Graphic Facilitation

What is Graphic Facilitation?

Graphic facilitation (GF) is the use of rapid drawing to communicate ideas visually to a group of people or to record ideas that a group of people are creating in a visual form. What makes visual communication superior is that it sticks to the mind more strongly, packs a lot of information into one single entity that can be absorbed by the mind in one go and that it creates connections between elements easily and clearly. Using drawings also makes concepts much clearer and reduces ambiguity.

Coffee Making Process

When I attended a 3-day graphic facilitation workshop the trainers asked each of us to draw the process of making coffee on an A3 piece of paper. After completing this activity we found out that each of us had a different view of the coffee making process. It meant something different to each one of us. From this simple activity we realized that such a simple concept as coffee making could have a different meaning to each of us. Putting it in drawing helped us realize that. Similarly, when graphic facilitation is used in meetings it helps clarify what the speaker means by his words instead of having each attendee in the meeting interpreting those words in a different way which can cause misunderstanding resulting in bad communication.

GF During Workshops

Likewise, graphic facilitation can also be used during workshops to boost communication, improve retention and enhance engagement. The trainer or facilitator uses rapid drawing while he is explaining concepts in order to make them clearer and easier to digest. The trainer may even encourage participants to use drawings themselves during activities such as group work presentations.

Graphic facilitation can also be used during conferences or unconferences to keep a visual record of what is being said during the conference sessions.

Visual Language

Wh-questions

Graphic facilitation has its own visual language which is composed of a number of elements. Those elements attempt to answer the 5 basic wh-questions: who; where/ when; what ; how and why. Each of those questions has a specific set of drawings to answer it.

Icons

In addition to those 5 basic sets of drawings which answer the 5 main wh-questions, graphic facilitation also employs icons heavily. Again icons are drawn rapidly in order to communicate universal things such as “cell phone,” “laptop,” “Internet,” “Wi-Fi” and even abstract concepts such as “peace,” and “love.”

Metaphor

Moreover, visual metaphor can also be used in a drawing in order to enhance communication of meaning instantly as one takes a first look at the drawing. Finally, graphic facilitation employs the use of templates in order to make graphic recording faster and easier.

Conclusion

Graphic facilitation and graphic recording are techniques that can help boost communication among people during meetings, conferences and training workshops. If graphic facilitation was to spread among people and businesses a lot of deep problems that are rooted into bad communication would be greatly reduced.

Where else do you think graphic facilitation can be used?

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Name Tags for Participants

Name Tags are Useful

Name tags can be created for participants to use during a training session. A training workshop in which participants do not know one another beforehand can benefit from using name tags. Highly interactive training benefits from name tags as participants assemble to do group work and other activities.

Traditional Name Tags

Name tags can be small pieces of paper tucked behind a plastic badge with a pin in it for easy pinning to a shirt.

Informal Name Tags

An easier and less formal method is to write names on circular pieces of thick paper, make a hole at its top and slide a thin rope from that hole. The name tag can then be easily worn around the neck. The advantage of this type of name tag is that it does not use a pin which might harm clothes or even wound a participant. The disadvantage is that it could easily flip on the back side thus hiding the name. This drawback can be easily remedied by writing the name on both sides.

Simplest Name Tags

In cases where participants have assigned seats and tables that they will not be changing or leaving, a simple folded sheet of paper can be used to display their names by standing the sheet of paper on the desk.

Improved Communication

Name tags are not just a way to improve communication among participants but it also helps the trainer communicate with participants in a better way. If the training includes a part where the trainer is also responsible for evaluating participants or providing feedback about them then name tags become a necessity.

No Name Tags

Despite the usefulness of name tags a training session might still be successful without them if the trainer attempts to memorize participant names say during the icebreaker and there are not many other interactive activities or participants already know one another well before the training.

In what other ways can name tags be made and for what other reasons can they be used?