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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!

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.

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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.

Should You Hire a Graphic Recorder? Ask Yourself These Questions to Decide

As tempting as it is to impress upon you, my lovely readers, that really there’s never a bad time for a graphic recorder, some events and meetings are better suited than others to have visual support. So, to help you decide if bringing in a graphic recorder is a good idea, here are some guiding questions for you and your team:

What are my goals for this event?

Do you want to co-create a strategic plan? Brainstorm and prioritize new ideas? Bring together a new group and hope they leave as a team? Share the state of the science for your field?  If there’s complex information, you want to get a group on the same page, or keynote presentations that can inform future discussions, graphic recording is right for you.

It may not be a good fit if there will be back-to-back presentations with lots of slides and little or no time to discuss the content*, or you’re only looking to get caricatures of everyone on the team. A graphic recorder’s number one goal is to capture key content in a way that makes it more accessible to the group, which often means an illustration, but not always. And if there will be simultaneous sessions you want captured, then plan to hire a team of recorders.

*An exception would be if you plan to build on the content later.

Why am I considering a graphic recorder?

Do you want to engage people during technical discussions? To keep them collaborating after the event? To work through a complex challenge? To make your event or meeting stand out amongst a sea of others? Finding someone who has the right amount of technical understanding and can design work that will truly support the group as they move forward can be integral to the success of the group.

Will we need to look at or build on this later?

Graphic recording provides succinct maps of the conversation or presentations that are actually interesting to look at and build on. I also work with each of my clients to create a tailored list of suggestions for how to leverage the charts after the event. What action (if any) is desired after the event? How can you keep people engaged and motivated around the meeting ideas? How will people communicate what they’ve learned to those who weren’t there? Graphic recording can be an extremely powerful tool not only during, but long after the event when used well.

How well does this group know each other? Are they good at collaborating already, or are they newly formed? Is there history?

Graphic recording can be a power boost tool for established groups, and can be even more powerful for new groups just forming. When people see their ideas and know others in the group also see them, they feel heard, and move from thinking of it as “my idea” to “our ideas”. Facilitating this kind of collaborative thinking early on in the team’s existence can save time, build trust, and get things moving faster, even if there is “history” or “baggage” between some group members.

Am I looking for someone to design the process & be a neutral lead in the discussion too?

If so, you’re looking for a facilitator, which is great! Graphic recorders are wonderful team players and work well with facilitators to more deeply understand the process and create visuals to support the group.

should-i-hire-a-graphic-recorder-decision-chart

One more thing…

Keep in mind that if you’ve roped in a good graphic recorder, the sooner you engage with them in the meeting design process the better as we can help you figure out where in the agenda graphic recording can provide the most for your participants. Of course, we’re really flexible and good at adapting on the fly, so if it’s a last-minute decision, we can usually roll with it and still rock your world.

At this point, if you happen to be wondering what the difference between a graphic recorder and a graphic facilitator is, you’re in luck, because that’s what I’ll be writing about in a couple of weeks!

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

Cheers, Karina

Sounds like I could use a graphic recorder for my next event!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

Bikablo – One More Spot!   We’ve just opened one more spot for the 2-day immersive Bikablo Visual Facilitation training August 15-16 in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Click here  to find out more and register!

Bikablo – One More Spot!

We’ve just opened one more spot for the 2-day immersive Bikablo Visual Facilitation training August 15-16 in Fort Collins, Colorado. Click here to find out more and register!

The Cache la Poudre Canyon   Last week I had the distinct pleasure of a new experience with my US Forest Service clients – I got to camp out with them before graphic facilitating a mostly-outdoors retreat! An inspiring and beautiful location can go a long way for inspiring innovative and collaborative ideas!

The Cache la Poudre Canyon

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of a new experience with my US Forest Service clients – I got to camp out with them before graphic facilitating a mostly-outdoors retreat! An inspiring and beautiful location can go a long way for inspiring innovative and collaborative ideas!