explainer video

Ways of Listening

Listening is one of those things that is consistently an area for growth in my life, both personally and professionally. I’ve written about listening tips before, and I feel fortunate that in my job it’s necessary to practice and hone my listening skills.  

For me, listening is a combination of presence, patience, staying open, authenticity, and trust. It is about being fully engaged and caring about another person, regardless of whether they’re part of your inner circle, or a presenter at a conference you’ve never met. By listening deeply, you are sharing with that person something incredibly valuable: your attention and therefore your energy.

As a graphic recorder, different situations call for different ways of listening. I have known this on a mostly subconscious level throughout my practice, however last month at the Visual Practice Workshop hosted by Kelvy Bird she shared some framing around listening that has shifted the way I approach the work for my clients.

“Levels of Scribing” from  Generative Scribing  by Kelvy Bird

“Levels of Scribing” from Generative Scribing by Kelvy Bird

Sometimes during rapid-fire presentations, what’s most important is to capture images that reflect the content to help people remember and engage with the ideas.

Other times it’s more important to be listening for context and how ideas relate to one another to illuminate systems or relationships.

And other times, often over longer periods of time, it’s most important to be with the group as they surface and reveal the “highest potentiality for the systems we serve”. This might be ideas that are fuzzy or still developing, or to be listening for what is not being said. This requires presence, a whole-body experience tuning into not only the mind but also intuition and empathy.

Something I love most about graphic recording is that I’m always learning, continually improving. It’s never boring, that’s for sure. And it’s also never perfect. But that’s the wonderful bit about being human, the imperfection keeps things interesting.

So here’s to practicing and deepening our listening together.

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 kind of listening and visual capture can best serve your group?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

medellin parrot.jpg

Medellín, Colombia: Next week I’ll be in Colombia for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). I’ll be working with the Fellows to help them design the future of the program and how to work better intergenerationally as researchers. Looking forward to sharing updates!

The Wildfire Research (WiRē)Team Videos Go Live Tomorrow! This video series has been in the works since our kickoff workshop in November, 2016. A collaborative team of social scientists, fire researchers, practitioners and multiple agencies, find out how this team helps communities become more fire adapted (or what “fire adapted” even means!). Here’s the first one for you all as Early Bird subscribers!

My Biggest Takeaway from a Workshop in Visual Practice Might Surprise You. It Sure Surprised Me.

As a visual practitioner, I attend a LOT of meetings and workshops. Last week I flipped from business-as-usual (I mean, as usual as it can be for a visual practitioner) to step into a workshop as a participant rather than facilitator or recorder.

Hosted by Kelvy Bird and Alfredo Carlo, I found myself surrounded with people who I consider thought leaders and experts in the field. Over the course of a few days, I’ve begun to make a profound shift in the way I approach this work, and on a deeper level, provided conditions for me to examine how I show up in this world and what that means for the work I do for my clients.

The Visual Practice Workshop exceeded my expectations and pushed me to think more critically than I have in a long time, which means it’s going to take more than the couple of days I’ve had to process. I expect that what I’ve learned will be infused in these emails/posts moving forward, and I’m excited to catch and ride this wave of learning and pushing myself.

Most of all, I’m looking forward to what the things I’ve learned and explored this week mean for my clients. Applying new models to facilitate understanding of the group and their ideas, moving into a deeper practice of partnership with my clients, and cultivating/holding awareness in and around my groups are filling my mind and heart with potential.

For now, what has settled in most deeply is the power of Breathing. Probably not what you were expecting, right? Me either – life is funny that way.

ConverSKETCHes_2_Breath.jpg

Whether it’s taking a deep breath at the beginning of a session I’m scribing to truly listen to the bigger message before jumping in, or taking a deep breath to allow myself the time and space to think at a more systemic level about ConverSketch or the challenges my clients are tackling, or reflecting on the cyclical nature of systems and what we can learn from them. There is much to learn from breath and I’m ready to dive in with you!

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

Cheers, Karina

Interested in testing out how to apply some new approaches to this work?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

 

Phoenix, Arizona: Last week before heading to Portland, I spent the day with the ASU Technology leadership team to continue supporting them as they build their organizational culture.

Phoenix, Arizona: Last week before heading to Portland, I spent the day with the ASU Technology leadership team to continue supporting them as they build their organizational culture.

Illustrated video for NPS: Today I’m in the studio for the National Park Service filming another public service announcement about how to fish smart and be healthy. You can watch the other  finished PSA’s here.

Illustrated video for NPS: Today I’m in the studio for the National Park Service filming another public service announcement about how to fish smart and be healthy. You can watch the other finished PSA’s here.

