associated with the engagement.

This will include terms of business, logistics requirements, costs, expenses estimate, insurance details, payment and cancellation terms.

An experienced Graphic Facilitator will want to be forearmed with important background knowledge to set the context of their visual capture. Expect to be asked the following questions which will help you as the client and them:

1. Purpose: What is the purpose of the meeting?
2. Success: What are the key measures of success?
3. Attendees: Is there any information regarding the attendees in general? Will they be hostile, bored or enthusiastic from the start?
4. Contributors: Is there any information on the key contributors? Have they worked with a Graphic Facilitator before? Do they also need to be briefed on what to expect?
5. Metaphors: What are some of the metaphors your organisation tends to use about itself?
6. Branding: Are there rules about how logos and the brand are represented?
7. Key Elements: Are you looking for a colour palette that reflects the company’s branding?
8. Logistics: time, place, attendee numbers, breaks, etc.
9. Access: can the Graphic Facilitator gain access to the venue up to an hour before start time to be fully set up and ready to start?
10. Other Visuals: Can the graphic facilitator help with other visuals: beautiful welcome visuals; colourful name badges; eye catching table plans, etc?
11. Confidentiality: Is the output confidential? Graphic Facilitators love showing off their work but sometimes it isn’t appropriate. Guidance is always required.
12. Post-Event: What ideas do you have on how the drawings will be used after the event? The Graphic Facilitator will have lots of suggestions to help optimise the value of the investment
13. Filming: Do you want your Graphic Facilitator to film the drawing as it develops?
14. Rights: Check the level of rights to the images produced
15. Timings: Agree whether the drawing will be completed on the day and left for you or whether some studio cleanup is required?
16. Repurposing: Check what reproduction services are available to multi-purpose the content

4. TOP TIPS FOR LOGISTICS/MEETING SET-UP

It may seem common sense, but as we know sense sometimes sense isn’t that common, so let’s look at what a Graphic Facilitator will need to be in place before they arrive:

1. A flat wall with no lumps and bumps beneath
2. Permission to use tape for their large-scale paper (it won’t mark the walls). Always double-check with the venue to cover any eventualities on this matter
3. If no wall space is available, then is there enough space for the Graphic Facilitator to setup their largescale boards. Most drawings are generally at least 2m wide by 1m high.
4. Check the lighting levels beforehand. Will the meeting attendees be able to clearly see the drawing develop?
5. Please ensure the Graphic Facilitator can work within the eye line of the audience so they can reap the full value of seeing their conversations or the presentations visually represented. That way, when they are prompted, participants can refer to the drawings to
remember key points and feel validated. Also, they may be inspired to have further ideas and develop confidence to contribute based on the drawings
6. Ensure your Graphic Facilitator arrives at least one hour before the meeting so they can be fully set up and able to talk to interested people who may approach as they arrive
7. If you have a meetings Facilitator, make sure they get to talk to the Graphic Facilitator at set up or before the meeting. Ideally, they will set up an informal partnership to serve the group. A great meetings Facilitator enables even better capture of contributions with their professional session set-up and summaries. Again, communication is key.

5. ROCK THAT GRAPHIC FACILITATOR

As you open your gathering, it’s important to acknowledge the presence of the Graphic Facilitator.
Otherwise people won’t feel comfortable. Or, they may feel it’s rude to appear distracted as they watch the drawing unfold. Take the following few steps and the Graphic Facilitator will instantly become integral to the group:

1. Introduce the Graphic Facilitator: Say a word or two about why they are with you. Ensure
they are seen as a key part of the event. Reassure the group that they will be sent the drawings after the event. Tell them they can photograph at any time (unless there are confidentiality issues, of course)
2. Let the Graphic Facilitator Introduce the process: If it works for you, allow the Graphic Facilitator to speak about their process; how it serves the group; how attendees are welcome to come and chat at breaks and how they love to see the work photographed
3. Verbal Summaries by the Graphic Facilitator: At the end of the event, make time for the Graphic Facilitator to offer a verbal summary of the story behind the large-scale drawing. Let them demonstrate the visual metaphors; explain the links and groupings; show how the
group moved from their starting point in the process to their finishing point
4. Post-Event Instructions: Describe how people can use the drawing back in the workplace. Please don’t miss out this part. Finding ways to utilise the drawing post event ensures the output lingers in people’s memories and keeps them on track to any pledges and actions
agreed.

FREE CHECKLIST – TOP TIPS FOR OPTIMISING THE VALUE OF WORKING WITH A GRAPHIC FACILITATOR

Drawn to Learn is keen that you to get the best value possible when working with a Graphic
Facilitator. Our free checklist will be an invaluable resource to support this.

OVER TO YOU

I’d like to offer you a free 45-minute Discovery Call to help bring your next event to life with Graphic Facilitation – at a time of your convenience. Click the link here to book a date and time that suits us both.

Contact: jackie.forbes@drawntolearn.co.uk or phone (00 44) 07961 134 741

Be sure to share this information with your friends and colleagues who may be considering
using a Graphic Facilitator or who will attend a meeting with a Graphic Facilitator. They may be missing some key ingredients
in making sure they optimise the value of their investment.

What do you think of this information? Is it useful? Comprehensive? Have we missed
anything? Can you add to it? We would like to turn this blog piece into the ‘Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Graphic Facilitator’
so your ideas would be very welcome. Please scroll down and leave a comment. We will get right back to you.

LET’S INTRODUCE OURSELVES

Jackie Forbes has an international career as a development designer and facilitator. She brings over 20 years’ experience of helping people contribute to organisational success to her role as Principal of Drawn to Learn. Drawn to Learn has an overflowing toolkit, including learning and development programmes, team development, facilitation solutions and visual practices.

Jackie Forbes is Managing Director of Drawn to Learn – the graphic facilitation consultancy for all event, meeting and team development needs …

As members of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP), Drawn to Learn has over 20 years’ experience of helping people contribute to organisational success. With an overflowing toolkit, including learning and development programmes, team development, facilitation solutions and visual practices, Drawn To are poised to transform your next group event.

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