A fun icebreaker for you to try

A fun icebreaker for you to try

Icebreakers for virtual training  – what’s the verdict?

In my opinion, it’s even more important to have an icebreaker for a virtual training session than it is for an in person one.

Why?

When we partake in virtual learning sessions we miss out on the in person chit chat we have in real life, whilst grabbing a coffee or getting settled in a room before the training session kicks off. It is this interaction that helps us to build rapport and get to know one another.

Icebreakers are not just for online training by the way; a well-placed icebreaker at an online meeting can similarly help to boost engagement and start the meeting off on a collaborative note.

A fun icebreaker for you to try

Today I thought I’d share with you a fun one I used recently with participants from Secrets of Simple Graphics. Here’s how to run it, step by step.

Bananas Icebreaker

  1. Get a picture of a banana (from a free stock images site or simply draw one).
  2. Open up a blank PowerPoint presentation and copy and paste the bananas as many times as there are participants at your session (you want one banana per participant). Save as a .jpg.
  3. Share the .jpg during your meeting and simply invite participants to personalise a banana each using the Annotation tool.
  4. Admire everyone’s creations!

 

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Video: Meditative Drawing

Video: Meditative Drawing

Yesterday saw the last session of Secrets of Simple Graphics for 2020 and as we munched on our (non-virtual) cupcakes at the Afterparty Elevenses, the discussion shifted to the benefits drawing brings to our mental health, a topic I touched on previously.

As such, I thought I would share with you today a very simple technique I often use at the beginning of training or coaching sessions which really helps to ground and focus me before I begin – and I think the participants like it too!

Click on the video below to see how it’s done:

Meditative drawing

Give it a try the next time you need to centre your energy and let me know in the comments how you got on.

 

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How drawing helps with stress

How drawing helps with stress

Sometimes, when feeling stressed, the last thing you want is someone handing you a set of coloured pencils and a notebook, urging you to channel your stress in a creative manner.

Yet creative pursuits are generally seen to be a helpful antidote to feelings of stress and anxiety.

Recently I started to do some digging into the connection between creativity (drawing in particular) and the alleviation of stress.

Research led by Jennifer Drake, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Brooklyn College explored whether drawing reduces stress levels because it helps us to process emotions or because it helps us to escape from the thoughts and events that are contributing to our stress levels.

The answer? It’s all about the escape.How drawing can help with stress blog

Yes, we can sit and sketch out the pain of 2020, the argument we just had with our partner, our worries about the future and this may help us to process our emotions.

However, the true value is in the escape drawing provides. It takes us out of ourselves, out of our head where stressful thoughts lie.

The act of drawing something requires us to concentrate on what we are doing, to focus on what is emerging on the page. It is this level of concentration that provides the escape from stressful thoughts.

Start with a blank page and draw an item that is in your eye line. A cup, a biro, a piece of paper. Keep going, keep drawing until you feel calmer.

It’s important to pick an emotionally neutral object (so if the cup sitting in front of you is a gift from your partner whom you’re currently furious with, perhaps pick something else..)

I would love to know how this works for you. Give it a go and let me know how you get on in the comments below.

 

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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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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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Visual template: Self Soothing System

Visual template: Self Soothing System

Originally shared via newsletter 18.03.20

And here we are. To begin please know you are in my thoughts. At no other time has a sense of community meant so much. I am grateful to you for being here and I hope you and yours are safe and well. I will continue to keep in touch over the coming weeks and months and who knows, I may even start sending emails with some kind of regularity 🙂

Today I want to share with you a visual template I have designed to help us come to terms with and manage the wave of feelings we are all experiencing right now. I don’t know about you but in times of stress I often go into ‘Doing’ mode. I fight stress with action. What I’ve been recognising though is the importance of making those action plans from a grounded, calmer place.

Introducing the Self Soothing System

When we feel stress or anxiety we often feel it in certain areas of the body. For me the first place I feel it is in my gut and then I get this sense of disconnection in my feet like I’m not fully grounded. My jaw tenses up as do my hands. I decided to use this image of the body as an acknowledgment of that sensory experience of stress and anxiety. Our aim here is to soften the intensity of those feelings and arrive at a calmer, more grounded place.

Instructions:

Print out the template or copy it out on paper. Beside each ‘wound mark’ note down a particular concern or worry for you right now. One concern for each wound. Let’s get those negative, stressy anxious thoughts down on paper.

Next, take each one in turn and consider what ‘ointment’ you can place on the wound to bring a sense of healing. How can you take the sting out of this worry or concern? What would a friend say to bring softness to this area?

This is not about ‘wishing the worry away’ or putting on some kind of plaster to mask the pain; this is just about viewing each concern from a compassionate, caring, positive perspective.

It is about self soothing and tapping into our innate wisdom. I’ve shared mine here by way of example.

I hope you find this useful. As always, give it a go and let me know how you get on. Here’s the template to print out. Feel free to share with your networks or anyone you think may benefit from this right now. And big thanks to Christina Merkley who was the inspiration behind this.

Yours in community spirit,

Emer

To harness the power of visual templates for reframing our thoughts, reflecting on priorities and making plans join us for Draw Out Your Future Jan 12th. Sign up here >>