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.

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.

Your Learning Log (free template inside)

Your Learning Log (free template inside)

Welcome to Learning at Work week!

An opportunity to reignite our passion for learning and appreciate all the wonderful benefits it brings.

The great thing about learning is that it’s all around us! You don’t have to go on a training course or buy a book to engage in learning. I believe that every day we learn something new and that learning can come from a myriad of sources.

That’s why I’ve designed a Learning Log especially for this week to help us keep track of our learning and also to build confidence that yes, we are learning all the time. 

Sometimes that learning can come from the most unlikely sources – a conversation you overheard at the supermarket, a colourful poster that caught your eye, something a friend did that made you stop and think.

Download and print your own copy of the Learning Log here >> 

I’d love to know how you get on with this. It would be especially great to hear about the different sources of learning in peoples’ worlds. Do let me know and I can share in a future email.

What PowerPoint research tells us

What PowerPoint research tells us

The opening line of this article made me smile.

‘People have been picking on PowerPoint for a long time. But the remedy proposed is … better PowerPoint.’

The article goes on to discuss research that was carried out recently at the University of Stanford on three visual storytelling approaches:

1. Hand drawings on whiteboard
2. Traditional PowerPoint (stock photography and bullet points)
3. ‘Zen’ PowerPoint (key phrase and accompanying metaphorical image)

Image courtesy of cmo.com

Researchers were testing for:

  • engagement
  • enjoyment
  • credibility
  • recall
  • persuasive impact

So what were the results?

Essentially, the hand drawn whiteboard presentation outperformed both PowerPoint presentations in a number of areas:

Engagement: Participants paid more attention and thought more deeply about the content of the whiteboard presentation.

Credibility: Participants reported that they found the whiteboard presentation to be more credible (i.e. based on scientific evidence). They also found their presenter to be more experienced and trustworthy.

This is particularly fantastic to hear! So many people I speak with are concerned about not being taken seriously if they use hand drawings in their work. And as you can see from the picture, we’re not talking about a super sophisticated drawing. This is simple stuff accessible to us all.

Presentation Quality: Participants rated the whiteboard presentation more enjoyable, clearer and easier to understand than both PowerPoint options. 

Recall: Participants were able to accurately remember significantly more message content than the PowerPoint options – in fact a 16% improvement in memory for message content. 

Amazing! Read the full article here. [Update August 2020: Unfortunately the article has since been removed from the CMO website.]

So the next time you find yourself painstakingly looking for stock images for your PowerPoint presentation remember, there is another way. Don’t just take my word for it!

Feeling inspired? Join me for Secrets of Simple Graphics Online starting September 29th and I’ll show you exactly how to create a hand drawn presentation. Book now >>

Three creative ways to kickstart a meeting

Three creative ways to kickstart a meeting

Let’s not underestimate the importance of openings and closings. 

When it comes to meetings we can all too often rush in, blurt out what we want to say and hurry off to the next appointment in our diary. 

It’s so important to take a moment at the beginning of a meeting, to check in with folk and to set the tone. 

When I talk about kickstarting a meeting I’m not talking about a time consuming icebreaker or going round the table with lengthy introductions. I’m talking about something quick and creative which serves the purpose of helping people arrive fully at the meeting, feel welcome and feel ready to participate.

1. Pass around post-it notes and ask everyone to write down what kind of weather represents how they are feeling right now e.g. ‘sunny and bright’, ‘foggy’, ‘blustery’. Participants can reveal as much or as little information as they like. Watch the energy shift in the room as you introduce this quirky opener!
(with thanks to David Sibbet)

2. What’s on your mind?
Invite people to jot down what’s at the forefront of their mind as their enter the room. It might be work related, it might not. Then ask them to scrunch up the piece of paper they’ve written on and throw it in the bin. This is a way of ‘parking’ their distracting thoughts so that they can fully focus on the meeting.

3. The Mindfulness Minute.
All you need for this is a stopwatch (most phones will have this setting) and the confidence to say ‘We’re going to take a short breather before we begin the meeting’.
Set your stopwatch for no more than 60 seconds and invite people to simply take deep breaths during the 60 seconds. That’s all. Let people know that if their minds start to drift off, no problem, just bring their thoughts back to their breath.
Notice how the atmosphere has changed at the end of the 60 seconds, how much calmer and grounded everyone feels. 

60 seconds! That’s all it takes. 

How do you lick to kickstart a meeting? What ideas would you like to see me share in a future post? Email me your ideas here.