The story behind my discovery of graphics

The story behind my discovery of graphics

When I talk about my journey to visual thinking I speak about when I moved to Edinburgh in 2002 and started working for a disability organisation.

It was whilst working at this organisation that I received training in Person Centred Planning – a facilitation methodology that has hand drawn graphics at its heart. I still use many of the principles of Person Centred Planning in my training today.

What I don’t often speak about is the reason I started working for disability organisations in the first place.

Having completed a Masters Degree in Ethics I felt uncomfortable living in an academic bubble where I could muse at length about the practical applications of concepts such as paternalism, autonomy, and consent.

My thesis – The Dignity of the Undignified – was inspired by my disabled sister Fiona.

I was (and still am) fascinated by groups of people who are deemed to be on the fringes of capacity (and in turn, society) for one reason or another. Having spent 4 years studying philosophy it was time to step away from the books and get some practical experience actually working with disabled people. (The plan was then to go on to do a PhD – a story for another day..)

The trajectory goes a little like this:

The Story Behind My Discovery Of Graphics

Here’s to my sister Fiona and to all inspiring sisters!

 

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2021 dates for Secrets of Simple Graphics online and the new programme Draw Out Your Future have now been confirmed.  Take a look >> 

Infographic: 10 ways simple drawings bring joy into our lives

Infographic: 10 ways simple drawings bring joy into our lives

Hello and welcome to another September week. It’s that time of year where I feel inspired to draw autumn leaves, mugs of hot chocolate, and thick, stripy socks.

In the meantime, I’ve been reflecting on all the little ways simple drawings can bring joy into our lives.

Here’s what I came up with. Hope you like it!

[Infographic] 10 Ways Simple Drawings Bring Joy Into Our Lives

How do simple drawings bring joy into YOUR life? I’d love to know. Tell me in the comments and I’ll include your ideas in version 2 of this infographic 🙂.

 

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2021 dates for Secrets of Simple Graphics online and the new programme Draw Out Your Future have now been confirmed.  Take a look >> 

 

 

Video: How to use the draw function in PowerPoint

Video: How to use the draw function in PowerPoint

I’m a big fan of blending hand drawn graphics into existing ways of working. I often see how overwhelmed people feel when thinking about how to incorporate hand drawn graphics into their work.

Start with what you’ve got. If you currently use PowerPoint slides, for example, think about how you can make a small change to include hand drawn graphics in your slides.

One quick way to do this is to make use of the (often underutilised!) draw function within PowerPoint.

I’ve created a video that talks you through exactly how to do just that.

This is something you can do either in advance of your presentation or – even better – during it. Click on the image below to play the video and learn how:

How To Use The Draw Function In PowerPoint

Tell me how you get on using the PowerPoint draw function in the comments.

 

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2021 dates for Secrets of Simple Graphics online and the new programme Draw Out Your Future have now been confirmed.  Take a look >> 

 

Meeting our needs

Meeting our needs

Ever since being trained in the use of Person Centred Planning MAP and PATH tools back in 2002, I’ve always been a fan of using visuals for planning. I use visual planning in my own business, as well as with individuals and teams.

More recently I’ve been considering all the different ways we can use visuals for personal development.

I’m developing a series of visual templates and wanted to share this one with you.

You may be familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The author and coach Tony Robbins has developed Maslow’s theory to define what he calls the ‘6 Human Needs’. To help us to consider these needs and how we are meeting them – and in fact to take a step back and address more fundamental needs first – I have created this visual template.

Here’s how it works. Print out the template so you can fill it out. Feel free to add more doodles and drawings to clarify your thoughts as you work through it.

Meeting our needs visual template

Instructions for using the template:

1. First consider whether the basic needs of sleep, water, exercise and sunlight are being met (Tick the box underneath each need for all that apply). It is much easier to tackle change, make plans and move forward in life when these fundamental needs are being met.  If there is any need here that is not being met put energy into resolving this before moving on to the next stage.

