Fort Collins

You've Got The Power!

This time of year is all about giving. And while it can be overwhelming between the list of presents, party hosting, wrapping up work and spending time with loved ones, remember that you always have a gift to share. And it doesn’t cost a thing! In fact, you’ll probably benefit from the whole thing too.

Never underestimate the power of a smile or a kind word.

Whether it’s to a stranger on the street, the folks you work with every day, or the person returning grocery carts from the parking lot to the front of the store, a smile or saying something nice can make a world of difference. And it costs nothing. And you’ll feel better too. Win/Win/Win.

My father-in-law does this really well – he always has a funny quip and a kind word for people who tend to be over-looked. I love watching these interactions because sometimes it takes people a moment to realize he’s joking with them, but they always end up with a big grin on their faces.

So, this month while it’s tempting to be caught up in your own stress or to be grumpy that you have to wait in long lines, try turning that frown upside-down and giving a word of praise or appreciation, and see if you can create a ripple effect around you.

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Need someone to help your team see just how much you've accomplished this year & then give high fives about it? Click to get in touch about your next meeting or event that could use a touch of graphic recording magic.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Last week I got to spend an afternoon with leaders across the City of Fort Collins to talk about how to move beyond boundaries to work better together. Onward!

How to Improve the way You Listen: Tips from a Professional Listener

In the age of The Device, it’s easy to be distracted by the chirp of a notification.  Which makes a conversation filled with intentional, focused and active listening a real treat to be a part of.

Graphic recorders and facilitators are essentially professional listeners – we are with the group to hear what individuals saying, listen for larger themes and reflect ideas back to the group in a clear way. We need to listen to body language and tone, and to seek to clarify and surface underlying ideas and patterns so the group we are supporting can move forward effectively and maintain their energy and momentum long-term for positive change.

This. Is. Hard. And I don’t just mean the drawing.

The way we approach listening in conversations can monumentally affect the outcomes, and yet this is something we often do subconsciously. Every person, is, of course, biased in some way. Many times, this is seen as a flaw or weakness, yet refreshingly, Anthony Weeks takes a different perspective: “Our subjectivity is our way of creating value.”

As graphic recorders, paying attention to the way we approach our work through listening, observing and intentionally focusing on applying listening filters based on the needs of the client (Do they need us to visualize facts? Emotions? Patterns? Systems?) can profoundly influence how and what we capture, and therefore the group’s outcomes.

As human beings, being conscious of the way we listen can profoundly influence our relationships with one another, and therefore our sense of connectedness and satisfaction in our work and personal lives.

Some ideas to deepen your listening practice:

- Give people time and space to process and continue by waiting three seconds before jumping in after someone has paused.
- Remember, listening is not the same as waiting to speak. Be present and ask questions to encourage clarification or exploration.
- Make space for vulnerability by not judging immediately. This doesn’t mean you must always agree. Let the person know you appreciate/love them but you may disagree. A nice way to think about this is to be hard on the idea, not the person.
- Be sure you are in a state of mind to listen well, because it takes energy to be present, withhold judgement, and be able to draw connections between ideas.

Click on the image below to see the larger version.


Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

Deep listening, synthesis and illustration for multiple hours at a time to support your group? 

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Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This week I'm working with the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Their communications specialists from around the country are getting together to build connections, develop storytelling skills and share tools. Here's a few tips from Michael Smart that will be included in a Summary Map of all four days!

When Can Being Intoxicated Be A Good Thing?

ConverSketch is intoxicated this week. No, last night wasn’t crazy, and , despite working from home, I haven’t started drinking early in the day (that's a joke, people!). I’m talking about a different kind of intoxication, and one that is a lot more productive.

This little post for you is inspired by the following piece by Hugh McLeod of GapingVoid Art.

As Hugh so eloquently puts it: You can be intoxicated by a lot of things. We like possibility.

This concept is nothing new, it’s the foundation of so many successful businesses. But somehow, this unorthodox way of stating a concept that these days often feels brittle and overused keeps me coming back to it. Thinking of possibility as intoxicating, as full of energy, new ideas and connections instead of overwhelming, unclear or unknown. And if you tend to get anxious and overwhelmed, you might enjoy this post on how drawing can help you move through overwhelm.

