1 Amazing Technique for Speakers

A Completed Graphic Facilitation Wall Poster by Ron Cougler

Early in May my husband and I tripped out to Victoria, B.C. so that he could attend a conference with our daughter and I could add quality granddaughter time to my writing day. And we both loved the change of pace. I worked on the opening chapter of a new book in preparation for a Barbara Kyle course back in Toronto but Ron–he and our daughter learned something completely new and exciting.

Graphic Facilitation

Now this technique involves either one (speaker draws while talking) or two people (one person talks and one draws) and the wall poster is done during the talk. The audience members watch representational graphics for whatever the speaker is saying come alive before their very eyes.

Why is this so exciting? Well for all you doodlers out there, this takes drawing to a whole new level. And the old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ reminds us that learning is enhanced with visual images. I put my picture on my website but I could just as easily have described myself. The problem is that would take longer to write and longer to read. In this instant gratification society the picture is the way to go.

Why am I, a writer, so pumped about this technique? I love anything that’s new and innovative. And a lifelong teacher, I recognize the absolute necessity of grabbing the attention of my audience. Don’t you think this would do it for you? Picture yourself entering a business meeting, sitting in one of the hard chairs, all lined up in a row facing the podium. You settle yourself and check your watch. The speaker arrives with someone accompanying her. He goes to the back wall and tapes up a 4′ by 8′ length of paper from a roll. As the speaker makes sure her mic is on the facilitator arranges a wide variety of markers on a small table to his left. And then the session begins.

The speaker introduces herself and her graphic facilitator. As she talks he draws and writes. You are mesmerized. Her words become pictures in lovely colors, arrows, bubble letters, all relating to what the speaker is saying. This is graphic facilitation. It is known by a few other terms such as visual representation and graphic recording. If you Google the term amazing applications and explanatory facts will appear. You can use this process to lead your group toward a common goal.

In the poster above, entitled Useful Findings About How People View Websites, information pertaining to the subject is incorporated into icons, and structured by a numbering system. Other structures might include arrows joining ideas and taking the eye to the desired outcome of the meeting. This works well in business and private sector meetings.

The Documentation Plan for Diamond by Ron Cougler

What about writing? What about historical fiction, which is the primary subject of this blog? It can work here, too, folks. And when we can get our ducks in a row, Ron and I are going to do a video to demonstrate just how this works. Look for that in the coming weeks.

How do you incorporate new ideas and technologies into your writing? Or your life? Do you agree that innovation is paramount in learning? Consider leaving a comment with your views.

Ron’s website for graphic facilitation is here.


17 thoughts on “1 Amazing Technique for Speakers

  1. Well I liked the information on the 1st graphic about how people read a website. Interesting to note that people read in a F visually, and only spend about 6 seconds reading and don’t scroll, and give more attention to the left side of the screen. So interesting! I will have to look at my websites and see if I can make visual adjustments based on this info! I can see that a speaker would be more effective with a graphic facilitator. The colors and drawings do draw attention! I can’t draw, so I would need a 2nd person, or maybe use Power Point to do something similar. I found this interesting. I don’t use new hardware, but I do like to use new software. I can learn software on my own, but I don’t know how to set up and use hardware. Luckily my husband does. I have been using the internet for 16 years, and I started using computers in 1978, when we had to type up cards to feed into the computer. I was on Myspace, and then switched to Facebook. I started my blog this year. I use new technological innovations in my whole life! It keeps me from getting too old-fashioned. I like to learn new things! Thanks Elaine for showing us how this graphic illustration idea works!


  2. I find this fascinating, Elaine. Our writer’s group is planning a day of workshops in August instead of having our regular monthly meetings through the summer. Last year I did one of the workshops on SEO. Would your husband mind if I used the “How People Read Websites” should I be asked to give a workshop this year? I think to save time I would probably draw these out ahead of time and use separate sheets–perhaps even have them printed off as a hand-out.


    • 1. Internet Marketing Magazine: 10 Useful Findings About HOW PEOPLE VIEW WEBSITES; May 2012
      2. Visual Facilitation Guy: RON COUGLER; June 2012
      Hi Diane
      I asked my husband about you using his work and he wanted you to be sure to give credit on each page for the original subject matter to Internet Marketing Magazine, above, and for the drawings to him as Visual Facilitation Guy: Ron Cougler, as in number 2 above.
      We are both thrilled that you liked the concept and hope you understand that this is intellectual property we’re dealing with. I am sure your writers will appreciate this idea. Of course the concept is to have the actual live trained facilitator drawing for the actual group in the best of all possible worlds. How far away are you? Perhaps we might chat via email.


      • Thanks, Elaine. I would definitely want to give credit to the source. I’m in London, so not that far from you, I think. My e-mail is dstephen@skynet.ca if you want to contact me and send me your phone number if you like. I have a 24/7 long distance plan anywhere in the US or Canada. Maybe we could just chat on the phone. I really just want to re-draw the pictures. I am an artist, but just not good at doing the on-the-spot stuff. I just got an e-mail from our facilitator asking for ideas for our workshops or for anyone who has something to present. I’ll discuss this with her to see if she thinks it would be beneficial or even interesting. We usually have about a half hour to present.


  3. Cool eye catching graphics, can’t wait till the video presentation. I completely agree with you, Elaine, that innovation is paramount. Having a tool like this when public speaking would be something that, if I were presenting, I would very much want. Great idea and post!


    • My husband says he is for hire, Jessica, but only for graphic facilitation! Ha Ha. So glad you like the concept. All kidding aside he actually is doing this as a business venture. We are at the point in our lives where we do what we love and try to make a little money from it.


  4. So glad you wrote about this! Taking that course has opened up a new world for me, as I suspected it would. And nothing gives me more pleasure than to walk into my newly-painted (yellow) office and gaze at a large blank roll of paper up on the wall and think about what I’m going to do with it to practice! Working with groups is even better. πŸ˜‰


  5. Ron’s website pointers graphic is very cool and good advice. I like to use graphics when I do presentations as I do lots of webinars in my job. A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s too bad that I’m not a better artist. It helps if the smartphone slightly resembles a phone instead of a ..shoebox.


    • As Sherry would say, Snort, Snort! Yes, it helps to have a little talent. The funny thing is he’s been using those bubble letters ever since I’ve known him and now they are his signature style for graphic facilitation. What goes around, comes around. Thanks for your comment,k Brinda!


  6. Wow, this is very cool. I read everything on Ron’s poster because it immediately captured my attention. Your point is proved and I wasn’t even at a workshop. Great concept, Elaine, thanks for sharing!


  7. Pingback: 10 Useful Findings About How People View Websites – Graphic Facilitation by Ron Couglar – Visual Notetaking

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