ConverSketch is Six!

This week marks the sixth year since ConverSketch first came into the world wielding markers, chalks and insights.

Each year I enjoy putting together some of the top lessons or patterns emerging in my world (here’s the link to last year’s, and the year before that). This year I’m taking a slightly different approach, sharing insights and areas I intend to explore more in the coming months.

Three of my biggest insights this year:

  • Cultivate Intuition. Whether it’s trusting I know what’s most important to capture while graphic recording or making decisions on which direction to take my business, I know that listening to my intuition leads me to where I need to be. This is a consistent thread I find myself returning to over and over again.
  •  I’m a Thought Partner. More than only a fun diversion at a conference, I have found most joy and positive impact with my clients when I approach the work as a Thought Partner bringing deep value to their team and goals.
  • Relationship-Building for Success. This year in particular highlighted several groups who were new, forming, or had never worked together in person. Hosting an off-site or retreat with everyone in the same physical space underlined the power of face-to-face, human connection and relationship-building for successful events.

Three things I want to explore in the next year:

  • Listening Lenses. How can I tune my inner radio to the frequency that will best serve the group? What level of listening is most needed to do that? 
  • Weaving Story. How to I hone my skills to listen for and weave together a visual that will tell the core of the group’s story? How can I better engage with my video clients to ask the questions that will really help them tell the core of their story, and connect with their desired audiences?
  • Systems Scribing. This year I want to practice moving around, listening for different chunks of information, and using the entire sheet to map the system to bring forth connections to serve the group best.

I am in awe of the amazing groups I get to partner with. It is an honor to visualize their ideas, be trusted to listen and hold the energy of the room, and distill it into a visual map that will be carried forward to remind them of the work they’ve done and connections they’ve made.

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

Ready to make your even more meaningful and memorable with some visuals? Let's chat!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Denver  - Last week I had the honor of capturing and holding space for an organization going through some major changes and growing pains. Partnering with a talented and experienced facilitator, I really understood the power the visuals have to help people feel heard, let go, gain clarity about the future, and move on.

Denver - Last week I had the honor of capturing and holding space for an organization going through some major changes and growing pains. Partnering with a talented and experienced facilitator, I really understood the power the visuals have to help people feel heard, let go, gain clarity about the future, and move on.

Newest ConverSketch Illustrated Video – Cabrillo National Monument

This is the second installment of the “Drawing Change” series I’m doing in partnership with the National Park Service Climate Change Response Program. Learn about ocean acidification and how aquatic animals are adapting in a changing ocean.

In the Studio!  This week I’m filming the first of a new series of videos about wildfire risk management and how scientists are using models and aerial maps to help managers plan ahead to more effectively manage wildfires when they do happen.

In the Studio! This week I’m filming the first of a new series of videos about wildfire risk management and how scientists are using models and aerial maps to help managers plan ahead to more effectively manage wildfires when they do happen.

Happy New Year from ConverSketch

Hello!

I hope this finds you rested and enjoying time with loved ones this holiday season. I am full of appreciation for the incredible clients I’ve had the pleasure and honor of working with this year. I am in awe of all the groups doing important work I’ve been in the room to support visually.

Even though the holidays can be a busy time, I love the quiet reflection afforded by long nights or the muted quiet of the earth blanketed with gently falling snow. Each year around this time, I like to spend time reflecting on my business and life: what worked, what I’d like to change, and putting my vision for the next year on paper – here’s a post about my visioning process and inspiration.

I also have the pleasure of taking students from Colorado State University on a two-week volunteer tourism trip to Samburu, Kenya each year over their winter break. We leave tomorrow and will be spending our time learning about a completely different culture, working with a Women’s Village called Unity to build huts or shade structures (whatever they need!), teaching in the primary school (more or less), working with youth who have received scholarships to attend secondary school and celebrating recent graduates, and taking children on wildlife-viewing drives to talk about the importance of conservation. This place and these people are incredibly important to me and as part of ConverSketch’s values, I serve on the advisory board of the Samburu Youth Education Fund which provides the aforementioned scholarships, as well as make donations each year to supporting the youth and entrepreneurial endeavors of Unity Women’s Village and their beading.

unity-womens-village-samburu-kenya

Although the access to connectivity and technology in this rural community has grown over the seven years I’ve been visiting, wi-fi still isn’t reliable or pervasive, and I won’t have cell service while we’re in Archer’s Post. I’ll be responding to any messages after January 12th, 2018. Thanks in advance for your patience!

Wishing you and yours a New Year filled with Abundance, Joy, Light, Laughter, Adventure and Love.

