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HOW TO MAKE YOUR NEXT EVENT SIZZLE… WITH GRAPHIC FACILITATION

Is your company sick to death of corporate communication? Has your project team lost the will to live?
Are your vision and value statements securely locked at the bottom of a dusty old filing cabinet?

If you’re anything like many companies, you’re tired of getting the same old results from the same old
meetings; the same old platitudes from corporate group-think; the collective heave of shoulders as
employees secretly sigh, “We’ve heard it all before.”

Instead, you want to get more engagement in your meetings; you want to raise the creativity and
contribution in the room; get more buy-in to strategy and problem solving. Hey, you might even want
everyone on message and loving being part of creating it.

So, let’s whet your appetite and explore how graphic facilitation is going to help do that. And along I
will tell you what Graphic Facilitation is.

GRAPHIC FACILITATION WAS BORN IN A CAVE

Let’s start at the very beginning.

Humans have always had a creative desire to represent their world through pictures. It’s believed that
the most ancient art we have so far discovered is around c40,000 years old.

Ancient drawings were made to convey where the best hunting grounds were; the type of prey to be
found and the kind of ceremonies that were important to people then.

So how does this help when planning your next corporate meeting?

CAVE DRAWINGS AND THE MODERN MEETING

For me I think there were a couple of key reasons:

Ask yourself a few basic questions:
1. When was the last time you really loved a meeting experience? You know, the one you left feeling super productive and that good work had been done
2. What was it about the meeting / event that made such an impact on you?
3. What would you say was the one magical ingredient that brought this event alive?

Chances are everyone contributed and felt valued and there was a lot of visual stimulation to drive, clarify and reinforce the contributions as they were given.

So let’s dive into how you can GUARANTEE great meetings and events as a minimum standard and start to develop a system and process that makes sure ALL MEETINGS AND EVENTS have a CERTIFIED wow-factor.

WHY DO PEOPLE SAY ‘NOBODY TOLD ME’?

Often, important information and communication becomes ‘white noise.’ People tune out because they’ve heard it all before, or they’ve had information overload.

Have you heard people say of your big initiative, “Nobody told me!” They don’t recall the information, yet they were there at your presentation!

This is because auditory recall is generally low in the overall population.

LISTENING WITH YOUR EYES

Sometimes in meetings, we tune out of real listening when we struggle to think about the next thing we are going to say.

But when the listening is done with the eyes as well as well as the ears, a greater sense of absorption,
engagement, participation and creativity occurs.

In technical terms, people reach “an immersed state of consciousness.”

Distractions are actually tuned out and creativity is finally unleashed.

BRAINS JUST LOVE VISUAL INFORMATION

Most of us have heard the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. But let’s understand a bit more
about why our brains love visuals.

When people hear new, complex information, the fact of the matter is, they can only hold around five
give or take two consecutive pieces of data, at any one time. Much less if they are stressed or under pressure.

Seeing their ideas and contributions visually captured increases how productive a meeting will be. The
brain can relax because someone else is retaining and capturing the information in a creative and stimulating way. This allows brain space for new ideas to form.

Why? It’s simple! It’s because empty brains process new thinking better.

HERE’S THE SCIENCE BIT

50% of our brain is involved in visual processing and visual impact accounts for 70% of our sensory
receptors. This means that by using graphics effectively, our logical and creative thinking processes are stimulated.

In fact, one study found that three days after an event, an attendee retained
only 10-20 percent of written or spoken information but almost sixty five percent of visual information.

Human beings are visual creatures. We can get the sense of a visual image faster than any other message. In fact, within a tenth of a second.

Not only that, but our memory is enhanced by seeing as well as hearing things.

SO WHAT IS GRAPHIC FACILITATION?

Graphic Facilitation is the live drawing of large scale pictures, real time that capture the essence of the conversation that is taking place. People see their ideas and contributions drawn out in pictures as they say them which validates what they are saying, prompts others to add their thoughts and acts as a great visual aide memoire after the meeting, conference or workshop.

WHY USE A GRAPHIC FACILITATOR FOR YOUR NEXT MEETING?

If you are a change manager, meeting planner, leader or speaker who wants to take people on a journey that they help create, then graphic facilitation may be the right choice for you.

