karina

Crossing the Divide – How to Find Common Ground Among Diverse Perspectives

Whether it’s national politics or internal to your organization, we all hear stories about polarized viewpoints, and the challenge of working across silos.

At the same time, we know that diversity is not only healthy, but also builds resilience when things don’t go as planned.

So how do you harness the inherent tension that bringing diverse perspectives, and potentially combative ones, together to build a strong, shared path forward?

Here are four suggestions for finding common ground from my experience as a graphic facilitator:

-          Create space for context setting and relationship building. Often overlooked or dismissed as “wasting time”, building in time at the beginning of the event, as well as throughout, to clearly outline the “why” of the meeting and for participants to get to know one another allows for more ease when conversations get difficult.

-          Put more time than you think into developing questions to surface shared values, such as “What is important about the work we do?” can provide a window into the group. Having a few open-ended questions like “What should we do about __________?” provide space for participants to surface concerns or solutions the planning team might have missed, but are integral to moving forward successfully.

-          Build in less structured time. This is another piece that often feels like a “waste” of time, but is vitally important to cultivating trust and creativity. This is especially true if much of the agenda will be presentations or panels – you’ve invested in bringing all these important people together to work toward a goal, now give them the freedom to use those brains and hearts to do the work!

-          Draw it out with the intent of surfacing shared ground. Graphic facilitation or recording is a tool to leverage to literally show the group where they’re in agreement. Partnering with a graphic facilitator who can work with you to listen and capture through a particular “lens” to help surface shared values or tensions helps the group keep track of complex, moving parts to build a shared picture of what’s important.

Conversketches 7 Common Ground

Have you been looking for common ground on an issue? Click that button to explore how we can leverage visual tools for lasting 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 Signature_100.png



Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The Colorado Front Range:  Working with a public health team and their partners as they evaluate an assessment to use the data to support the community, and hospital managers to think more deeply about building trust in their teams.

The Colorado Front Range: Working with a public health team and their partners as they evaluate an assessment to use the data to support the community, and hospital managers to think more deeply about building trust in their teams.

In the Studio: Painting up another explainer video for the US Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS). This video will be available in October, but for now, here’s another look at a video created for the RMRS last year.

Which of These 5 Common Meeting Problems Would You Like to End?

Think to the last meeting you had. How did you feel when you left? Was it everything you imagined (and more)…or not so much? Today I’ve pulled together some of my least favorite meeting situations, AND, because I’m a big fan of being proactive, there are a few ideas to help address these issues.

Someone keeps bringing up the same point over and over again.

This tends to be one symptom when someone doesn’t feel heard, so making sure everyone can see how their ideas fit into the bigger picture of the conversation often nips this behavior quickly and easily.

You leave with your head spinning and you have no idea what you just did for the past 55 minutes.

When content is complex or there’s uncertainty about moving forward, conversations can quickly get convoluted. Partnering with a graphic recorder who visually maps the conversation in real time illuminates connections, questions, and momentum. The map also shows the group exactly how much they DID accomplish over the course of the meeting, and where more work is needed to move forward.

You can’t get a word in edgewise because someone dominates the conversation.

Graphic facilitators can help you design creative and engaging meeting agendas to include different ways of communicating. They also have smooth strategies for making space for all voices to be heard and valued (see also: first bullet).

You had a ridiculously collaborative, creative, breakthrough meeting…Then everyone scatters and nothing happens.

This one is tricky and deceptive, because it’s difficult to track and recognize. Ask your visual partner to work with you to create ways to continue leveraging the charts after the meeting. One way to clarify next steps and expectations is to include time to map out who’s doing what by when.

You don’t know why this meeting is necessary.

Help you team be clear on exactly what you plan to accomplish by creating a visual agenda that you can send out ahead of time and/or hang up during the meeting; Having clear goals and expectations will set you and your meeting up for success. For example, if someone thinks the goal is brainstorming but their ideas keep getting shut down, they’ll probably shut down too. Or, if your team needs to prioritize and make decisions, but new ideas keep getting thrown in the mix, people will often get jaded or confused about what you’re doing and, you guessed it, shut down.

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 are your meeting pet peeves? Let’s hear ‘em, then craft some solutions to get your Meeting A Game back!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Lamar, Colorado:  Rural Philanthropy Days was all about connecting organizations and rural communities with resources and support. We launched the event with a World Café to hear what matters most to participants.

Lamar, Colorado: Rural Philanthropy Days was all about connecting organizations and rural communities with resources and support. We launched the event with a World Café to hear what matters most to participants.

Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming:  Working on visioning with a multi-generational family of wealth with a 100+ year family business and history of philanthropy.

Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming: Working on visioning with a multi-generational family of wealth with a 100+ year family business and history of philanthropy.

Who Can Help Your Team Surface Shared Values?

I love getting to collaborate with a lot of different groups of people working toward many different goals. Most of these groups contain people who have different worldviews, perspectives, ways of thinking.

Sometimes it's challenging to do meaningful work together if you think differently. That’s what leads to the most powerful teams and solutions.

But it can also be beyond frustrating. What if you can’t come to consensus? What if consensus isn’t actually a tool that will serve this group and their goals? What if your team stays surface-level because they don’t feel comfortable disagreeing? (Hint: I wrote a post about the benefits of disagreement here).

This is why groups choose to work with a graphic facilitator.

I can help you design processes to build on your team’s differences to use them as a strength, then draw out the conversation to surface shared ideas or values, then co-create and illustrate a plan that everyone can see themselves in. Get ready for action and riding the wave of momentum!

conversketch-surfacing-ideas-and-flowers-graphic-facilitator

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

Have the seed of an idea? Let’s design something to help your team surface shared values.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Vail: At the annual DigiDay Publishing Summit where I captured trends and solutions for the ever-changing world of publishers like the Daily Beast, HuffPost and Gizmodo.

Vail: At the annual DigiDay Publishing Summit where I captured trends and solutions for the ever-changing world of publishers like the Daily Beast, HuffPost and Gizmodo.

Fort Collins: Working with the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences as they create a Research Strategy for the next five years.

Fort Collins: Working with the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences as they create a Research Strategy for the next five years.

Rafting: As those of you who have subscribed for a while know, I enjoy playing outside and floating on rivers. This week I’m out of the office on a spring float down the Ruby/Horsethief/Westwater stretch of the Colorado River. This photo was taken by the incredibly talented  Spencer Branson .

Rafting: As those of you who have subscribed for a while know, I enjoy playing outside and floating on rivers. This week I’m out of the office on a spring float down the Ruby/Horsethief/Westwater stretch of the Colorado River. This photo was taken by the incredibly talented Spencer Branson.

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!

Talk Nerdy to Me: The Science Behind Why Graphic Recording Works

If you’ve ever experienced graphic recording, you know it’s an extremely valuable tool to support groups to do their best thinking. But what is it that’s making the meeting feel so productive, insightful, and energized?

Today, instead of my usual explanation (It’s magic…see, I even just added a Unicorn to your strategic plan!), I’d like to share some of the neuroscience behind the benefits of having a graphic recorder or facilitator supporting your group.

Visual thinking is innate. From the Harvard Gazette: “…the study found that even when [participants] were prompted to use verbal thinking, people created visual images to accompany their inner speech, suggesting that visual thinking is deeply ingrained in the brain.”

Thinking visually helps us remember information better…

  • “People who were encouraged to doodle…were able to remember 29% more of the information on a surprise quiz later,” Wall Street Journal
  • Dual Coding Theory: Information is more likely to be understood and remembered when presented using images and words.
  • Cognitive Load Theory: We have a finite amount of “brain power” to apply to critical thinking, remembering, or being creative. In fact, our brains can remember up to seven chunks of information before we start letting other things go. Using visual cues helps free up our minds from keeping track of those chunks and instead focus on connecting ideas, remembering key information, and creative thinking.

…and to express our emotions more deeply…which, in turn, results in a stronger memory and likelihood to retain information. An article by the Wall Street Journal cited a study that showed more complex emotional communication and processing from doodles than written responses: "Their pictures communicated more than just a text or a regular photo. They were more personal, more intimate."

We all learn best in different ways. There are four ways in which people learn; auditory —prefer to listen, visual—prefer to see, verbal—prefer to speak, and kinesthetic—prefer to move or do some physical activity. Graphic recording can support all four modalities as people hear the speaker, see the images and words, and get up to see the drawings closer, or walk around the view them.

Everyone wants your attention, which means visuals are more likely to be looked at and engaged with. “Recent studies say that nowadays, content is browsed 94% more often if it contains images and is shared 40 times more often in social media if it contains images.” - Visual Facilitation Cookbook

Side note: I could geek out on this all day – in fact a large chunk of my master’s thesis was devoted to using visual thinking to support understanding of the complex science of climate change. For more articles and publications, check out my  Resources  page. If you want to talk more, please  let’s do !