2. Now from 1-10 score the level at which the following needs are being met:

  • Certainty/Comfort: The need for a level of predictability and security in life. At its basic level this is about knowing we have a roof over our heads, food on the table and people we can rely on, and that none of these elements are under threat.
  • Variety/Uncertainty: Variety is the spice of life (or is it?!) This is a need for change, spontaneity, risk and adventure, all of which are important in terms of adding interest and excitement in our lives.
  • SignificanceThis is the need to have meaning in our lives. We all want to feel important and to know that we matter to others and that we are are worthy of respect.
  • Connection/Love: The need to feel connected to and loved by other people, to feel part of a community and have close relationships.
  • Growth: This is the desire to grow, to develop, to learn new things, to stretch ourselves, to improve and to accomplish goals.
  • Contribution: This is the need to add value to the lives of others, to contribute to something bigger than ourselves, to make a difference.

Once you have considered the extent to which your needs have been met add each ‘score’ to the relevant section in the template. You may wish to draw a line between each score to highlight how balanced (or unbalanced) your needs currently are. For example, if you scored 6 in each area when you draw the lines between each one the result will be a very balanced wheel, however, if you scored 2 in some areas and 8 in others, for example, your resulting wheel may be a little wobbly.

3. Select three needs you wish to focus on (these don’t necessarily need to be the lowest scoring) and ask yourself what small steps you can take in the next week to move forward in each of these areas.

Reviewing our basic needs on a regular basis not only supports us in creating foundations from which we can make plans, it can also help to inform those plans. The next time you are feeling stuck or having difficulty moving forward consider printing off this template and taking time to reflect on your needs.

I hope you enjoy this visual coaching template (note: this template is for personal use only). I’d love to get your feedback! Hit reply to this email to let me know in the comments what you think.

 

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2021 dates for Secrets of Simple Graphics online and the new programme Draw Out Your Future have now been confirmed.  Take a look >> 

Case Study: Secrets of Simple Graphics Online with Rachel Weiss

Case Study: Secrets of Simple Graphics Online with Rachel Weiss

We caught up with Rachel Weiss, who attended Secrets of Simple Graphics Online in June 2020, to ask some questions about her experience.

What motivated you to attend the training in the first place? What problems were you experiencing that you hoped the training would address?
Our work at Rowan is intangible since we deal with emotional intelligence, ie managing one’s own thoughts and feelings our responses to others’.  I hoped that simple graphics would help me illustrate our work more vividly than just talking about it.  I wanted tailor-made images rather than searching for a suitable, copyright-free image online.  And I wanted to have some fun!  I hoped that creating graphics would become a new lockdown hobby.

How are you using what you’ve learned?
In several ways!

  • I’ve used simple graphics to illustrate our COVID-19 precautions for returning to face-to-face counselling and coaching
  • At business networking events, I’ve used basic graphics to support my 60-second spiel on Rowan Consultancy services
  • I’ve also used simple graphics as part of my slides to illustrate talks on Mental Health Awareness

What kind of results are you getting? What kind of feedback are you getting?
On the COVID-19 poster, the graphics help to keep the human touch, in what could otherwise be a forbidding list of injunctions. In networking events, people have told me that they will remember Rowan’s services better because of the graphics.  The graphics helped me stand out from the many other businesses each giving their 60-second overview.

What would you say has been the overall impact of using visual thinking/simple graphics in your work?
I feel embarrassed about sharing my very imperfect drawings, so it has made me be vulnerable and pushed me out of my comfort zone, which is good for me since I am used to being competent.  The graphics make our training slides stand out from the usual stock images and grab the audience’s attention, even if it’s just to marvel at my chutzpah in sharing such scrappy graphics. When we return to face-to-face work, I believe that drawing simple graphics live will make my training more engaging and also give participants time to think while I draw.

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the training?
If you want to learn a new skill, enhance your training or talks, and meet interesting people, then sign up for Emer’s Secrets of Simple Graphics course. The more you put in, the more you will get out, so allow time to practice each week and take the risk of sharing your imperfect drawings.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you Emer for a great course, your mixture of support and challenge helped me grow. I improved my graphics skills and countered some of my self-critical thinking and assumptions about competence. It was particularly encouraging to learn that a graphic only needs to be 30% accurate to be recognisable.

 

Rowan Consultancy works in partnership with people to help them lead more satisfying lives through counselling, coaching, training, and mediation. Rachel founded Rowan in Perth, Scotland in 1997, now they have a network of over 50 consultants from London to Inverness.  In 2017 Rachel founded Menopause Café, a charity arranging pop-up events worldwide, where people meet to drink tea, eat cake and talk menopause. 

The artwork in this article has been created by Rachel.

Feel inspired by Rachel and keen to get creative? Book your place now for the next Secrets of Simple Graphics Online 6-week course.