Creating a visual picture of the outcome – ideally in collaboration – will deliver a colourful, compelling
resource to communicate your key messages in a memorable way.

When people see a large-scale drawing, it engages their emotional memory. What’s more, we know that the more intensely we engage the emotions, the longer we will remember the associated information.

IMAGE POWER VS WORD POWER

The reason a graphic representation of a meeting, event or conference is so powerful is that the visuals
reinforce a longer-lasting memory of the key messages during real time.

The visuals help reinforce the message and prolong their shelf life well into the near and distant
future. Plus they are handy visual reminder to keep everyone on message and on brand on a day-to- day basis.

TOTAL BODY MESSAGING

Seeing the message, feeling the message and hearing the message is going to increase recall almost
tenfold.

When it comes to business communication, having a living visual representation of what is being seen,
heard and felt is POWERFULLY compelling.

MESSAGES LOST IN TRANSLATION

Remember our caveman? Let’s call him Angus. He knew that visual story telling was the most effective
communication tool. Yet fast forward into the digital era and we are being overwhelmed with slick corporate graphics, clipart and death by PowerPoint.

Sometimes the story just gets lost in translation.

Let’s put it this way … there is something incredibly authentic, real, and dare I say, charming, about the real-time, hand-drawn capture of conversations and ideas, actions and conclusions.

When people see there is a graphic facilitator at work in their meeting, there is a frisson of interest.
Participants begin to see their contributions and ideas drawn out and feel doubly valued.

Perhaps even for the first time.

THE ART OF SIMPLICITY

Sometimes discussions or presentations are complex. The beauty of a good graphic facilitator is that
complexity is artfully simplified through the drawing.

The best graphic facilitators capture the flow, priority and key focus of the conversation as it unfolds.
When people see their contributions captured in real time, it keeps them totally in the game.

The audience that watches their contributions develop into a big picture are stimulated to contribute even more.

HOW DOES THE GRAPHIC FACILITATOR WORK?

At Drawn to Learn we begin with a briefing meeting or call which we then turn into a proposal that
captures the outcomes that have been discussed. We then join your gathering, sets up a large sheet of paper and use beautiful pens to draw, large scale, so the whole gathering can see their messages unfold. We listen intently, synthesizing what is being said and think carefully about how to organise the content into a combination of words and drawings that capture the shared meaning of the contributions.

The Graphic Facilitator is listening with ‘outside’ ears and is dedicated to non-judgemental visual capture of the essence of the ideas and inputs to the gathering.

The process of the conversation is recorded as well as the content. The skills deployed are primarily listening, thinking, synethesizing, drawing, mapping and being non-judgmental!

OVER TO YOU

Are you ready to inject the sizzle into your next big meeting? I’d like to offer you a free 45 minute Discovery Call to help bring your next big 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 will attend a meeting with a graphic facilitator. They may be missing some key ingredients in making sure their next event has the all-important wow-factor!

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 and bullet points would be incredibly welcome. Please scroll down and leave a comment. Credit will be given where credit is due. We will get straight back to you as soon as we are free or when time permits.

Feel free to download the entire check list on in a ‘check box format.’ That way, you can cross off all the key preparation and planning elements as you go along.

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.

DrawnTo… being a female Business Angel

Here is a subject women don’t often discuss so lets begin with a startling statistic.

Did you know that out of regular investors in the UK, current estimates are that only 5% are women! This is at a time when we see women generating more wealth than ever.

Today’s brief post is for women who, like me, have reached a stage in life where they have worked long and saved hard. It is what I wish someone had told me a decade ago when my investment savvy did not go beyond a high interest account and a buy to let property. Neither of which has served me well over time!

Until a year ago I was NOT one of the UK’s 5% female angel investors.

Why is that?

For me I think there were a couple of key reasons:

  • The first was my own stereotyping of who a typical investor would be. I had in mind they would be male, extremely affluent, likely to be highly informed risk takers and part of a closed network.
  • The second is due to lack of a financial education I was frozen into inertia regarding my reasonably modest savings.   At no time did the world of investing angels ever appear on my radar! It had not occurred to me that I could be eligible or that the world of investing could be accessible. Furthermore, I would not have known how to begin or how to make a good decision. I hadn’t thought through why investing could be beneficial to the entrepreneur, the economy and ultimately me.

