In a nutshell… a visual facilitator is someone who uses pictures to help make sense of things that people say.
There are various styles that people use. Sometimes, they act as “blank canvasses”, simply reflecting whatever they hear. Other times, they “interpret” what is happening in the room, acting more as a facilitator, to bring hidden things to the surface.
My style tends to be more on the interpretive end of the spectrum, given the fact that I’m a trained crisis counsellor, and that I’ve spent most of my adult life working in and around corporates as an advertising writer, and process facilitator.
What can you expect when you hire me?
The One-Hour Briefing Session
Firstly, we’ll have a briefing session, where we meet, and I pick your brains about what you’d like my intervention to achieve for you. I work off a simple briefing structure, with four key questions…
- What are you “offering” your clients during the session? (In other words, why are they there? What message are you delivering to them? What’s in it for YOU? What’s in it for THEM?)
- What “evidence” to you have to prove that you are able to deliver on the offer? (This is the “meat” of what your event is dealing with. Expertise, experience, knowledge. It’s all about giving me enough information to be able to understand what makes your offering something worth the while of the delegates.)
- Who is your target audience? (A management exco team is very different from a sales team. They need different things from a session.)
- What is your takeout? What do you want your delegates to FEEL about your offer? What do you want them to DO about the offer? (This is where persuasion comes into the picture. It’s also where the “facilitation” side of what I do comes in. This question allows me to monitor the room for whether or not people are “getting” the message correctly. It also allows me to draw attention to the right things.)
In this meeting, you generally get to understand why I charge what I charge. My clients regard me as a creative partner in their event, rather than just some guy drawing stuff.
I don’t charge for this initial briefing session. This is a meeting of minds. It’s about us getting onto the same page.
Once we’ve had this meeting, you might decide that there’s other stuff we need to talk about. That’s billed separately, at my hourly rate.
My Pre-Production — Making Background Imagery
Every event I work at gets a hand made background image, unique to the event.
I also make a hand-drawn version of your logo, so that everything you see appearing from my stylus is consistent.
Sometimes, it’s necessary for me to do extensive pre-drawing of topics that will be talked about at an event. This often happens in cases where there are several talks that are less than 20 minutes long, and are packed with important information. While I’m super fast, and have the ability to listen analytically, when info is whizzing past at the speed of light, it’s sometimes better to have things prepared in advance. The need for this will be assessed in that initial briefing session.
The Event Itself
On the day of the event, I prefer to arrive AT LEAST an hour before things are meant to start. That’s because I like to set up my technology in advance, and have enough time to trouble-shoot any potential hassles. Also, I like to have the time and space to see the venue through the eyes of the delegates.
It’s important that I set my machinery up in a place that doesn’t block anyone’s view of the stage. And I also need to be in a position where I can clearly see and hear everything the speakers are presenting.
In almost 100% of the events I work at, there are TWO big screens. One of those screens is dedicated to the speaker’s PowerPoint presentation. And the second screen is a live feed of my computer.
I work on a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2. This is a super-specialised professional drawing tablet. And I have gizmos allowing me to cast my screen to a projector wirelessly. This means that everything I draw is shown on the big screen while the speaker is talking, and as I draw it.
When this happens, something remarkable happens with the audience members…
They pay close attention to what the speaker is saying.
A neurological process happens while my drawing is appearing live…
It’s called “productive cognitive dissonance”.
This means that as my lines appear, they form a sort of “puzzle” in people’s brains. They feel a physiological urge to reconcile my drawing with what they’re hearing the speaker talk about. This tendency for the human brain to “solve” puzzles is what drives learning. In a conference venue, this translates into the brain “solving” puzzles every few seconds. As my drawings “make sense” or “fall into place”, the viewer has an “AHA!!!!” moment.
Each time a viewer has an “AHA!!!!” moment, their brains reward them with a small dose of endorphins. They literally get pleasure out of the talk!