It's a craft to learn to tap into what you feel the moment you realize there’s a lot more to something than you originally thought. Which electrifies you. Suddenly hours have gone by, and there’s still more energy bubbling up from inside you.

There's a few things that have me intoxicated this week...
- Putting together and beta testing a new offering from ConverSketch to utilize my strengths connecting with and encouraging individuals to cultivate Aha Moments with folks one-on-one.
- Delivering prints of my watercolor paintings to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and Wolverine Farm Publick House to sell. (Note: The positive feedback I’ve gotten from you all with my painting really blows my mind. Thank you for giving me a resounding high five to continue pursuing and refining my fine art skills!)
- Seeing little vegetable sprouts emerging from tiny little seeds (how miraculous is that!?)

Click on the image below to see the larger version.

What possibilities are intoxicating you right now? Take a moment over a glass of wine or beer and doodle out some possibilities that are as enticing as a nice cool beverage on a warm summer evening.

What might be keeping you from taking a nice, big swig from that cup o’ possibility? What steps can you take THIS WEEK to move toward making it a reality?

Comment below so others can benefit from your wisdom. 

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, I'd be so grateful if you shared it with your friends!

Once again, thank you from my heart and soul for your support, great senses of humor, brilliant minds, collaboration and what you're each doing to make the world a better place.

Cheers, Karina

What possibilities are you exploring with your organization or individually? Click that button to chat with me about how I can help you make it more effective, productive and fun with graphic recording.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Here's a snapshot from a graphic recording at a workshop with CSU's One Health Institute as the team worked with the talented folks at New City to develop a rockin' communication strategy moving forward. People, Animals, Planet. Heck yeah. 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Remember...

Hello folks! 

This time of year many  of us are focused on the upcoming holiday season, whether we like it or not (Black Friday anyone? Here's what Spencer and I were up to.). This time of year is also a  wonderful opportunity to remember what's most important in life. For me, that's doing things I love (hooray visual facilitation!) and spending time with important people in my life to show them I love them. 

But let's also be honest: I really enjoy giving and receiving gifts too, despite my desire to avoid obsessing over material objects. It's really fun to see someone's face light up with surprise, or to unwrap a gift from someone special. 

So I'm not going to get preachy about shopping, instead I'm going to share an idea inspired by our peachy new kitten, Moxie. (Note: I, Karina Carty Mullen Branson, hereby swear not to make every newsletter about the cat. Maybe just a few of them.)

Moxie loves to play. She'll play with just about anything, and although there are feather toys and catnip mice to frolic after, Moxie enjoys chasing a ball made of crumpled foil or exploring a paper bag just as much. 

I'm sure you can see what I'm getting at with that little snippet -- fancy things do not always equal happiness. So during this Most Wonderful Time of the Year, I encourage you to think about what is really important for you, and set time aside for it. Maybe it's a simple hand-made card for someone special, or a voucher for a picnic with your sweetie, or a few photographs printed for your friends to put on the fridge. And, maybe get them that special something they've been hoping for all year too. Figure out how you want to show your appreciation, then go for it! 

Now, here's my take on doodling some presents...because even if it's a voucher for time together, there's nothing quite like opening a package just for you:

(Hint: click on the image below to see the larger version below)

What goes well with giving quality time? Appreciation!  Click here for a post I wrote on the attitude of gratitude at home and in work. They're even better together than wine an chocolate...although appreciating those things with a friend really creates a win-win here.

Now I want to hear from you!

What's the best non-material gift you've ever given or received? What inspired you about it?

Come on over to the blog and upload your story and Sketch in the comments section to share your unique style and inspire the community! And of course, any questions, epiphanies, and requests for future ConverSKETCHes!

If you liked this tip, please sign up for my emails and if you'd like, share this with people you know who give great gifts!

Thanks for tuning in! Keep drawing and making your beautiful, authentic mark on this world!

Cheers, Karina

Want make the most of your time with your team?  Get in touch with me to talk about how graphic facilitation boost productivity, understanding and action after an event.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The newest ConverSketch video is out now! The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is not an ordinary place, and so, of course its' Annual Report should be anything but ordinary as well! In this short hand-drawn video, find out what the Museum offers, how it's growing, and who helps support this incredible community resource. Head over to the Explainer Video page to see the full thing!