Let’s start with the basicswhat is virtual graphic facilitation?

Tricia: People may already be familiar with traditional graphic facilitation. It is the art of listening to dialogue or presentation and creating a real-time, visual capture of key themes and ideas by drawing on a whiteboard or other large-scale surface. With virtual graphic facilitation, we move this capability online. At Collective Next, we have been facilitating virtual meetings—and providing virtual and digital graphic facilitation—for several years.

Evan: As graphic facilitators, we are listening during a virtual meeting, sharing our screens (most of the time), and drawing on our iPads so that participants can see salient points reflected visually on-screen and in real-time as the conversation unfolds.  Obviously, people are enthralled when seeing a visual depiction of their conversation materialize before their very eyes.  What was abstract becomes immediately concrete.

Why would someone running a virtual meeting want to include a virtual graphic facilitator?

Evan: Graphic facilitation is one of the most effective ways to support engagement and understanding during events, and it serves as a powerful artifact of the meeting long after it conclusion. Graphic facilitation brings ideas to life, highlights areas of alignment and opportunity, and quite simply delights participants.

Tricia: All of this value holds true in a virtual format, AND it becomes even more important. We all know how hard it is to hold people’s collective attention when we’re not meeting face-to-face.  Graphic facilitation is a powerful way to maintain a sense of human connection in a virtual environment.

Can it work for any virtual meeting?

Evan: Absolutely. It can be used to support everything from brainstorming sessions and strategic planning to idea-sharing and program implementation. We keep expanding the contexts in which we are applying it.  In fact, we are now using it in our own sales and planning calls with clients.  The feedback has been terrific.

Tricia: Whether we are doing graphic facilitation in-person or virtually, we always meet with our clients in advance to understand the purpose and objectives of their online event. We design and deliver experiences that support effective collaboration and group work so our clients can meet their goals. Virtual graphic facilitation is a key part of this.