Trying out visual notetaking at a workshop

The more I draw, the easier and more fun it gets.

I helped facilitate a client workshop last week. During one of the exercises, the lead facilitator took notes on an easel. I needed to make a copy of the notes so that we could build on the results in a breakout session. I thought I’d experiment with visual note-taking on another easel, as I’d been having fun taking personal visual notes throughout the workshop.

The lead facilitator filled seven pages with phrases and keywords. I used icons and keywords to take notes, filling two and a half sheets. This was great because we were running out of wall space! <laugh> It was also easier for me to move the sheets to the next room—bonus!

I seem to be developing a quick visual vocabulary: trophies and gold stars for rewards, fire for enthusiasm or passion, and so on. That made it easier to keep up with the discussion.

Working with drawings made it easier to connect related ideas, too, because I could draw circles and connect them with lines in different colours.

Four people came up to me individually to compliment me on the drawings. Yay! =)

Next step: Instead of just using a grid of images+words (which is like using bullet points on slides! ;) ), I’d love to explore other ways to organize the information. Visual metaphors will be fun to try.

No public pictures of the session, but I’ll see if I can take visual notes for something public!

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  • dismantr

    You encourage me to note things with drawings also; I’m currently not that efficient on taking notes with drawings instead of text but if you seem to success into it – I guess I can also!

  • Suzanne

    I’m pretty poor as far as artistic skills go so haven’t really tried visual note-taking myself, however I went to this conference last year that had a lady come in and take visual notes for each speaker, you can see them at this site:

    These might give you some ideas :-)

  • Sacha Chua

    Indeed. Thanks! Those are cool. I would’ve probably never come across them without your mention!

    And don’t dismiss your artistic skills. It turns out that you can learn through practice… =)

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