Tag Archives: conferences

GR101 is going to Berlin!

Interested in learning how to be a graphic recorder? Planning to be in Berlin in July? Have I got some news for you!

The fabulous Lisa Arora (of Get The Picture) and I will once again be co-leading the IFVP’s signature training, Graphic Recording 101 (or GR101). It will be held on July 22, 2014, in the awesome Hotel nhow. The workshop is scheduled as a pre-conference session in conjunction with EuViz, a brand-new conference hosted by Kommunikationslotsen and Neuland and co-hosted by IFVP. Already, EuViz promises to be something very special. The conference itself is sold out, but the pre-conference isn’t, and you don’t need to attend EuViz to attend GR101.

You can learn more about GR101 and register for it on the EuViz pre-con page. Not sure yet? Here’s the promo video for the workshop:




 

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Virtual meeting nightmares: funny, sad, and way too true

This lovely little piece, created by Tripp & Tyler to promote Leadercast Live, came to my attention this week:

I laughed. Then I cried. Many of my colleagues had similar reactions. The video points out some of the common events that make so many online meetings so incredibly dysfunctional: ineffective introductions, bad audio, people talking over one another because of a lack of visual cues, and of course the Technology Factor.

We have a lot of skills for coping with these issues in face-to-face meetings, but we’re still working out the promising practices for handling the same issues in online meetings. Throw in some technology tools — which sometimes work and sometimes don’t — and a group of people who have different kinds of equipment and different levels of comfort and skill with the tools, and you’ve got a situation that is uncomfortable at best and disastrous at worst, especially for the meeting facilitator. We’ve all been that guy out in the hallway, talking to the wall, slowly realizing that no one else can hear us.

The good news is that the tools are growing simpler and more cross-platform. Enterprise-level tools that have been around for a long time in terms of Internet timeframes (think WebEx and similar systems) are evolving, and new tools are emerging (think Join.Me and Skype and so on). Instead of requiring special plug-ins or client versions of the software or different setups for different operating systems, the tools are being adapted to work on any platform, be it PC, Mac OS, or the different mobile flavors. The users of the tools don’t need to do as much to make them work, because the tools are becoming more flexible.

More good news is that we’re developing methods to cope with the social aspects of online meetings regardless of the technology we’re using. Not everyone can manage multi-party video calls — although that’s getting cheaper and easier too — so we’re working out ways to handle basic interactions like introductions, orientation to the meeting purpose, and conversations that lead to real work, even when you can’t see your colleagues. Visual methods that support these interactions can be employed without much special equipment at all, and the payoff in terms of lower frustration, greater efficiency, and higher engagement is huge.

So go ahead and laugh at the poor folks in the video. Then think about which of those painful moments you encounter the most — and how you can address that one issue in your next online meeting. I’d love to hear your ideas… and I’ll share some of mine too. Let’s make awkward online meetings a thing of the past.

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Visual Note-taking on the iPad

I did it! I spoke at Macworld|iWorld 2012! Here are my slides, available on Slideshare.net. I had a wonderful and enthusiastic audience who gamely dove in and practiced drawing little icons with me — thank you all! I had a blast.


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Notes from the Creative Leadership Academy

Last week, I was privileged to attend part of the Creative Leadership Academy held at The Boulders in Carefree, Arizona. I listened to inspiring talks by “provocateurs” Chris Waugh (IDEO) and Luke Williams (Frog Design fellow and author of Disrupt), and I participated in the workshop Cultivating a Kaleidoscope Mind, presented by Laura Seargeant Richardson and Ben McAllister of Frog Design. I also delivered the closing workshop, Visual Meetings and Teams: The Key to Practical Application of Creative Leadership.

Chris Waugh spoke about experience design after the reception on Tuesday evening (tough slot). He captured our attention by providing foam missiles and inviting a few intrepid volunteers to step up on stage to experience what a design critique often feels like — we stood there while the rest of the room pelted us with the rubber band-propelled missiles. I found it strongly reminiscent of my college courses in studio art. Chris showed examples of strikingly user-friendly or innovative product design and told the story behind each one. Unfortunately I hadn’t brought my iPad to the reception, so I didn’t take notes during his excellent talk.

The workshop from Frog invited us to come up with unusual ideas about how to change the conference itself. Each attendee received a set of cards with their registration materials that prompted them to jot down observations throughout the conference, such as noticing interactions between people or what the environment was like. During the workshop, we were given a framing question that took us out of the conference mindset (“What if the conference were a dinner party? What if it were a circus?”) and asked to review our observations in light of the framing question to see what ideas would emerge. Then we dot-voted on the ideas to select the ones we liked the best, and presented the top two or three with a title, a sketch, and a brief description. I took notes during the first part of the presentation:

visual notes from Frog Design session

The reference to the chicken foot is a reminder to find one thing that is so fascinating that you could draw it over and over, from many different angles, to explore its nature. (Laura had this experience with a chicken foot.) It was illuminating to contrast thoughts about the conference with such a variety of other ideas. My favorite juxtaposition was thinking about attendee participation in terms of the conference as a game. Hmm…

Luke Williams’ talk was about disruptive design, and he spoke about the steps or stages of disruptive design. I did take notes during this session:

By the time my workshop rolled around, everyone in the group was filled to the brim with ideas about creative leadership. I gave an introduction to Visual Meetings using the presentation David Sibbet created with Prezi, and then the plan was to map out our collective learning journey describing how to implement all the wonderful ideas from the past three days. There was a gentle mutiny, though, and instead we practiced drawing seed shapes (star people and other basic icons). I think everyone was pretty tapped out by then, but they all jumped in and practiced the drawings, and the energy level in the room just shot up. We also talked about using the iPad for graphic recording, which wasn’t formally on the agenda, but somehow someone always asks about it anyway. I was assisted during the workshop by my amazing and talented sister, Sonja Stone (the author). It was a great group of folks, and we definitely achieved the session objective of having a good time!

Overall, I appreciated the practical advice given by the other speakers about how to be creative. I know that sounds a little counter-intuitive, but creativity is often sparked by thinking about old ideas in new contexts, and the Academy demonstrated lots of different ways to achieve that.

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Best in the West 2011

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The Bay Area Organizational Development Network (BAodn) is presenting Best in the West 2011 on June 24-25 in San Francisco. If you’re in the area and into organizational development or facilitation, take a look at the program — lots of great speakers, including David Sibbet, Michael Broom, Bev Scott, and others.

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Virtual Working Summit

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Tired of zoning out during online meetings? Check out the 2011 Virtual Working Summit, a virtual conference about virtual meetings. David Sibbet and I are among the featured speakers. The conference requires no travel and is free to attend!

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