Since the advent of graphic facilitation and graphic recording in the 1970s in the San Francisco Bay Area, visual/graphic recording* styles have proliferated around the world. Since then the field has broadened, leading to some confusion about the different kinds of work living under the big umbrella of visual/graphic recording. We see four distinct styles, described below so that you can better understand how each can be used effectively.
The bottom two quadrants are more focused on concise graphic renderings and the top two quadrants focus on capturing conversation details including decisions, commitments and actions. It’s important to select a style and a visual recorder that can provide the output you need from your session.
Three Questions to Guide Your Selection
• What are your outcomes for each group conversation in your session?
• Of the four styles, which would best support the group in achieving its outcomes?
• What does the group need in hand after the meeting and how will they use it?
At Leapfrog, we specialize in the top two quadrants:
1) Key content + visual framework + images
2) Multiple images + key content
We’re most often in the visual facilitator role, co-designing and managing the meeting process and content. Our displays are designed to be used actively by the group to collaboratively refine and summarize ideas. We use this type of visual recording as an organization development tool because our clients often need to leave with agreements and an accurate record of conversations for post-meeting implementation.
Whichever style you use, remember to check that your visual recorder is using people’s exact words rather than paraphrasing. Mirroring people’s contributions accurately is one of the best ways to build trust in the process and in those leading the process.
We wish you many productive conversations captured in the recording style that works best for you and your group!
* Definition: At Leapfrog, we define visual recording as “public listening” (developed by The Grove): capturing speakers’ exact words with iconography, using a variety of visual frameworks to support the group towards its outcomes. Visual facilitation encompasses facilitation best practices, group process design, graphic recording and the use of visual templates.