plein air painting

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

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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.

Here's Why I've Been So Quiet Lately

With a warm heart…hello!

July and August have been packed with adventures spanning opposite ends of the spectrum… Starting and ending with two incredibly detailed explainer videos to be prepped and filmed in half the time it normally takes. I’m super stoked to share these videos because I experimented with new techniques and styles. They are scheduled to come out early in September, and you all will be the first to know when they are fresh and viewable!

In the midst of the video-making came a trip to attend the annual IFVP conference (aka the gathering of My People).  In my next newsletter I’ll be sharing my top insights from the meeting of the thought leaders and innovators I was lucky enough to draw, learn, and laugh with for three days.

After returning with a full mind and heart and nailing the second explainer video, gears shifted entirely when we packed up and trucked off to Idaho to raft the Middle-Main Salmon River for 11 days. Yep, that meant no cell service. No internet. We didn’t even have a satellite phone. Just the music of the river, the canyon wrens, our friends’ guitar and fiddle, someone calling “fish on!” and a few hot springs bubbling up along the way. Seriously.

It always amazes me how easy it is to fall back into the rhythms of our most basic needs: food, shelter, staying safe. And, more deeply, the need to connect genuinely with the earth, with ourselves, and with those around us. While it may feel counterintuitive or stressful to completely unplug, especially as a business owner, each of us that DO can immediately feel the power of giving ourselves this time to be present, disconnect and make room for some white space. That time to let ideas mull in the background and bubble up to the top of your very own mental hot spring can give rise to some of our most important and powerful ideas.

I always bring my paints on river trips and this time I was more intentional about making time to draw. Trust me, between rowing, unpacking the boat and happy hour, it takes discipline to get the paints out! Here are a couple of my favorite plein air sketches for you to get a sneak peek this week before I go posting them on Instagram. If you haven’t already, follow me there @ConverSketch for more behind-the-scenes graphic recording and watercolor shenanigans.

Adieu for now. It’s good to be back.

Click on the images below to see the larger versions on the blog.

I'm on a boat! Here I am in my plein air river studio -- the 12 foot raft I got to row down the Middle-Main Salmon. Lots of gratitude to my amazing husband for outfitting me with the sexy boat + setup for this trip!

A post-trip shot of a two page spread of our camp where Indian Creek (on the right) joins the Middle Fork of the Salmon (on the left).

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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




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What I Do To Get Inspired

Yesterday I got to go hang out with my Mom and do some plein air watercolor painting in my parents’ lovely back yard.

Mom has wanted to get more into art but didn’t know where to start, so I said I’d bring down my paints and we could play around with them. We were dabbling around and as I shared small tips that came to mind, I realized something about all the paintings I really am proud of.

Every painting that I’m absolutely in love with I’ve done when I’ve been outside, unhurried and un-distracted.  The African animals I did in Kenya, the river trip camp scenes done while perched on boats or rocks in canyons, even the flowers I’ve painted at home when I gave myself the afternoon “off” to go paint. Without my phone.

It can be easy to get stuck in the same routine whether you work at home or in an office, whether you’re a code developer or a graphic recording artist.

It’s easy to feel guilty about taking 15 minutes or a day away from a project that’s not flowing to focus on something else, whether it’s a different kind of project or taking your notebook and a pencil and heading outside to do sketching of whatever you find, wherever you find yourself.

It’s easy to write about how important it is to “unplug” in this day and age. But we have all felt the beneficial ripples of creativity and rejuvenation that show up in surprising ways after taking some time to “plug in” to nature and give ourselves some quiet time without the calendar, the messages, the screen. And while you’re at it, leave the self-judgment somewhere else too.

This week's tip:

When I need inspiration, I go out in nature. Head outside and look for signs of natural beauty around you. If you live in an urban area, take a close look at the colors in the flowers in a planter, or the bright veggies at an outdoor market. If you’re able to get out to a rural area, find some wildflowers or a stream and listen for different kinds of birds to inspire you.

Wherever you are, take a moment to really look around you and let the present moment wash over you. 

So how do I draw that?

Want to learn to draw a little person like this one? Find out here

Now I want to hear from you!

What do you do to get inspired? How are you using this Sketch? And of course, any questions, epiphanies, and requests for future ConverSKETCHes!

Upload your drawing in the comments section below to share your unique style and inspire the community!

Last week I finally got to meet a long time "pen pal" and inspiration of mine, the one and only, super-talented Abby VanMuijen! If you haven't seen her work, you need to check it out right now. We got to enjoy some quality Colorado beverages and exchange drawing tips, ideas and lots of jokes. Here we are looking at one of her epic explainer videos.

If you'd like to work with me to create a one-of-a-kind explainer video for your organization, please get in touch!

Did you like this drawing tidbit? 

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Thanks for reading! Keep drawing, and doing what you do to make the world a better place!

Cheers, Karina


 


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