« Be an Authentic Communicator | Main | Graphic Designer Cage Match »

December 05, 2006


Kelvy Bird

My first response was flip. Actually…..

I track conversations primarily for the purpose of reflection and long-term story telling, so that individuals and organizations alike can make informed choices grounded in deeper vision and intent.

In the moment or session, the work holds and supports groups in transition, models the structures of content and group dynamics, anchors ideas in tangible form, and maps possible terrains through which forward movement could occur.

More and more I find that the impact of event-level facilitation is temporal and that the relationally based facilitation leads to deeper reception of the images and products. When a client lives with a series of tangibles over time, created in parallel with a series of session experiences, the work feeds the collective memory and, in my view, is of greater service to transformation.

Our current paradigm of finding and delivering graphic facilitation seems to be weighted in the event direction. I wonder, in time, as we build ongoing client associations, if the nature and form of what we do will likewise shift. That, to me, will be an interesting trend to witness, as it may signal a more profound shift in the nature of business as a whole.

maria hubbert

I tell people I use words, images and colours to create a visual record of their meeting.

I cringe if I get introduced as the 'artist', I think this raises peoples expectations of what will end up on the wall!

John Caswell

I don't mean to sound controversial but I don't much like the term Graphic Facilitation to explain what I do so it's not where I start.

Like many i'm sure, I talk about solving client's problems and then use whatever language seems to float their boat.

This approach removes the subjective graphic portrayal part from the value judgement. Then when they experience the reality of structured and visual interpretation and analysis of their random responses to the dialogue they get it with a bullet.

I'm not saying Graphic Facilitation isn't a great field, quite the opposite. It's simply that when I ran advertising agencies or marketing or other consultancies the mere suggestion of a 'field' fixed the solution in the mind.

Often inappropriately.

The client could feel immediately that he didn't need that solution - even though he/she didn't really understand it.

Mark Pinto

I use the Forrest Gump approach, "I turn your words into pictures." (must include the accent), but am playing with other heady things like ambient images much like background music in the dentist office...MUZAK for your eyes (do people still know what that is?).

Barney cunningham

I think Ive tried them all and the one which seems to work is that I put peoples thinking and discusions into focused maps and charts.
I heard someone in the UK call themselves a information architect which I love but don`t think I am that good to describe myself like that.
Brandys statement is spot on and like Peter when I feel like a bit of fun I say I am Rolf Harris`s love child( famous australian painter and doodler)

Peter Durand

We've already heard from some members on the words they use to describe their profession:

"I say: 'I create visual maps of people’s conversations, making what is said in the air more tangible.' bla bla bla."
~ Kelvy Bird, Boston


"My current answer in 'No problem.' But it took 7 years to *begin* to feel confident in explaining it. Now at 10, I can verbally describe it enough to intrigue the person into seeing the picture. But truly it is so experiential that seeing is believing."
~ Brandy Agerbeck, Chicago

"I have no problem explaining what I do. I say I am a 'real-time cartoonist' that tells the story of any conversation between people. I explain that most people in the World are visual learners and respond much better to seeing a conversation then just hearing it, so it only makes sense to have a scribe during important meetings/conversations."
~Andy Lloyd, Florida


I think it IS difficult if one goes the route of explaining the features before the benefits. It has taken me quite a while to figure this out ... but benefits come first then features. Once you do that then its pretty easy. Tell people what is in it for them, then get into the how when they express an interest.

For graphic facilitation, I usually say something along the lines of 'I help people get in and get out in meetings ... make the most of people's valuable time. Help confused groups quickly figure out what they really want and how to get it. People love my meetings cause they get excellent results - everyone gets on the same page and fast.' Then I go into the 'i'm a strategic planning facilitator and use an unique visual method that people really respond to and appreciate. The how comes last.

They care about results, the fact that it is visual is secondary.

Back when I was doing graphic recording, I would say something like 'I'm a partner in making good meetings happen. I help people responsible for big meetings get rave reviews. I look after making sure all the valuable ahhas, insights and decisions are captured and recorded - making the meeting organizers and facilitators happy and participants glad that they've been heard and understood. My method is really unique. People tend to really love it ( I actually get applause sometimes, hee hee) and I work all over the world for very cool companies. ' Then I can launch into the how and show examples, testimonials, clients lists, etc. when they are interested to learn more. That is where having a good website or place to direct people to is key.

In most of my work ... good work begets more good work. The best marketing is doing a good job and others tell their colleagues and friends about you. In their own words. Normally it is about how productive or well their event was and how their people really responded to what I did.

~Christina Merkley, Canada


The comments to this entry are closed.



Graphic Facilitators