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Graphic Facilitation 101

Posted by  Daryl Cook —March 25, 2008
Filed in Collaboration

I’ve been following Nancy’s visual and graphic facilitation work with interest for a while now, and inspired by a recent conversation with her, decided to try give it a go.

So, a couple of weeks ago, when Shawn and I facilitated a workshop for a HR Practitioner Community of Practice, it was a great opportunity to capture an event using this approach.

I had great fun doing it, and I had a number of interesting conversations with participants about the process and other elements of the work. This really reinforced for me that using visuals helps people engage because it breaks the usual pattern of information transmission, and moves people away from their cognitive bias.

The approach I took was to record at the front of the room, but set back somewhat from the ‘floor’. I had some reservations about this, as I was concerned about not accurately capturing what was being said. We overcome this by explaining to the participants that the resulting posters were not intended to be ‘minutes’, but like stories, are intended to provide a context or emotional cue to remember the conversations. My preference is to work closer to the group as I draw to be able to check what I am recording is representative of the conversation as it happens.

As the old adage goes, “a picture tells a thousand words”. Graphic recording is a fantastic way of harvesting conversations, and compliments the narrative approach so well. The work was well-received so I’m confident that it adds real value to a well facilitated event.

About  Daryl Cook

Comments

  1. Nancy White says:

    Fantastic! Way to “dive in!” It is pretty amazing, isn’t it!

  2. Stuart Reid says:

    I’ve become very interested in this way of recording events recently, so it’s good to see a post about it on Anecdote.
    I have previously seen visual records of events circulated as a way of briefing people who didn’t attend the event. The problem I’ve had with this is that usually the visual record hasn’t made much sense to me when I was one of the non-attenders. I prefer your description of them as providing “a context or emotional cue to remember the conversations” – ie a record aimed at the people who were actually there.
    Thanks for this post.
    Stuart Reid

  3. avi says:

    HR have always been good with buzzwords, but they deliver nothing… 🙂

  4. Daryl says:

    Nancy: thanks again for the inspiration! Stuart: No problems, thanks for your kind words.

  5. Bev Trayner says:

    I appreciate hearing your nerves about doing it… I haven’t overcome mine yet.
    “We overcome this by explaining to the participants that the resulting posters were not intended to be ‘minutes’, but like stories, are intended to provide a context or emotional cue to remember the conversations. My preference is to work closer to the group as I draw to be able to check what I am recording is representative of the conversation as it happens.”

  6. Daryl says:

    Hi Bev: To cope with the nervousness, I printed out some examples of Nancy’s work beforehand and took them along to give me some inspiration and ideas. I’ll continue to do this until I develop my skills and my own ‘style’. Daryl.

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