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

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Arizona State University Technology Office  I spent the day in Tempe working with the new leadership team for ASU’s Office of Technology as they defined their vision, values and how they wanted to work together to move from a group to a rockin’ team.

Arizona State University Technology Office

I spent the day in Tempe working with the new leadership team for ASU’s Office of Technology as they defined their vision, values and how they wanted to work together to move from a group to a rockin’ team.

In the Video Studio  I’ve been working with the Wildfire Research Team (WiRe) for the past year developing a series of videos about their work to help communities become more fire adapted. The last video of the series is in the final stages of approval, and I’ll look forward to sharing the series in the beginning of 2018!

In the Video Studio

I’ve been working with the Wildfire Research Team (WiRe) for the past year developing a series of videos about their work to help communities become more fire adapted. The last video of the series is in the final stages of approval, and I’ll look forward to sharing the series in the beginning of 2018!

Here's What A Successful Illustrated Video Partnership Looks Like

Since the birth of the RSA videos for TED talks, illustrated videos have become ever-more popular to explain everything from complex science topics to why the viewer should hire a particular business.

Videos range in detail, quality, style and effectiveness. They’re a solid investment, which is why I’ve outlined some keys to making sure you make the most of your illustrated video partner. You can also read about how to get the most out of working with a graphic recorder here, and what the video making process looks like here.

ConverSKETCHes_9_How to make the Best Videos.jpg

Know Your Purpose. This is the most important key to a successful video. If you don’t know exactly what you’re asking viewers to do as a result to seeing your video, make that a priority before moving forward. A call to action might be asking them to contact you or your organization, maybe it’s to educate them and encourage them to find out more about a subject, or to enroll in your program. Maybe it’s to consider adopting a new or different behavior. Whatever it is, make sure that is clear to everyone involved and that whenever you need to make decisions, you come back to this purpose.

Know Your Audience. Second only to knowing your purpose, knowing WHO it is you want to see this information is paramount. It’s SO tempting to say “My audience is everyone!” or “The ‘general public’”. However, it’s been proven time and again that if you’re talking to everyone, you’re connecting with no-one. In other words, when you have a specific group in mind, and you tailor your message to what matters most to them, the likelihood of getting them to respond to your Call to Action increases significantly. It’s really flipping hard. You to think about things from THEIR perspective, not what you think they want. Why should they care? What matters most to them? I work with you to understand this, and craft a story around it to resonate with your audience and make them want to know more.

Be Clear About Expectations. This include details like time frame, number of drafts and revisions agreed to, who needs to be involved in revisions, video length (for the love of all that is focused, get it to 2 minutes or less), what services you’re seeking and what your team will provide. For example, in my contracts I include 2 rounds of revisions to the storyboard, and one round of tweaks to the rough cut once I’ve filmed. I can be involved throughout the entire process and deliver a full-fledged final video, or do the storyboarding, illustration and filming, then hand off the files to your team to finish up.

Understand All the Moving Parts. Just as it’s important to make sure you’re clear on the video process, realizing all the different ingredients can help you know what you can provide and what you need in the package provided by your video making partner. Aside from the script, the storyboard and then final illustrations, the background music and voice over narration have a profound impact on the tone and energy your video has. Taking the time to engage with the right voice talent and select an appropriate music track contributes to your video’s success.

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

I see that sparkle in your eye…the one that means you’ve got a story to tell. Go ahead, click that button down there…

Where in the World ISN’T ConverSketch? (it’s been a busy week)

Filming & Editing One of Those Sweet Videos You Just Read About!

The Western US has been dealing with juuuust a couple of little  wildfires  this season. I’ve been working with a team of scientists and practitioners at the Rocky Mountain Research Station to develop a video series about helping communities become more adapted to wildfire. Video number two got filmed this week!

The Western US has been dealing with juuuust a couple of little wildfires this season. I’ve been working with a team of scientists and practitioners at the Rocky Mountain Research Station to develop a video series about helping communities become more adapted to wildfire. Video number two got filmed this week!

Graphic Facilitation in Maryland with the Board of Melwood

Melwood is a non-profit organization that trains and supports people with differing abilities to do work in landscaping, horticultural, and custodial work, as well as providing therapy and other services. We spent two days on the Chesapeake Bay being inspired by speakers and discussing the future and priorities for Melwood in the next five years.

Melwood is a non-profit organization that trains and supports people with differing abilities to do work in landscaping, horticultural, and custodial work, as well as providing therapy and other services. We spent two days on the Chesapeake Bay being inspired by speakers and discussing the future and priorities for Melwood in the next five years.

