Is Visual Facilitation enhanced by using digital tools?

Categories creativity, visual facilitation
All of the stuff I carry with me to ensure a great experience for my visual facilitation clients.
A good digital visual facilitation session requires more than just a tablet pc. This is my toolkit 'checklist' to make sure I have everything with me in my kitbag.

A friend of mine recently asked me whether a tablet pc enhances the visual facilitation/graphic facilitation experience for delegates. There are two ways of doing visual facilitation… digitally (on a tablet pc, or using a Wacom tablet), or analog (using paper and pen).

I work almost exclusively on my tablet pc, and I have many reasons for doing so.

These are some of the factors I’ve found that make the digital experience better for the delegates and for my clients…

1. It’s projected big. As big as the speaker’s PowerPoint. Which means that the visual facilitation is hierarchically equivalent to the PowerPoint.

2. It’s interactive. The speaker is able to address the visual facilitator live, and ask for things. This keeps the room very much alive.

3. It’s exciting for delegates to see a work-in-progress unfolding before their eyes. It literally keeps people awake and on the edge of their seats.

4. Seeing it unfold live during the talk creates multiple and ongoing *productive* cognitive dissonance. Delegates brains are *always* engaged, wondering ‘what’s next?’, ‘how does this picture resolve?’, ‘does the visual facilitator’s interpretation of this point match my own?’

5. The live unfolding of the pictures makes the take-home digital painting deeply meaningful, and already-familiar. A ‘traditional’ visual facilitator working on paper at the back of the room will photograph or scan the pic. And send that to the client. When delegates finally see those images, the topic is long-cold. And the images are new to them. They have no cognitive investment in the images. With the live version, delegates are *part of* those pictures. They *participated* in the generation of the pics. So they recognise them.

6. There are multiple NLP-anchor-points in a live visual facilitation. Because of the ongoing cognitive dissonance, delegates also experience ‘aha!’ moments, which ‘attach’ to parts of the painting and associate with the points being made. The points become meaningful to the delegate.

7. The digital experience is also very colourful. This is in contrast to the paper-based visual facilitator’s limited palette. Also, the digital illustration style can be varied tremendously due to the range of digital tools available to the visual facilitator.

8. The digital visual facilitator is able to zoom in and out of his or her picture, helping delegates to focus on specific points. And the digital canvas size can be varied. Also, things can be moved, erased, emphasised.