Journal

Using Sketchnotes in the Classroom

One part of my working life is teaching college students Human Resources.  This semester I have five sections of an introductory course.  There are learners from all years, but over 75% of the class are first year students in their first semester of college.  

In the past, I’ve found it hard to get people in the habit of note-taking.  Sometimes students will arrive at class without paper or a pen and other times they’ll open laptops for ‘notes’ but then spend their time surfing sports scores or updating their FB status.  

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Three Questions to Curb Perfectionism

I'm a recovering perfectionist and it still pains me to share work that I haven't poured over until I am 1000% confident it can be seen by another human.  For years, I lived with real discomfort when  work had to be 'handed in' (given to a client, submitted to a colleague, signed off by leadership) and I wasn't done with it.  I found it hard even to share an unpolished draft of something, even to people I trusted and admired.  Now, I share things that are very drafty with much less anxiety.  What changed?

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WDS Talk - Saving Your Creative Soul by Scott Berkun

There were a number of great talks at WDS this year, and one of my favourites was given by Scott Berkun (@berkun and author of many books including Confessions of a Public Speaker).   It resonated with me because he spoke so clearly about the damning effects of our narrative bias.  

Scott argues that when work is challenging or we don't achieve success, we're caught off guard.  He says that we have a narrative bias - on some level, we expect our lives to follow the narrative structure of books and movies.  When we are denied our storybook ending, we don't shrug our shoulders with a 'c'est la vie', we are confused.

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Creating the Scott Berkun Sketchnote

I love art exhibits where the rough sketches of a painting are framed along side the finished version.  I feel like I get to know the artist through their abandoned ideas and last-minute additions.  Those exhibits fuel my fascination for how things comes to be and who creates them.

This spring, as I was reading Austin Kleon's manifesto Share Your Work and rereading Brené Brown's Gifts of Imperfection, I realized that sharing our processes - along with the miss cues and mistakes - can be very powerful.  Scott Berkun analysis of the Narrative Bias at this year's WDS reminded me of Austin and Brené's messages.  They have convinced me that we can start to undo our bias towards perfection by showing our work in progress - the stuff that is half-done and half-good.

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Putting (a little bit of) Art in my Sketchnotes

There are bazillions of design books and even more ‘learn to draw’ books, so I recommend browsing the shelves of your local library or bookstore to find ones that appeal to you.  Some of my favourites have been in the kids’ section (which, when you see some of my drawings, makes sense). 

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WDS ProBlogger Academy Sketchnotes

The World Domination Summit is the perfect excuse for us to enjoy ourselves in Portland for the weekend.  This year, I signed up for the pre-conference ProBlogger Academy and spent a day learning the ins and outs of blogging from some amazing people.

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What I Put in my Sketchnote Bag

I've recently paired down the amount of art supplies I drag with me to do sketchnotes live during a talk.  At present, the pens and markers will fit in a medium-sized zippered bag - which is an accomplishment since I have a propensity to over-pack.  

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World Business and Executive Coach Summit (WBECs) Sketchnotes

I was very honoured to be an official sketchnoter for the 2014 World Business and Executive Coach Summit (www.wbecs.com).  This web-based conference happens each year in the late spring and features three weeks of webinars from thought leaders in the coaching world.  Ben Croft and his team also offer pre-conference workshops that are free for anyone who signs up. 

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What I Put in my Workshop Suitcase

In addition to sketchnoting, I do graphic facilitation.  I used to juggle multiple bags, a roll of big paper, handouts and various computer devices as I schlepped to workshops.  Then I realized that I could simply put everything into a carry-on suitcase with wheels.  I felt a slight sense of superiority when I no longer arrived with half-soaked materials (this was Vancouver, after all) or when I could easily produce an extra set of post-it notes without unloading the contents of three book bags. 

I have finally compiled a list of the contents of the wheeled bag:

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Resources to Get Started in Graphic Recording and Facilitation

I think of graphic recording and facilitation as sketchnoting’s older twin sisters; bigger and more established.  I’ve been using graphics in my workshops and courses for more than twenty years because they really accelerate learning. A few years ago, I decided to get serious about graphics and completed training in graphic recording (live-sketching of what is happening in a meeting or workshop), graphic facilitation (interweaving visual elements into facilitation) and graphic coaching (using visuals within the coaching process). 

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