A Little Giving Back in Berthoud …

Although I'm particular about the ways I give back, infusing visual thinking and note-taking in schools is something I support. So,  last week I spent a day in the Library at Berthoud High School sharing the basics of visual note-taking with students of all ages. As you can imagine, by the end, I felt exhausted, and also energized by their enthusiasm and laughter seeing that doodling can be useful. Big shout out to Carin Barrett for making it happen!

Although I'm particular about the ways I give back, infusing visual thinking and note-taking in schools is something I support. So,  last week I spent a day in the Library at Berthoud High School sharing the basics of visual note-taking with students of all ages. As you can imagine, by the end, I felt exhausted, and also energized by their enthusiasm and laughter seeing that doodling can be useful. Big shout out to Carin Barrett for making it happen!

…And a Little More Giving Back for Public Lands

Here’s a digital video I created as a donation to the Outdoor Alliance, an organization that does work I deeply care about: protecting our public lands from being privatized. As an American citizen, all public lands are YOURS, you have a right to enjoy them! Here’s a quick video explaining public lands and actions you can take to support them.

Systems Thinking with the One Health Fellows

I’ve loved being a partner to the One Health Institute at CSU, and on Saturday the first cohort of Fellows gathered to begin their five year journey together. I am looking forward to seeing how their trans-disciplinary work moves One Health forward.

I’ve loved being a partner to the One Health Institute at CSU, and on Saturday the first cohort of Fellows gathered to begin their five year journey together. I am looking forward to seeing how their trans-disciplinary work moves One Health forward.

The ConverSketch Illustrated Video: Process In Images & Words

This week’s blog is going to be fairly straightforward and focused on the in’s and out’s of the video process when I work with clients. Different folks do it differently, and for me, it’s important to be clear about the process and expectations, which I’ll write more about next time.

Below you’ll find a sketch of what it looks like to go through the full video creation process with me. Each project and client is different, so we tweak things. But here’s the basic flow, with a few notes below.

ConverSketch Illustrated Video Process_Small.jpg
  • Scoping meeting/call (what’s the goal? Who’s your audience? What style? Time frame & budget?)
  • Script writing responsibility and number of revisions determined with client before project begins.
  • Storyboard revisions again, TBD with my client, but usually I stick with two rounds of revisions on storyboard sketches. Once sketches are approved here, all imagery is FINAL and cannot be changed.
  • Rough Cut revisions include changes to timing, volume, VO, music, color, movement speed, etc.
  • You get the Final Cut and we share that puppy!

At this point, you might be wondering how long it takes to create one of these. And the maddening answer I'll give you is...it depends. To give a ball-park, in an ideal world, between 4 and 8 weeks.

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

Now that you know what it takes…

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This week I filmed the second video in a series about wildfire research to help communities become more adapted and resilient to wildfire. Which, is kind of a big deal in the  Western US this year …

This week I filmed the second video in a series about wildfire research to help communities become more adapted and resilient to wildfire. Which, is kind of a big deal in the Western US this year

...And I'm headed back to Utah tomorrow to spend some time visioning with Deans at the U! More to come!

What They Don't Tell You About Storytelling

Storytelling is a deemed an “irresistible” and powerful tool for strategic thinking and marketing in business these days.

Good stories need to keep our attention -- which is a rarity in a time of sensory overload and instant gratification – by creating some sort of tension that ensnares the emotions and intrigues the audience. Good marketing uses the power of story to go beyond what a company does or makes to share a deeper understanding of the companies’ Why.

But just because we’re telling a story, does that mean the strategy is working?

Over the past year, I’ve been drawn to the concept of storylistening, which embodies what graphic recording is all about.

Taking a moment to reflect, “storytelling” assumes that if we speak a story, people will listen to it. But people are busy, they’re not going to listen to you unless they have a reason.

During strategic planning or visioning, successful processes allow space for leaders to listen to the past, connect it with the present, and create space for people to see the future. Using graphic recording supports the group to tell a story that helps everyone see the Vision, to own it, live it and make it happen.

A good storyteller tells a tale with the audience, reacting and shifting the story as needed. Listening, visually capturing, synthesizing and adjusting with the group is one of my favorite parts of graphic facilitation. Sometimes it looks messy, but if it helps the group tell and listen to their collaborative story, then we’ve done good work together.

How can you give people a reason to listen to your story?

conversketch-graphic-recorder-good-stories

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

Want to get everyone at your company telling the same story? Already have a story, but want to spice it up and share it with the world?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The American Society of Safety Engineers

I just want to say you are awesome and you take our brand to the next level! We love you!!        - Alex Scovil, Gates Corporation

I just want to say you are awesome and you take our brand to the next level! We love you!!        - Alex Scovil, Gates Corporation

Fort Laramie Illustrated Video

The first Drawing Connections to Climate Change video is now out! Find out how a National Historic Monument in Wyoming is feeling the impact of a changing climate, and share your ideas to create a different future! CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO WATCH THE VIDEO.

