Graphic Facilitation: “I see what you mean…”

For years I’ve used Powerpoint and other visual presentation tools to explain complex concepts and connect emotionally with my students and workshop participants. I’ve used VisualsSpeak facilitation tools to help people in work teams learn more about each other, resolve conflicts and create strategies togethers.

I’ve come to rely on these various visual tools in my work and have discovered that they’re especially valuable when presenting to or working with people who don’t share English as their native language. Photos and illustrations help me to communicate more effectively across language and cultural barriers. They reinforce and further explain the words on a page or a slide, add richness to verbal descriptions, and cause important concepts to stick more easily in people’s minds.

A few years ago I was introduced to a new (at least to me) visual tool, graphic facilitation, that takes this to a whole new level, bringing a live artist/facilitator into the room to:

  • Listen and watch intently throughout the class or workshop or keynote presentation,
  • Capture meaningful conversations, key concepts and questions and insights that emerge from the group in words and pictures, and
  • Create a graphic record of all of this on a giant piece of paper on the wall, for everyone to see immediately and to keep as a permanent reminder of their experience and learning from that day.

Since discovering this profession a few years ago, I’ve collaborated several times with graphic facilitators and I love the results. Clients and students say it’s much easier to remember things because of the images that were created in front of their eyes. They thank us for the graphic notes that they can keep and refer back to later. They can see it again and keep the learning alive long after the details of the class or conversations have faded away.








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