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.

Case Study: Secrets of Simple Graphics Online with  Emma Williams

Case Study: Secrets of Simple Graphics Online with Emma Williams

We’re speaking with Emma Williams, who attended the inaugural Secrets of Simple Graphics Online back in April 2020, to ask her a few 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?
I wanted to top up my skills following the face to face course, provide a creative outlet for myself in these weird times and learn how to use graphics digitally.

How are you using what you’ve learned?
I have built graphics into all aspects of my business. From pictures for my blogs, social media, and newsletters to using drawing in my virtual training events. I have drawn ‘live’ on the whiteboard and encouraged my participants to draw out aspects of their learning using pen and paper and then sharing it over zoom. I also use it now to plan and plot – I’m a visual thinker but it is lovely to have things that look nice too!

What kind of results are you getting? What kind of feedback are you getting?
I have had comments about the pictures in my newsletters and normally no-one says anything! Also, I think the participants enjoy the variety of visual things in the VLT (Virtual Live Training).  My son, age 13, asked me to help him with his art homework!!!

What would you say has been the overall impact of using visual thinking/simple graphics in your work?
I feel it adds another string to my bow, gets me noticed, and benefits my participants.

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the training?
It’s so much fun! Don’t be afraid if you are at stick man level. Just a simple frame has transformed my flip charts!

Anything else you’d like to add?
Emer is so warm and welcoming you will have a great time and it’s a real boost to your confidence.

Emma provides career illumination for PhD+ researchers having ‘been there and worn the lab coat’ herself. Working face to face, virtually and with online courses, she helps these bright people make the most of their fixed-term contracts to navigate towards the career of their dreams – even if they don’t know what it is yet!.

All artwork in this article has been created by Emma.

Feel inspired by Emma’s experience? Book your place now for the next Secrets of Simple Graphics Online 6-week course.

Three Horizons: A Strategic Visioning Tool

Three Horizons: A Strategic Visioning Tool

I went along to the Facilitators’ Network here in Edinburgh and learned about a strategic visioning tool called Three Horizons.

It’s a tool that allows us to imagine what an ideal future (H3) may look like.

The following diagram gives us an opportunity to reflect on three co-existing horizons and the interplay between them.

H1 represents the status quo. When we ask ourselves what H1 looks like we consider what’s happening right now and within that we consider what keeps things going and needs to stay. Conversely we also discuss what we need to let go of and what no longer serves us.

H2 represents innovation. It’s an entrepreneurial space. It’s about trying things out and prototyping.
H2- may look new and different but it’s really just a version of H1.
H2+ takes us into H3 (future) space and asks the question ‘What can we try?’

In H3 we explore further what this imagined future looks like.

By exploring the dynamic of the H1, H2 and H3 horizons we begin see possibilities and opportunities for change and we imagine what that change looks like within a safe space.

On the day we did a practice run of the tool under the topic ‘Future City’. We were tasked to break off into groups and go around the city taking photos of things we imagined may be H1, H2 and H3 Future Edinburgh. It was great fun and an interesting way to collaborate, discuss and imagine our ideal Future City.

Here’s a photo our group took that represents H3 – we were going for ‘playfulness’ ( whilst reflecting the future pedestrianised George Street of our imagination…)

Image courtesy of Sabina Strachan

I love learning about strategic visioning tools as it’s an area I work a lot in. I also love blending and weaving different tools to find the right fit for my client. If you would like to have a chat with me about planning for you or your team’s future, get in touch via email or give me a call on 0131 554 6551.

Thanks and all the best,
Emer

Case Study: Simple Graphics in the NHS

Case Study: Simple Graphics in the NHS

We’re speaking with Nicola Roy, Learning and Development Technologist at NHS National Services Scotland, who attended Secrets of Simple Graphics back in April 2019.

What motivated you to attend the training in the first place? What problems were you experiencing that you hoped the training would address?
I was motivated to attend after taking part in introductory sessions run by Emer. I’m always looking for ways to develop my facilitation skills and find new ways to engage participants.

How are you using what you’ve learned?
I recently ran a skills development event for facilitators in my organisation. I used this as an opportunity to try out what I’d learned. Instead of using slides, I created a series of hand drawn posters. By doing this I was able to practice using different layouts, icons and lettering. It was great to have a goal in mind and while testing out different ideas.

What kind of results are you getting? What kind of feedback are you getting?
I was most proud of the agenda roadmap I created for the event. I had always wanted to be able to create one but didn’t think I had the knowledge or skills to do it. I was delighted to receive so many positive responses.

What would you say has been the overall impact of using visual thinking/simple graphics in your work?
As a facilitator, it’s great to do something different and have the chance to be creative. And it’s worth the effort when you see the positive impact it has on participant engagement.

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the training?
Go for it! You’ll learn lots on the day and the follow up activities and support will help build your confidence. It’s also really good fun!