Enter stage left – Investing Women

 So what has changed?

A year ago I was intrigued to be introduced to an organisation called Investing Women, (IW), which is based in Scotland. This is the brainchild of a dynamic women called

Jackie Waring. The key goal of IW is to open up the world of business angel investing to women in a simple, non-threatening way.   Indeed they are passionate about creating a transformational increase in the number of women investors in Scotland and actually the UK!

First things first – getting over the fear 

For me, not feeling fear was about empowerment and knowledge. Investing Women understands that to get started a novice female investor wants to be able to evaluate risk and opportunity in an informed way. Impossible if you don’t know what you don’t know. To get over that each new member is invited to a two-day investor-training programme that covers the basics I was too embarrassed to admit I didn’t know. It explores what an investor should look for, how to evaluate entrepreneurs’ pitches, what the tax position is and the legal aspects of investing. This is all delivered in a down to earth way that debunks the jargon related to the investment world and has the premise that there are definitely no stupid or naive questions. This training opened my eyes to the financial opportunities I have missed in the last decade. Investing in property took 80% of my capital and I lost money over time – if I had invested in entrepreneurs I could have utilised 5% of my capital, received great tax breaks and potentially have seen a good return. (Of course there is always a risk to be balanced) Now I am learning from Captain Hindsight and going forward with a different approach.

Don’t park your values – It’s about more than the money….

My background is in learning and development and helping people realise their potential. One truly compelling aspect of why I was DrawnTo… becoming an investor member of Investing Women is that the organisation’s mantra is:

 “Its about more than the money”

 What does this mean in practice?

Along with the larger scale mature prospects IW has invested in, we welcome female entrepreneurs in the early stages of their start up to pitch to us. We may not always be ready to invest cash but we have a wonderful track record of mentoring and coaching. Which of course as a people developer is right up my street.

Our group is made of up smart women with a variety of backgrounds and experience from many different sectors. Yes some have achieved great financial success and others are more like me, they have a modest amount they would like to commit to investment. It’s so rewarding to personally learn from this group and to share my years of corporate experience with fellow members and entrepreneurs.

Call to Action

So if you find any of this resonates with you and you feel your financial savvy could be enhanced, take a look around to find a local female angel investing group and get connected.   If you live in Scotland take a look at Investing Women – we would love to welcome new members.

Next time – the story of Ambition and Growth. The first Women Investors Conference in Scotland!

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Cras odio lectus, lobortis varius hendrerit a, viverra auctor purus. Sed molestie urna vitae neque porta sed condimentum turpis suscipit. Integer id velit ac eros vehicula pulvinar id sagittis metus. Continue reading

Sample Project 3

Cras odio lectus, lobortis varius hendrerit a, viverra auctor purus. Sed molestie urna vitae neque porta sed condimentum turpis suscipit. Integer id velit ac eros vehicula pulvinar id sagittis metus. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed cursus, sapien sit amet cursus pellentesque, felis mi hendrerit risus, vitae interdum urna lectus in felis. Quisque at eros quam, non sagittis elit. Vestibulum diam risus, placerat at varius vel, semper ac nulla. Continue reading

Sample Project 2

Proin sem nulla, posuere sit amet tincidunt nec, facilisis vel ipsum. Proin mi lorem, mollis at tincidunt id, tincidunt nec ligula. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Praesent semper sapien eget justo gravida eget euismod lectus ultrices. Suspendisse ante sapien, cursus id tempus in, malesuada at libero. Quisque feugiat tortor sit amet justo facilisis pellentesque. Donec ultricies nulla sapien. Donec eu nisl tortor. Nam volutpat, mauris non rhoncus pulvinar, nibh purus posuere odio, sed eleifend dui odio at est. Suspendisse id lacus diam, a semper elit. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Mauris vitae velit dapibus felis dapibus vulputate. Morbi sem ante, pulvinar vitae consequat at, elementum vel lorem. Donec et suscipit tellus.

