Inspired in part by computer engineers who began to organize information in a new architectural manner, graphic facilitation was born out of the belief that visual representation is vital to clear, effective group communication.
The graphics we create for meetings, seminars, workshops and conferences serve as a visual thinking tool to help get everyone on the same page and arrive at new insights. When ideas are recorded visually, participants can literally see and examine what facilitators, presenters, panelists and other participants are talking about.
These days there is a greater understanding of individuals’ thought processes than ever before. Growing numbers of visual leaders around the world are heading the transformation in how we dialogue with teams and think during group meetings.
The pay off from the practice of working visually on a regular basis is BIG! You actively improve your personal cognitive and comprehension skills. Or as David Sibbet, Founder and President of The Grove Consultants International and graphic facilitation pioneer known for his series of books on Visual Meeting methods explains, through the practice of thinking visually, you have the chance to “upgrade” your own mental models.
In his latest installment, “Visual Leaders: New Tools for Visioning, Management and Organization Change,” Sibbet provides businesses with strategies to incorporate writing, drawing, diagramming and visualizing” in their meetings to boost communication and effectiveness.
According to Sibbet, a visual leader is someone who:
- Practices being more conscious of his/her visual communications (P. 73)
- Helps pick the right display formats to support what he or she is talking about (P. 42)
- Harvests multiple different metaphors/mental models for the gifts in each (P. 55)
- Encourages people to talk about the metaphors, analogies and mental models they are using to make choices about strategy and situation (P. 56)
And perhaps most importantly, someone who “Gets to know the native understandings of their audience and followers because they understand that those are the channels for connection.” (P. 104)
What we really love is Sibbet’s overall message that visual thinking skills are for everyone; it’s just a matter of developing your talent by using your skills regularly.
At Get the Picture, we’ve built our reputation on delivering visual meeting services to companies through our consulting engagements. And as the “visual revolution” gains momentum, more and more organizations are reaching out to us to learn visual facilitation/meeting methods.
Now, we are training entire teams to develop visual leadership skills so they can transform their own unique work processes into visual ones.
Check back for our next post to hear how an entire division within the Canadian Government is incorporating visual facilitation into their work, and how they’re growing as visual leaders each and every day!