It’s a question I’m asked a lot.

Perhaps you’re a natural sketcher or you’re familiar with the benefits of hand drawn visuals. You’re leading a group and you’d love to ask folk to pick up a marker and share their ideas visually, but you’re not sure where to start.

What’s the best way to encourage people to draw without actually ‘making’ them?

1. Think about your language – consider an intention to invite people to draw rather than ‘getting’ them to draw. Even making this shift internally will soften your approach and make drawing a more likely outcome.

2. On that note, speak about ‘us’ and ‘we’, not ‘you’ and ‘I’. e.g. ‘We’reReaching for a pen going to explore this concept by sketching out our ideas.’

3. Lead by example – if participants see you draw, they are more likely to draw themselves.

4. Create a safe space. You can do this in a number of ways. For example, consider establishing rules of engagement such as ‘It’s ok to make a mistake. No-one will be judged on their drawings. This is to aid thinking; not to create art.’

5. Prepare a visual feast. Stimulate the senses with drawings and posters displayed across the room. 

6. Make the invitation and then say nothing. Resist the temptation to go into detailed explanation of the importance of visuals etc. 

Remember your energy is communicated regardless of what you say. Soften your internal dialogue, enter into a spirit of exploration and the rest will work itself out.