Use These Techniques to Diffuse A Tense Scenario at Work (or at Home)

One of the exciting things about being a facilitator is that you get to work with people. And people are not always predictable, which may leave you in the midst of a conversation that heated up real quick, and all eyes are on YOU to see how you’ll handle the situation.

You’ve got to think quickly, act compassionately, and get the group back on track without saying something that will completely shut individuals or the group down. (And at this point your client is super pumped they made the savvy decision to bring in a facilitator for this meeting instead of having to be the one in the hot seat.)

What do you do? This week I’m sharing some tips from the lovely and talented Carrie Bennett on how to “Unload Loaded Language”.

  1. Stay calm!  This isn’t about you.  It’s your job to help people hear and understand one another, not weigh in on the merits of their ideas. 
  2. Dig through the negative to find what the person DOES want.  Buried in their statements is something even their “opponent” can probably support in some way (try to find the interest behind their position).  The more you know about the issues, the more easily you can do this but you don’t need to be an expert.  Listen for what’s important to people.
  3. Translate the loaded language into something more neutral. Try to preserve the interest and check back to get the speaker’s agreement before you go on.

Give it a try…how can you re-frame these statements to be more neutral?

  • Melanie is such a slob.  I can’t even work with her because I’m always having to clean up her messes.  I’m not her maid!
  • You know, these freeloaders aren’t even trying.  They’re just happy to live off the government and let the rest of us foot the bill.  If they really wanted a better life, they would get off their @$$*$ and get a job.
ConverSketch learn to draw unloading

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 a professional to help guide your group and unload things if they get spicy?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The first week of April we got to take some time off and float through Cataract Canyon in Utah. I love rafting because I get to disconnect completely, be present, and enjoy the beauty of the Canyon and my friends. I always try to sneak in a bit of plein air watercolor, and waiting for the shuttle was a perfect moment to do a quick sketch.

The first week of April we got to take some time off and float through Cataract Canyon in Utah. I love rafting because I get to disconnect completely, be present, and enjoy the beauty of the Canyon and my friends. I always try to sneak in a bit of plein air watercolor, and waiting for the shuttle was a perfect moment to do a quick sketch.

Since we got back from Cataract, it's been full on video production here at ConverSketch HQ. Here's the one I finished up last week -- and hopefully you'll get to see another one in the next post as well.

Introducing...A Kickass Visual Guide to Productivity Just for You!

Happy Wednesday, people!

This week I’m delighted to share with you a productivity tool I’ve been working on and refining this year for a very special group of people. People who think critically and creatively, who care about others in their lives, and who want to make this world a better place through their unique gifts and contributions.

Yep, I’m talking about YOU!

As a creative freelancer, I’m my own boss. Which is phenomenal in many ways, but it does mean that nobody else is there to hold me accountable or be an accountability buddy. I mean, Moxie does try to help, but tends to lose interest or fall asleep when I try to get feedback from her.

So, as a result of working from a home office and having some very productive days, and some not-so-productive days, I’ve been checking out focus and time management tools from successful business people and beta testing them to see how they work for me.

One theme I’ve seen is that breaking work into chunks helps me stay focused. Just doing one project, even if it’s only for 15 minutes at a time, and writing down things that pop into my mind to take care of later, rather than jumping from task to task. Another is to take time to appreciate what you’re grateful for – whether or not it’s directly related to work or the project. Then there’s always the principle of learning from your mistakes – learning from what didn’t go as well as you’d hoped. But I’d take it one step further, and suggest that it’s also important to learn from what DID go well too, and do more of that! And finally, giving yourself time to relax and refresh between intense focused periods. For many people, taking some time to move around is an integral part of processing information and improving memory!

So this week I’m going to share with you a tool I’ve adapted from the work of other entrepreneurs and thought leaders and given a visual spin.

And I’d like to ask you a favor: Will you help me make it better? If you use this tool, will you let me know what you love and what you’d like to see changed to improve it? Iterative design, my friends…iterative design. And the collective brain power, experience and critical thinking of this group is exactly the ticket, I think!

*Right click to download!

 

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Currently: Las Vegas, Nevada for CONEXPO! I’m here with Gates Safety illustrating expo attendees’ big ideas, concerns and solutions…right before their eyes!

Gates Safety ConExpo Graphic Recording

I’m also tickled to share the newest Video from my studio. This one is for the CSU Alumni Association, and I’m proud to say it’s the first video I’ve produced from script to final edits!