Graphic facilitation – a ‘must’ or a ‘nice’?

Graphic facilitation is a great addition to any meeting, workshop or conference – but is it essential?

By someone drawing what’s being said, graphic facilitators are providing the visual accompaniment to what is otherwise an auditory experience for an audience. It’s a dynamic reflection and summary of the concepts and discussion, giving the audience an additional window into the information being presented.

There are plenty of benefits, and here’s three:

  1. It can also support participation and decision-making, reflecting the audience’s perspectives and experiences into the ‘big picture’ of the event.
  2. It also supports visual learning, giving those of us with non-boring-lecture learning sytles an opportunity to be engaged.
  3. It replaces the terrible Powerpoints audiences are so often subjected to.

Made wildly popular by the RSA series of videos, graphic facilitators are popping up all over the place. I’ve been swept up in the wave, helping Jane Zhang of TechSoup to explain social media to Ontario Nonprofit Network members. You can see the result above – we got great feedback, and plenty of interest in my skills, but I’m still determining the essential value that this service offers.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – has graphic facilitation enhanced your learning or event experience? Is it something you’d consider vitally important for your events, or an expendable extra?