This cognitive dissonance effect is missing from traditional PowerPoint presentations. That’s because they lack sufficient “puzzle-ness”. Presentations are normally very predictable. So the brain doesn’t regard the slide as a challenge of any kind. The slide is really just a version of what they’re hearing. This is why you often hear the term “death by PowerPoint”. It’s because people get lulled into a state of non-concentration by many presentations.
Adding a live visual facilitator making sketchnotes makes the entire talk more engaging, more vivid, and more memorable.
And the best thing about it is that I’m “interactive”. Sometimes, a speaker will say something like, “Roy… can you draw us something to show what 75% looks like?” I’ll respond by making something up on the spot. Which further engages the delegates.
Live Streaming My Screen
For clients who are having a session that also has remote delegates, I’m able to live stream everything coming off my screen. This makes the event come alive for the remote viewers, since they’re seeing more than just a talking head.
Immediately After The Event
When each talk is over, I save my digital drawings to my DropBox folder. Clients have access to the folder, so they can make my images available to delegates instantly. I can also save everything to a memory stick, so you can use it as soon as you get back to the office.
Because I work digitally, at very high resolution, everything I draw can be printed huge. I’ve seen my stuff turned into boardroom wallpaper. I’ve also seen it printed on stretched canvas, to fill an entire entrance foyer.
The other benefit to working digitally is that I can isolate elements, and present them to the client separately from each other, using transparent backgrounds. This means that they can easily drop my images into presentation slides of their own, as supporting material.
The pictures I create can be put on t-shirts, popped into email newsletters for staff or clients, printed in annual reports, or even turned into animate avatars.
All of the post-production stuff would normally be discussed in advance, and billed for separately.
A Few Days After The Event
Some time after the event, I’ll send my clients a link to an online feedback survey.
I like over-delivering. (Yeah… it’s a cliche. But I truly attempt to over-deliver every time.)
So I try to find out three things from my clients…
- What should I STOP doing?
- What should I START doing?
- What should I KEEP doing?
I also like getting a testimonial and referrals from my clients, so that I can improve my marketing. It also helps the client evaluate whether or not my services have been a good return on investment.
The Next Event
Because everything I do is live, and interpretive, you’ll never see “more of the same” from me. Hiring me for two events in a row will not have your delegates falling asleep. Quite the opposite… whenever this happens, I get excellent feedback from delegates during the breaks.
Most of my clients are repeat business. That’s because visual facilitation works. It helps people understand complex ideas. And it helps those ideas stick in their brains.
My Mailing List
I’m putting together a sort of “email newsletter for people who hate getting email newsletters”. I’m one of those people. I can’t stand “signing up for a mailing list”.
So I want my “newsletter” to actually be useful to you. When you give me your email address, I’ll immediately send you a link to download my visual templates for Osterwalder’s VALUE PROPOSITION CANVAS, along with instructions on how to use the templates.
Then, once a month, roughly, give-or-take, I’ll send you some useful template that you can use at work. I’ll also nudge you to book me. But it’ll just be a nudge. A bit like what you see in the paragraph below.
So… please subscribe to my useful newsletter, and then I can be useful to you even if you never book me. (When I’ve set up the software, I’ll pop a link in here. In the meantime, please just zap me an email with your name and surname, the company you’re at, your cellphone number, your email adress, and whatever chatty sort of stuff you wanna type. And we’ll take it from there.
And NO… I will NEVER sell or give your details to anyone. And I won’t bug you.
I’m Ready For You To Hire Me
I know you’re ready to book me for SOMETHING. Okay… let me rephrase that less arrogantly… I HOPE you’re ready to book me for your next event. I want to make your content really soar!
So give me a call, or send me a Whatsapp (I prefer the Whatsapp, actually, cos I often can’t take calls, since I’m normally drawing stuff), on +27 74 104 6386. Or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Or email Jennifer on email@example.com.