Nicola has over 20 years’ experience designing and delivering a range learning of interventions within the private and public sectors. Her most recent experience has been redesigning the management development programme for her organisation. All artwork in this article has been created by Nicola.

Feel inspired by Nicola’s experience? Book your place now for the next Secrets of Simple Graphics course.

Case Study: Creating outstanding training

Case Study: Creating outstanding training

Today we’re speaking with Daryl Watson, Coach, Trainer and Facilitator, who attended Secrets of Simple Graphics back in September 2019.

What motivated you to attend the training in the first place? What problems were you experiencing that you hoped the training would address?
About 12 months ago, I attended an associate selection day, to work with a new company down in London. I was selected by the company to represent them, but there was one candidate’s trial workshop that stood out from the rest – he used simple graphics to bring his workshop to life. I knew my skills needed a bit of refreshing, so I hunted for a workshop in Scotland that could help me and after a bit of searching – found Emer.

How are you using what you’ve learned?
Since attending Emer’s workshop on graphics, I have run at least 30 workshops around Europe from a few hours to a few days, from 3 to 300 people. In each session, I endeavour to use simple visual graphics to enhance the learning. I create flipcharts with simple images and also encourage participants to draw too. I have learned lots of different simple graphics and images. Google is a great help! You’ve got to give it a go! Some of my images aren’t the best, but I am happy to keep trying and learning.

What kind of feedback are you getting?
Even though some days my images are really good and other days they could be better, feedback is positive, especially when I encourage participants to draw too!

What would you say has been the overall impact of using visual thinking/simple graphics in your work?
It has definitely improved the learning for the participants. Taking someone on a visual journey enhances the overall learning – always!

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the training?
It is a no brainer – just do it! You certainly won’t regret it, you’ll have fun and I’m keen to go on a refresher now just to enhance my skills even more.

Daryl specialises in management and executive coaching, leadership, talent and sales development, plus facilitation of workshops all around the globe, face to face and virtually. In addition, I design and deliver bespoke sessions working in the public, private and third sectors.

Feel inspired by Daryl’s story? Want to stand out from the crowd? Itching to get creative? Remember to book your place for the next Secrets of Simple Graphics course.

Case Study: Emily Bryson, ELT Materials Developer and Lecturer

This week we’re speaking with Emily Bryson, Self-Employed ELT Materials Developer and Lecturer at City of Glasgow College, who has attended Secrets of Simple Graphics.

What motivated you to attend the training in the first place? What problems were you experiencing that you hoped the training would address?
Emer came to the college to deliver a short training session last year.  I was instantly hooked and wanted to learn more.  I teach English to non-native speakers, so I knew that the ability to illustrate language points and vocabulary quickly and visually would be really helpful.

I also deliver teacher training sessions and write educational materials.  I knew that using graphics would help these stand out from the crowd and be memorable and captivating. 

How are you using what you’ve learned?
I now use what I’ve learned in many ways.  In class, I illustrate vocabulary by quickly drawing a simple graphic on the whiteboard and I support my students to take sketch notes.

One of my main reasons for doing the course was to jazz up my presentations.   I’ve now updated my teacher training slides, taking out the stock photos and replacing them with much more interesting and relevant hand drawn graphics. 
At the last ESOL conference at the college, I drew some icons to create a space for people to leave their feedback in an interactive way. This went down really well.

It’s also been helpful in my writing work.  I can now confidently illustrate any artwork briefs with a quick sketch and when I sent my latest book off to the publisher, I included a couple of sketches to demonstrate an activity.  

What kind of results are you getting? What kind of feedback are you getting?

My publisher really appreciated the sketches I made for my latest book, 50 ways to Teach Life Skills.  It helped them to visualise exactly what should be included.  In the end we actually we decided to include my illustrations because they are authentic and simple for teachers to copy.

The slides I created using simple graphics went down really well at a recent conference.  I think the participants noticed that they were by no means perfect, but that they got the point across.  I got the feeling that this reassured them and that they’d try to recreate similar images by themselves in their classrooms.

What would you say has been the overall impact of using visual thinking/simple graphics in your work?
I think it has given me the confidence to communicate in a different way, and it’s inspired others to do the same.

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the training?
Book it! Asap! It will change your life.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Emer is a very enthusiastic and supportive trainer.  Her training session was one of the best I’ve ever been on.  She gave us all lots of time to practise and the post-training online support was invaluable and very motivating.

Emily Bryson is an ELT materials writer, teacher trainer and ESOL Lecturer. She has written digital and print materials for a number of publishers including Macmillan Education, The British Council and Language Fuel.  She has been teaching ESOL at City of Glasgow College since 2007.  Her first book, the A-Z of ESOL, is out now and her second book 50 Ways to Teach Life Skills: Tips for ESL/EFL Teachers is coming soon from Wayzgoose Press. All artwork in this blog post has been created by Emily.

Feel inspired by Emily’s experience? Book now for Secrets of Simple Graphics, September 27th.