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How to draw out a group's creativity

One of my favorite skills acquired while working at Delve is Graphic Recording and Facilitation.

I learned how to use David Sibbet’s Visual Meetings techniques several years ago at a training workshop by the Grove Consultants and have found it invaluable in every meeting. The theory is to document and facilitate the meeting using markers on a large board so everyone participating can have a shared understanding of what is discussed as well as a visual artifact after the meeting is over.

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Graphic Recording and Facilitation (VR&F) looks a little like this in action… The presenter can facillitate and record at the same time or you can have two people – a Graphic Recorder and a Meeting Facilitator. The techniques include planning agendas, creating materials, facilitating group discussions, conducting activities to create something in groups, and recording what is being said using visual notes on large boards.
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The first step to running a meeting using VR&F is to Start @ The End. Decide what you want the audience to learn/do/have at the end of the meeting. After you know what you want your meeting results to be, you will work with the Graphic Recorder to design the agenda and decide which tools will be appropriate.
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The second step is to decide the flow and roles of the meeting. It’s important to decide who is doing the recording, the facilitating, and the points in the meeting when the group should participate. It’s even more important to explain these roles and activities to the group at the beginning of the meeting so everyone has the same expectations.
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Many times, the Graphic Recorder will want to understand the top takeaways or specific decisions that need to be made in order to prepare the right templates, icons and communication graphics for the group. You can work through this together or provide the list of important points to the Graphic Recorder in advance.
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Step 4 is to plan for an appropriately sized room and necessary equipment for the meeting. Large whiteboards or open walls for paper are important for this technique. It's very important that you arrange the tables/chairs to ensure the audience can see and connect with the work on the walls. It’s helpful to pre-draw the agenda and warm-up activities so that the participants can see the graphic recording in action right off the bat.
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Before you begin the meeting, especially if the Graphic Recorder is NOT facilitating, it’s important to let him/her introduce the technique and explain how/when the group participates. Many times, I am an outsider who is brought in to record and it’s helpful to get to explain my role so that I can be involved in the meeting right away instead of a being just a quiet recorder to the side of the main presenter.
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The best meetings happen when everyone gets to participate and feels heard. Depending on the length of meeting, I think it helps to break up presentations into different activities. I know many people feel uncomfortable drawing or presenting so working in smaller groups can help reluctant drawers participate with Post-Its and other tools rather than whiteboard markers. Even if breakout groups do not fit into the meeting, it can be helpful if the Graphic Recorder presents the notes after large sections of the presentation so that the audience can reflect on what they heard and connect with the images and notes captured.
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And finally, one of the best parts of Graphic Recording is that you have instant deliverables after the meeting! Participants can take pictures of the boards to use as reminders after they leave. Sometimes, I deliver a report after the meeting with some touched-up images and notes from the “parking lot” that should be followed up on. More polished deliverables like videos and Prezi presentations can be made from the meeting materials. The most important part of a meeting is reflecting upon the outcomes, debriefing on what was learned, and deciding what needs to be done next.

Graphic Recording and Facilitation (VR&F) are not artistic skills. EVERYONE can record visually! Recording on a large board in front of a room full of people is what takes some training and practice.

In an attempt to use more images than words to describe the Visual Facilitation and Recording process, please open the gallery below to see a series of sketches that describe the visual process…VISUALLY!

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