Cras odio lectus, lobortis varius hendrerit a, viverra auctor purus. Sed molestie urna vitae neque porta sed condimentum turpis suscipit. Integer id velit ac eros vehicula pulvinar id sagittis metus. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed cursus, sapien sit amet cursus pellentesque, felis mi hendrerit risus, vitae interdum urna lectus in felis. Quisque at eros quam, non sagittis elit. Vestibulum diam risus, placerat at varius vel, semper ac nulla.

Donec hendrerit viverra dignissim. Suspendisse non arcu at ligula auctor ultricies. Nunc quis nulla turpis, ut dictum purus. Praesent pulvinar tincidunt libero, eget bibendum arcu placerat non. Nunc dolor ante, scelerisque sed pulvinar vulputate, mattis vel dui. Etiam nec luctus neque. Mauris placerat arcu sit amet tortor malesuada sit amet auctor nulla malesuada. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Vivamus sed eros nec justo hendrerit sodales. Aliquam justo ligula, pharetra tristique malesuada commodo, dictum ut ligula. Nunc accumsan malesuada vestibulum. Vestibulum sit amet faucibus lorem. Mauris viverra lectus ut tellus imperdiet iaculis. Nulla tristique ipsum at purus scelerisque luctus.

Sample Project 1

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam nec mi lorem. Praesent a sapien in ligula ullamcorper lobortis. Quisque tempor placerat ultrices. Nam scelerisque cursus lectus, at vestibulum est aliquam eu. Nulla facilisi. Etiam luctus, diam a faucibus viverra, neque ligula malesuada sem, id consequat augue diam sit amet risus. Nulla ac lorem nisl. Integer condimentum condimentum neque at rutrum. Aenean magna elit, euismod eget auctor sit amet, feugiat ut est. Nulla eget metus quam, ac viverra turpis. Quisque pulvinar leo in mauris ultrices nec vehicula elit gravida. Aenean vulputate nibh nec dolor porttitor quis accumsan ante consequat. Donec sodales laoreet suscipit. Sed mauris mi, tempus at pulvinar viverra, vestibulum sit amet felis. Nunc sed dui nec ante tristique blandit. Sed eget nisi augue.

Proin sem nulla, posuere sit amet tincidunt nec, facilisis vel ipsum. Proin mi lorem, mollis at tincidunt id, tincidunt nec ligula. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Praesent semper sapien eget justo gravida eget euismod lectus ultrices. Suspendisse ante sapien, cursus id tempus in, malesuada at libero. Quisque feugiat tortor sit amet justo facilisis pellentesque. Donec ultricies nulla sapien. Donec eu nisl tortor. Nam volutpat, mauris non rhoncus pulvinar, nibh purus posuere odio, sed eleifend dui odio at est. Suspendisse id lacus diam, a semper elit. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Mauris vitae velit dapibus felis dapibus vulputate. Morbi sem ante, pulvinar vitae consequat at, elementum vel lorem. Donec et suscipit tellus.

Cras odio lectus, lobortis varius hendrerit a, viverra auctor purus. Sed molestie urna vitae neque porta sed condimentum turpis suscipit. Integer id velit ac eros vehicula pulvinar id sagittis metus. Aliquam erat volutpat. Sed cursus, sapien sit amet cursus pellentesque, felis mi hendrerit risus, vitae interdum urna lectus in felis. Quisque at eros quam, non sagittis elit. Vestibulum diam risus, placerat at varius vel, semper ac nulla.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus rutrum metus nec augue vulputate iaculis. Nunc hendrerit consequat ipsum, vel rutrum augue varius vel. Proin ut purus erat. Nam pellentesque enim at urna luctus nec rutrum tellus vehicula. Sed quis viverra orci. Nunc consectetur facilisis nulla, id ornare augue tempus in. Phasellus lorem est, rhoncus vel venenatis at, varius in nisl. Suspendisse potenti. Cras ut mollis nisi. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Curabitur luctus consectetur porttitor. Praesent vehicula velit id nisi ultricies eget porttitor lectus hendrerit. Proin accumsan, orci vitae dictum interdum, diam lacus faucibus lectus, a feugiat urna mi ut turpis. Etiam rhoncus viverra velit eget gravida. Nam elit lacus, placerat ac ullamcorper sed, commodo sed massa.

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