3 Key Learnings from the Virtual Graphic Facilitation Workshop

Digital notes from Penny Pullan’s interview of David Sibbet and Rachel Smith. Notes by Rachel Smith

Like it or not, virtual communication is with us to stay. Over the past 10 years, most groups I’ve been part of have worked from a range of locations with little face-to-face contact. Relying only on audio and emailed documents to move our projects forward has proven both frustrating and clunky.

To learn how to help virtual meetings go better, I recently took a workshop at The Grove Consultants International on Virtual Graphic Facilitation. Our trainer, Rachel Smith, directs The Grove’s Digital Facilitation Services. Rachel is a brilliant digital visual recorder and facilitator, as well as an all-around great trainer. She made this previously daunting subject accessible and interesting.

Virtual Graphic Facilitation in a Nutshell: Online visual facilitation bridges the miles when colleagues work together from dispersed locations. It blends facilitation skills with in-the-moment graphic recording, using screen-sharing accessed through telecommunications or web conferencing. This practice supports creative and engaging group processes, yielding richer participation and more satisfying outcomes for participants.

My 3 key takeaways from our workshop and follow-up web meeting:

1. Techno-phobia De-fanged: One of the biggest obstacles people face with this work is the self-fulfilling belief that the technology is going to be a huge obstacle. Most of us in the class shared this concern at the beginning of the workshop. Then as Rachel broke the process down into a series of manageable steps, it was like peeking behind the Wizard of Oz’s curtain. I was amazed to find myself thinking: “I could actually do this!”

Yes, new equipment will be needed. The choices vary greatly in cost and complexity. Tablets, it turns out, are surprisingly affordable. Whatever route one chooses to go with the technology, it is simply a question of learning a series of steps, then working through the list when setting up. The good news: this truly is not rocket science.

2. Virtual Facilitation Finesse: For an on-line meeting, all of the usual facilitation skills for face-to-face meetings apply – and more. Rachel shared helpful tips for facilitating when you can’t see the participants and are not able to read their facial expressions and other body language. Adding virtual facilitation savvy to my toolbox was one of my most important workshop outcomes.

3. The Power of Virtual Graphic Recording: The week after the workshop, we had a follow-up web conference call to gel the learnings and experience this work in action. It was a treat to watch as Rachel recorded us in real time. Seeing people’s comments take shape in the words and images that filled my screen was wholly different from the usual phone conference call or standard-issue webinar. In fact, a few times I actually forgot that we weren’t all in the same place!

Where I Have Landed: After this training, I am intrigued and open to the idea of doing digital facilitation, to a degree that I did not expect. It seems that the drawing involved in virtual graphic facilitation is doable – even for someone like me, with my modest artistic talents. Since the workshop I’ve been practicing drawing daily, using a digital drawing program to improve my skills. It has become more natural to draw with my finger.

My next step on this learning path will be to borrow a friend’s Bamboo tablet and give it a try.

Learn more about the upcoming Virtual Graphic Facilitation Workshop.

Email Privacy Policy

We have created this privacy policy to demonstrate our firm commitment to your privacy and the protection of your information.

Why did you receive a mailing from us?

Our email marketing is permission based. If you received a mailing from us, our records indicate that (a) you have expressly shared this address for the purpose of receiving information in the future ("opt-in"), or (b) you have registered or purchased or otherwise have an existing relationship with us. We respect your time and attention by controlling the frequency of our mailings.

If you believe you have received unwanted, unsolicited email sent via this system or purporting to be sent via this system, please forward a copy of that email with your comments to abuse@constantcontact.com for review.

How can you stop receiving email from us?

Each email sent contains an easy, automated way for you to cease receiving email from us, or to change your expressed interests. If you wish to do this, simply follow the SafeUnsubscribe™ or Update Profile links at the end of any email.

How we protect your privacy

We use appropriate security measures to protect against the loss, misuse and alteration of data used by our system.

Sharing and Usage

We will never share, sell, or rent individual personal information with anyone for their promotional use without your advance permission or unless ordered by a court of law. Information submitted to us is only available to employees managing this information for purposes of contacting you or sending you emails based on your request for information, and to contracted service providers for purposes of providing services relating to our communications with you.

Use of Web Beacons

When we send you emails, we may include a web beacon to allow us to determine the number of people who open our emails. When you click on a link in an email, we may record this individual response to allow us to customize our offerings to you. Web beacons collect only limited information, such as a cookie identifier, time and date of a page being viewed, and a description of the page on which the Web Beacon resides (the URL).

Web Beacons can be refused when delivered via email. If you do not wish to receive Web Beacons via email, you will need to disable HTML images or refuse HTML (select Text only) emails via your email software.

Privacy Policy Changes

This policy was created on March 2008.

© 1996–2014, The Grove Consultants International. Conditions of Use
Copyright Policy

The Grove’s models and templates are the intellectual property of The Grove Consultants International and are based on best practices drawn from more than thirty years of fieldwork. The Grove is committed to sharing its ideas, processes, and tools in order to foster collaboration, and while we strive to make these easily accessible, only authorized licensees may use our proprietary information and materials. Such licensees must acknowledge The Grove as their source by displaying a Grove copyright notice and may reproduce such proprietary information only with our express written permission.

Any unauthorized reproduction or use of our copyrighted material without The Grove’s express written permission is a violation of U.S. copyright law.

If you wish to use our copyrighted material, we are happy to assist you with a purchase or discussion of an appropriate licensing arrangement. Please call us at 1.800.49.GROVE or (415) 561-2500, or e-mail us at products@grove.com. We are happy to help you collaborate with us.

[esc] to close