Sunday, May 23, 2010

graphic facilitation

While in Chicago at a conference last week, I came across an actual job title for something I've been doing my entire life during meetings. This thing? Doodling. Except a speaker at the innovation conference talked about different learning styles and the popularity of a visual way to absorb and process a meeting or brainstorming sessions. A "graphic facilitator" is someone who listens, synthesizes and draws what (s)he hears being said during the meeting. The benefit to participants? It's something of a "group mind map" of the direction of the meeting that allows people to easily track the flow of the meeting and do so in a very provocative, easy to follow way. To my surprise there are people out there right now who do graphic facilitation as a full-time job. Personally, I thing graphic facilitation is another example of what I'm feeling as a backlash to full-tilt technology. There is something engaging, disarming, charming about simple lines telling simple stories.

Check out how graphic facilitation works by plugging in "graphic facilitation" on YouTube. Give it a try and see if it helps your next big meeting. If so, let me know (if you want me to hang out at your meeting and draw on the wall, let me know). I tried it last week at a meeting that was half live bodies in the room and several on a conference call. It was a nice way to capture the spirit and trajectory of the meeting (at least for those of us in the room in PA). Also made it very easy for people in PA to speak to people in FLA about points made in the meeting's over last 90 minutes.