thought leader

The Secret World of Graphic Recorders: What YOU Can Leverage From Leaders in My Field

Happy September y’all!

Just about a month ago, I was in a place I know you’ve been too: Excitement-Overload. I was headed home from a most amazing gathering of graphic recorders and visual thought leaders: the International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP) annual conference.

These three days play a huge role in the way I approach the next 12 months of the year fueled by ideas and perspectives shared by people who are leading the field and experimenting with new ways of doing this work.

By far the best part of this conference is getting to meet and connect with people whose work I admire and, almost without fail, finding out that there’s a whole lot more to admire in them than their work.

I also had some realizations about the way I want to focus my energy and approach this work to better serve my clients, which I’ve distilled down to a few key insight blasts that can conveniently be used by just about anyone.

Inspired by the brilliant Brandy Agerbeck, I seek to “be a partner, not a commodity”. By that I mean I’m someone my clients continually seek to collaborate with because I’ve done work that makes them want to get out there and really make a difference. Not simply a pretty picture, or even only during the event, but with tools, creative ideas and solutions for using the charts I create long after the event too.

Another session that stuck with me was led by the incredibly intelligent and talented Stephanie Brown on how to be a better partner for facilitators leading change processes. We all came to the conclusion that being a good partner revolves around practicing solid preparation, stellar listening, and letting them know that I have their back, and know they have mine.

Steph also posed the idea that “Organizations grow in the direction from which questions are asked.” I love the idea of crafting questions and visually capturing responses that will help my clients leap forward through uncertainty and change.

Lisa Arora, from her deep well of experience and knowledge in this field, shared a question that has me rethinking the way I work with groups: “What do we want people to see, feel, and do?” This deceptively simple question now informs the way I capture different groups and sessions based on their response. Will this be part of a presentation, or is the process of capturing a difficult conversation the most important part of the work I do for a particular client?

As a Creative with a capital “C”, it can be easy to get “comparitis”. What I love about the community of graphic recorders is how generous and supportive everyone is. The last take-away I’ll share comes from Brandy again: There is room for everyone here. The most important thing to do is to be authentic.

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

Curious how to better utilize your graphic recording charts during and after the meeting?