Let's Get Visual!
Have you ever been in a meeting and thought “a visual would be helpful to create shared understanding?” According to a University of Waterloo study*, when you combine words and pictures together we retain 65% of information. When not paired together we only absorb 10% of words or 35% of pictures. So how do we help our teams retain more information? We get visual!
Graphic recording is a fantastic tool to hold in your toolbox. It allows you to capture real-time information in a visual form, helping your teams reach that 65%+ retention rate. According to a Royal Roads University course*, graphic recording is used to increase:
Engagement: graphic recording helps to hold attention, aids in changing our thinking patterns
Comprehension: creates shared understanding, organizes and simplifies information, allows room for new perspectives
Memory: move the dial on retention rate to 65%+
I couldn't agree more! From my experience as a Scrum Master, I have found that graphically recording activities, such as visioning or goal setting, assists in generating ideas and creating shared understanding.
Now, if you are reading this and thinking “That’s great, but I can’t draw.” You are not alone. Prior to the Royal Roads University* course I too had that same thought but when you lean into the basics, you quickly learn “I can draw.”
So, how do you start building your graphic recording toolbox?
Below are some of the basics I started with at the Royal Roads University* course: fonts, people, layouts. There are a few more areas to explore but for the purpose of this blogpost I’ve sketched out three categories.
There are many variations of fonts but when considering what font type to use, ask yourself:
What context am I representing: a title, paragraph or side note? Visually it’s nice on the eyes when you use a distinguishably different height for each category.
Who is the audience? Is it appropriate to be playful with the font type?
Is the font style readable?
Some folks use squares, ovals, lines or a combo to represent individuals. It’s all a matter of preference. Find your style by practicing from others’ style. Eventually you’ll land on a style that fits your creative license.
Prior to a graphic recording session, it can be helpful to ask yourself:
What actions might I need to represent?
How can I represent diversity?
Can I use thought bubbles to add more to the story?
The flow of your drawing will help tell the story by moving people visually around the page. You can create your own layout or reference one of the many examples of effective layouts referenced online. Here are a few example layouts I found helpful from The Sketchnote Book.*
Put It All Together
Put the font, people and layout together to capture the story.
Prior to a session, sketch the skeleton of the layout you’ll be drawing in real-time. Having an idea of the flow upfront allows you to focus on listening and drawing content rather than where to capture the elements of the story. Here’s an example:
Start with these basics. And then practice, practice, practice! Find and embrace your own style. It’s ok if your lines aren’t perfectly straight or your people are stick figures, it’s about capturing a story and ideas in a visual format.
The Kyooreas Team would love to see your drawings. If you share on LinkedIn, please tag us so we can celebrate and share with our community.
Local to Victoria, B.C.? Try a graphic recording course at Royal Roads University:
Sketchnote for sketching layouts:
The Doodle Revolution:
Mini lessons through Neuland (Amazing marker company):
There are many wonderful tutorials on YouTube. Simply search “graphic recording” and get sketching!
Waterloo study: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282658904_The_Drawing_Effect_Evidence_for_Reliable_and_Robust_Memory_Benefits_in_Free_Recall