Side note: I could geek out on this all day – in fact a large chunk of my master’s thesis was devoted to using visual thinking to support understanding of the complex science of climate change. For more articles and publications, check out my Resources page. If you want to talk more, please let’s do!

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

Think this sounds pretty neat? Let’s put science into action for your organization.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Feeling the ENERGY in Utah.  This week I'm back in Salt Lake capturing content for an Energy Democracy Symposium at the University of Utah. Starting tomorrow...so for now here's a watercolor card of the Irish countryside I made for my Da.

Feeling the ENERGY in Utah.

This week I'm back in Salt Lake capturing content for an Energy Democracy Symposium at the University of Utah. Starting tomorrow...so for now here's a watercolor card of the Irish countryside I made for my Da.

What do Romance Novels and a Piano Have to do with Endless Creativity?

One of my favorite things to do while in traffic is to listen to “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me”. Somehow, no matter how stuck I am, I end up laughing and feeling good. And when someone like Nora Roberts is interviewed, in addition to adding a few years to our lives from laughing so much, we’re also blessed with some casual little Insight Blasts from a creative genius: she’s had 198 books on the New York Times best-seller list.

When asked about writer’s block, or feeling like she’s run out of every possible romance or thriller story possible, Nora blithely responded “Well, there’s 88 keys on the piano, but do you run out of music?”

88-keys-to-creativity-from-graphic-recorder

Another way of saying this, from Hugh McLeod:

hugh mcleod creativity is a drive

It takes more than just sitting down for 5 minutes and expecting something brilliant immediately that will be perfect for your Instagram feed. It’s about taking time and being present with your work. And it’s about setting high expectations for yourself and holding yourself to them.

Of course, it’s a balance between knowing when to take time away from a project, and when to push through because you need to put in the work to become amazing at what you do. And you want to be amazing because you’re the ONLY person on this planet who can give what you have to give.

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

Looking for someone to capture your team's creativity?

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Thanks to you, the only available spots for the Bikablo + ConverSketch training are on the Waitlist. If you’d like to be added, please let me know ASAP.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of capturing presentations of young philanthropists at Berthoud High School as they presented about various non-profit organizations in the community doing work to support youth. They had visited with each organization and then had to decide if and how much funding from a grant they wanted to allocate. I  graphic recorded , and to my delight, the teacher shared with me they had the illustrations made into plaques for each of the organizations awarded funding!

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of capturing presentations of young philanthropists at Berthoud High School as they presented about various non-profit organizations in the community doing work to support youth. They had visited with each organization and then had to decide if and how much funding from a grant they wanted to allocate. I graphic recorded, and to my delight, the teacher shared with me they had the illustrations made into plaques for each of the organizations awarded funding!

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.

It's Coming...Bikablo + ConverSketch Graphic Facilitation Training!

Good morning!

I’m going to start off today’s email with a special announcement! This is something that’s never happened in the United States before. Something that could completely change the way you think about how you work: 

I’m hosting a 2-day graphic recording training with Bikablo®!

This summer, for 2 whole days, two very talented people from the German-based graphic facilitation training company Bikablo will be right here in Fort Collins teaching 14 lucky participants their Visual Ninja Secrets! Bikablo has been training people across Europe to be better visual communicators for over 15 years. I’m really excited because we are tailoring the session to our participants by designing time to think about how you can bring what you’re learning back to your job and life.

This is the perfect training for anyone, whether you’re a professional artist or feel “artistically challenged”. For people who shudder at the idea of drawing in front of people (gasp!) – Frank and Carola will start us off with the very basics. If you’re a practiced illustrator, learn how to leverage your skills to work fast and support groups to do their best thinking.

Spots are already filling up, so click on that nice button and get yourself signed up today!

Curious about their methods? Here’s my take on the Bikablo way to draw a light bulb:

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This week I’m so grateful to be re-charging in the desert with a week-long rafting trip in Cataract Canyon. You all know I believe balance is the key to successfully and whole-heartedly running a business, and that nature is at the heart of my creative wellspring. I’ll hope to share some watercolors from the Canyon next time…but for now I’m delighted to share a highlight reel from the Gates booth at ConEXPO earlier this month. Although it’s not only about the graphic recording, you’ll get a chance to see me in action getting to meet awesome expo attendees from around the world and illustrating their ideas right before their eyes! A win-win – Gates got some great on-the-ground market research data, and attendees saw their ideas come to life – something completely different than anything else at the 130,000-person Expo!