Case Study: Beth’s Story

Case Study: Beth’s Story

We caught up with Beth Collier, 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?
enjoyed drawing as a child but stopped when I was about 10 years old. I always thought I had more enthusiasm for drawing than natural talent!

How are you using what you’ve learned?
It’s sparked my curiosity for more artistic endeavours – and renewed the joy I once found for drawing. I’ve done more drawing (including Emer’s videos) with my daughter, and a Picasso painting class. I did a hand-lettering course, a course on making GIFs, and I’ve also been teaching myself how to use Canva.

 

What kind of results are you getting? What kind of feedback are you getting?
I’m having fun and I’m learning – and that was the goal.

I have shared a few of my drawings on LinkedIn, and I hope it encourages people to try drawing – regardless of their ability. I believe they can improve their skills – and use drawing or other artistic endeavours to have fun.

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the training?
Go for it! Emer is a kind and supportive coach, and you CAN learn how to draw simple graphics.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you, Emer!

 

Beth Collier is a communication, creativity, and leadership consultant based in London. Through team workshops and 1:1 coaching, she helps her clients become more capable and confident speakers and writers, and more creative thinkers and leaders. She weaves her experiences from 15+ years in the corporate world (and plenty of pop culture references) into her writing, which can be found on her website.

All the artwork in this article has been created by Beth.

 

Feel inspired by Beth and keen to get creative in 2021? Book your place now for the next Secrets of Simple Graphics Online 6-week course.

Three ways to use Zoom whiteboard for facilitation

Three ways to use Zoom whiteboard for facilitation

And then…my whole wide world went Zoom.

Love it or loathe it Zoom has become a large part of our lives. From virtual pub quizzes to virtual learning Zoom is here to stay.

As a facilitator, have you thought about how Zoom can support your facilitation processes? What has really piqued my interest is the use of Zoom Whiteboards to support the collaboration and co-creation of ideas.

 

Here are three ways you can use Zoom whiteboards for facilitation:

  • Establishing a Group Contract/Working Agreement

As a facilitator you may, at the beginning of a session, invite a group to share the norms and behaviours they feel need to be in place in order for everyone to get the most of the session. Using a Zoom whiteboard for this exercise makes it particularly collaborative. Instead of the facilitator noting what each person says, individuals themselves use the ‘Annotate’ tool on Zoom to draw or type in their responses, thus co-creating the group contract.

 

  • Dot Voting

Dot voting is a great way to garner opinion on a topic or decision. In a real-life setting ideas are shared using post-it notes on a flipchart or wall, then each person is given a certain number of dot stickers which they then go and place next to their preferred idea(s).
With a Zoom whiteboard a facilitator can note down ideas in text on the Whiteboard and participants can vote on their ideas using the Stamp function within the Annotate menu. Stamp gives us the ability to add a green tick (or heart for example) beside our preferred idea. An added bonus is that the voting process is anonymous (unless you use the arrow for stamping; as a facilitator exclude that from the options), thus reducing (in part) group think bias.

 

  • Checking in for understanding

This can be used in many ways, one way for example is to check to ensure everyone has a shared understanding of a problem. Using the Breakout function break people into groups and invite them to draw out the problem. The whiteboard function in Zoom allows people to draw on the whiteboard at the same time. Smaller groups can work together scribbling on the board, drawing out their shared understanding.

 

I hope this has given you some food for thought for your next facilitation session. Do make sure that you regularly familiarise yourselves with the latest Zoom security updates.

 

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Video: A future visioning tool

Video: A future visioning tool

I’ve made another video – this time it’s one where you actually see my face! I hope you like it. I’m on a mission to get more comfortable with creating videos (I find it strange not having an audience!) so I’d love to hear what you think and what tips you have for improvement.

Today I’m sharing a future visioning technique. If you have difficulty imagining what your future may look like give this technique a try – click on the image below to watch the video. Let me know in the comments how you get on.


If you enjoyed that you may be excited to know that the pilot of the brand new programme Draw Out Your Future is now open for enrolment. The 6-week programme kicks off on Tuesday, January 12th 7pm GMT and I can’t wait to meet everyone.

This programme has been designed so that we can all feel excited about our future regardless of what else is going on in the world.

Over the course of 6 weeks we will:

  • Learn a clear process for drawing out your future (no artistic skills required) that you can reuse time and time again, using visual goal setting and action planning
  • Gain focus, clarity and direction in your life so that you feel calm and in control of your destiny
  • Feel excited about your future and use that excitement to propel you forward
  • Boost your self-esteem so that you feel more resilient when dealing with life’s obstacles
  • Harness the power of the collective and be part of a unique supportive community

We’ll be using digital visual templates which you will get copies of to use and reuse at will 😊.  Let’s start 2021 as we mean to go on – with creativity, flair and purpose.

And as this is a pilot programme, places are going for around half the price of what I intend to sell them for.  There will be a maximum of 12 people on the programme so be sure to act quickly to secure your place!  You can also sign-up for a bundle package which includes three 1:1 coaching sessions alongside the 6-week programme.

 

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

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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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.