Have you ever attended a presentation during an event and noticed someone near the front of the room, off to the side, drawing on a large sheet of paper or whiteboard, ultimately creating something that looks like this?
That person was essentially visualizing what they were hearing - executing a real-time translation of the audio from that presentation into a combination of images and text. They were using a public facing practice that utilizes visuals to capture the essence of information and offers openness, transparency, and accessibility to participants and attendees.
The term for this practice is called Graphic Recording. It’s also oftentimes interchanged with another term - Graphic Facilitation.
These practices differ not only in approach but in the role that the visual practitioner plays in the process.
A live, visual capture of content discussed or presented during an event through keywords and images. Graphic recorders do not interact with event participants or attendees, and instead, they listen intently to create engaging imagery. They play a very important role in supporting groups and official facilitators by portraying information in a unique and image centered manner.
A Graphic Recorder:
Primarily focuses on synthesizing information into visual summaries that incorporate the use of many images.
Begins with a blank canvas and captures key concepts and ideas as they are presented in real-time.
Does not interact directly with, guide conversation, or facilitate discussion in a group. Instead, they work independently and silently during a live event.
A facilitation method that uses visuals to help a group to see their thoughts, ideas, and contributions to a discussion, meeting, or workshop. The visual content captured during graphic facilitation is a representation of not just one point of view, but it is inclusive of ideas and thoughts shared by multiple members of a small group. Ultimately, this facilitation helps a group to brainstorm, analyze, and reach consensus.
A Graphic Facilitator…
Primarily focuses on engaging with a group - guiding and facilitating group discussion while capturing visuals that depict what is shared.
Takes on a large role in pre-event preparation discussions with the client to understand needs and objectives.
Oftentimes utilizes large, pre-drawn visual templates to fill in during the discussion, meeting, or workshop.
If you’re interested in contacting graphic recording or graphic facilitation specialists for your next event, here are some consultancies based in the NYC areas to get you started: