entrepreneurship

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.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Work Day

Last newsletter I shared my new Kickass Guide to Productivity tool with you. This week I want to give you the Guide Version 2 as well as my top tips for getting the most out of the tool (and therefore your day…and therefore your LIFE!).

Version Deux is a PDF you can fill out digitally so if printing and writing isn’t your thing, you’ve still got a way to use this Productivity Guide.

To go along with this tasty PDF Version, I also want to share 4 tips to get the most out of the tool.

Plan Ahead: Take 5 minutes at the end of your day to plan your next morning’s routine and at least one topic for your Focus Sessions. My expert tip: I have a PDF version saved with my morning routine, start time, and what I’m grateful for already filled out. Then I save it as a new version with the date and at least one Focus Session filled in.

Use A Timer: Simple but effective. If I don’t set a timer for my focus time or my break time, I lose track and the tool immediately loses its power for me. The concept of being hyper focused for a designated period of time and knowing I’ll get a break at the end is what makes this thing work so well. If you just keep working or lose track of time, pretty soon it’s 4:30 and you’re on Instagram again…

Keep a Scrap List Nearby: If you’re like me, the moment you sit down and start to get into a project, something “urgent” pops into your mind. Instead of gratifying the urge to take care of it and get that instant gratification you’re craving, jot it down on a scrap piece of paper and take care of it during a break or once you’ve completed 4 Focus Sessions.

And Finally…Iterate: And yes, I’m using a fancy buzzword to mean don’t be hard on yourself. If you find yourself getting distracted or not getting finished in the time you set for yourself, it’s okay. That’s what the bottom of the sheet is for, to reflect and think about how to improve…then do it! Make two Focus Sessions on the same project, or make it a longer Session next time.

If you want this tool RIGHT NOW, sign up for my newsletter and you'll get a secret link to download both versions of the Guide for free!

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This week I’m back home working on video projects and supporting discussions on mental health for youth and children. But after a week in Las Vegas at ConEXPO, I wanted to share a graphic recording wall complete after a day talking with folks about solutions they’re seeking and trends they’re excited about in the industry.

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!

An artist, a scientist and an entrepreneur walk into a bar…

Hello!

Thanks to everyone who shared feedback on my last email. Based on what I heard, this week I’ll return to your regularly scheduled insights & drawing tips. My goal with these emails is to equip you with tools to spark ideas and creativity, so as always, if there are things you’d like to hear about or have been yearning to draw, please let me know!

When was the last time you laughed? Almost certainly it was with other people, and likely not even at a joke. It turns out that laughter is something we as humans use to bond with each other, rather than something we learn. This means it’s actually an instinct, and one that makes us feel closer with one another. Plus, it helps relieve stress and often improves your mood.

So, laughter can help us build great teams. But let’s be real here. Laughter isn’t something you can manufacture or fake, we know when it’s not genuine.

How can you create a space that inspires more laughs, and therefore more synergy between you and your team?

Try adopting a playful mentality. One way to cultivate this is with doodles and drawings. Approaching things from a place of playful curiosity tends to lead to a more optimistic and laughter-prone conversation.  The next time you find yourself tensing up and getting ready to defend something, see if you can take a moment, relax your shoulders, and ask yourself if you could take a more playful approach.

“Smile. It makes people wonder what you’re up to.” - Anonymous
 

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



You've got the team, I've got the markers. Click to get in touch about your next meeting or event that could use a touch of visual storytelling humor & magic.
 

Where in the World is ConverSketch

Research in Action! Last week I got to graphic record stories and insights from researchers at CU Anschutz Medical Campus who had spent a week immersed in two communities around Denver. They built relationships and heard needs and perspectives from people in historically underprivileged groups about how medical research could be better done and shared in their neighborhoods.

A Simple Way to Keep from FALL-ing Off the Crushing It Train

We’re entering the last few months of 2016, and I want to encourage you to take a step back from the day-to-day grind for a moment and think about the bigger picture you have for this year.

For those of you who have been with me since last December, this is the perfect time to revisit your Vision Board, or whatever form you might have articulated your goals for the year. If you haven’t written or drawn anything so far, take a few minutes to write down a few goals, ideas, or projects you’d like to mark “Nailed It” when 2017 rolls around.

Now ask yourself:
- What have you completed that deserves celebration?
- What’s still on there you haven’t finished, or maybe even forgot about?
- Are these things still relevant?

Take an honest look -- it’s cool, you still have ¼ of the year left! -- and decide which of these things are your top 3 priorities. Then, whip out that calendar. What do you need to do to achieve these goals? By when? I strongly suggest writing something down or making actionable goals to Get. It. Done.

This is what this looks like for me: I have my vision board posted on the wall at my desk where I see it every day. To take action, I like writing down a running list of my graphic recording & other projects and goals on a whiteboard, also next to my desk. Above that, each evening I write my top 3 priorities for the next day. This helps me keep things organized, and I get to cross things off a list when I complete them. Ahem, like so:

And now, some autumn leaves to inspire seasonal doodles. For fun try using little leaves instead of normal bullet points.

Click on the image below to see the larger version.

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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



Need someone to help your team define shared goals...then actually move forward together? Click to get in touch about your next meeting or event that could use a touch of graphic recording magic.

Where in the World is ConverSketch?

The US Fish & Wildlife Service is getting their story on. Here's one of many charts from the four day workshop at the end of September. 

How to Improve the way You Listen: Tips from a Professional Listener

In the age of The Device, it’s easy to be distracted by the chirp of a notification.  Which makes a conversation filled with intentional, focused and active listening a real treat to be a part of.

Graphic recorders and facilitators are essentially professional listeners – we are with the group to hear what individuals saying, listen for larger themes and reflect ideas back to the group in a clear way. We need to listen to body language and tone, and to seek to clarify and surface underlying ideas and patterns so the group we are supporting can move forward effectively and maintain their energy and momentum long-term for positive change.

This. Is. Hard. And I don’t just mean the drawing.

The way we approach listening in conversations can monumentally affect the outcomes, and yet this is something we often do subconsciously. Every person, is, of course, biased in some way. Many times, this is seen as a flaw or weakness, yet refreshingly, Anthony Weeks takes a different perspective: “Our subjectivity is our way of creating value.”

As graphic recorders, paying attention to the way we approach our work through listening, observing and intentionally focusing on applying listening filters based on the needs of the client (Do they need us to visualize facts? Emotions? Patterns? Systems?) can profoundly influence how and what we capture, and therefore the group’s outcomes.

As human beings, being conscious of the way we listen can profoundly influence our relationships with one another, and therefore our sense of connectedness and satisfaction in our work and personal lives.

Some ideas to deepen your listening practice:

- Give people time and space to process and continue by waiting three seconds before jumping in after someone has paused.
- Remember, listening is not the same as waiting to speak. Be present and ask questions to encourage clarification or exploration.
- Make space for vulnerability by not judging immediately. This doesn’t mean you must always agree. Let the person know you appreciate/love them but you may disagree. A nice way to think about this is to be hard on the idea, not the person.
- Be sure you are in a state of mind to listen well, because it takes energy to be present, withhold judgement, and be able to draw connections between ideas.

Click on the image below to see the larger version.

ConverSKETCHes_Listening-September.jpg

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




Deep listening, synthesis and illustration for multiple hours at a time to support your group? 
 

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Where in the World is ConverSketch?

This week I'm working with the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Their communications specialists from around the country are getting together to build connections, develop storytelling skills and share tools. Here's a few tips from Michael Smart that will be included in a Summary Map of all four days!

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?