Love it or loathe it Zoom has become a large part of our lives. From virtual pub quizzes to virtual learning Zoom is here to stay.
As a facilitator, have you thought about how Zoom can support your facilitation processes? What has really piqued my interest is the use of Zoom Whiteboards to support the collaboration and co-creation of ideas.
Here are three ways you can use Zoom whiteboards for facilitation:
Establishing a Group Contract/Working Agreement
As a facilitator you may, at the beginning of a session, invite a group to share the norms and behaviours they feel need to be in place in order for everyone to get the most of the session. Using a Zoom whiteboard for this exercise makes it particularly collaborative. Instead of the facilitator noting what each person says, individuals themselves use the ‘Annotate’ tool on Zoom to draw or type in their responses, thus co-creating the group contract.
Dot voting is a great way to garner opinion on a topic or decision. In a real-life setting ideas are shared using post-it notes on a flipchart or wall, then each person is given a certain number of dot stickers which they then go and place next to their preferred idea(s).
With a Zoom whiteboard a facilitator can note down ideas in text on the Whiteboard and participants can vote on their ideas using the Stamp function within the Annotate menu. Stamp gives us the ability to add a green tick (or heart for example) beside our preferred idea. An added bonus is that the voting process is anonymous (unless you use the arrow for stamping; as a facilitator exclude that from the options), thus reducing (in part) group think bias.
Checking in for understanding
This can be used in many ways, one way for example is to check to ensure everyone has a shared understanding of a problem. Using the Breakout function break people into groups and invite them to draw out the problem. The whiteboard function in Zoom allows people to draw on the whiteboard at the same time. Smaller groups can work together scribbling on the board, drawing out their shared understanding.
I hope this has given you some food for thought for your next facilitation session. Do make sure that you regularly familiarise yourselves with the latest Zoom security updates.
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Have you ever written a list on a flipchart only to discover that, despite best efforts, your writing makes a downward curve?
Here are my top tips for lettering:
Write your title in advance where possible. Figure out how many letters you can fit across the page before you run out of space.
When writing live, add a little mark to the opposite side of the page (where your sentence will end). Glance over at the mark from time to time – this acts as a guide to help keep your writing straight.
Stick out your pinky! Use it to anchor your hand on the page. This works whether you are right or left-handed.
Using a ruler, draw lines on your flipchart in pencil beforehand.
Use a piece of flipchart paper with thick lines and place it behind the page you are working on. (This always reminds me of my Mum sitting down to write a letter to my aunt using Basildon Bond stationery.)
On that note it’s also possible to buy flipchart paper that features lines or guides to help your writing.
Remember to use plain lettering with no serifs (small lines added to the stroke of a letter like this for example) and avoid fancy calligraphic strokes. They may look pretty but they are often inaccessible to your audience.
I hope you enjoyed these tips on lettering – if you have any of your own do let me know and I’ll share them in a future edition.
Icebreakers are sometimes overlooked as a non essential, flippant or even embarrassing way to kick off a facilitation or training session.
If these thoughts ever pop into my mind I soon recall the one or two training events I ran where I decided not to use an icebreaker, and how disastrous they were.
Used correctly, icebreakers are a great way for a group to get to know one another, to relax and to get into an optimum mindset for learning.
Here are some of my favourite icebreakers; all with a visual twist.
1. Truth or Lie A classic icebreaker. Each person calls out two statements about themselves, one is true, one is false. The group have to guess which is which. Add a visual twist by asking for a volunteer to draw the first person’s two statements on a flip chart or virtual whiteboard. (Once they have finished someone else takes a turn drawing their two statements, and so on.) Guessing can be tracked by drawing True False columns on the page and adding a tick under the column when someone guesses. If done virtually people can add their guesses using Annotation. The volunteer has absolutely no idea what the person is going to say, and although at first the thought of drawing on the spot may seem horrifying, in my experience everyone really enjoys this game. The drawings make it a hilarious and memorable experience for everyone.
2. Animal Alphabet Game Start by drawing an animal beginning with the letter A, again using a flipchart or online whiteboard. Whoever is first to guess what the animal is (if running thison Zoom for example, you can invite people to add their guesses into the chatbox or type them on the screen using annotation – set the annotation function so that names are visible – this makes the process quicker) gets up to draw an animal beginning with B and so on. I have used this with groups of children and adults alike and everyone loves it, despite often getting stuck on N, Y, W…
3. Pictionary Who doesn’t love Pictionary? Not just for Christmas, it’s also a fun and engaging way to open a session. People take turns drawings words, sayings or topic specific phrases whilst others guess at what is being depicted. What could possibly go wrong?!
Despite some initial resistance, once the games get started everyone will want to have a go.
If you are doing this virtually and have never drawn on a virtual whiteboard before then this is the perfect way to start! It will feel odd to use your mouse or tracker to draw on the screen, and the drawings probably will come out all wobbly and a bit strange looking, and that’s kind of the point 🙂
Bonus tip: Get your creative thinking hat on and consider how you can tie in one or more of the above icebreakers with the content you then discussing.
Have you used any of these icebreakers? Have you got any more ideas for fun icebreakers? I’d love to hear from you. Share your comments in the box below.
The first time I saw one of my Dad’s drawings was last September. We were visiting my brother’s house and my niece was gently encouraging (i.e. pestering) him to draw on her blackboard.
He drew a tree and a boat. At that moment I realised I had never seen my Dad draw before. It was quite a strange feeling. Much like when you see a friend’s handwriting for the first time, it was a curious insight into his personality, his uniqueness.
This human element, this insight into someone’s personality is one of the key reasons I love hand drawn graphics so much.
You just don’t get that with those stock images you see in many PowerPoint presentations and websites. (My personal bugbear are the photos of glossy ‘office people’ with big teeth and headsets. Who looks like that? Not many folk in Scotland anyway!)
The human element is just one of many advantages of using hand drawn graphics. Yet despite the multiple benefits people often resist picking up the marker and giving it a go. Why is this?
That’s right, it’s because people believe they can’t draw. They don’t see themselves as artistic.
Do you know what response you would get if you asked a child of 4 whether they think they can draw?
They look at you like you’re mad (I’ve tried it.) ‘Of course!’, is the typical response.
What happens when you ask a child of 7 the same question?
They don’t immediately say yes. It’s often ‘maybe’ or ‘sometimes.’
Is this because a child’s drawing ability has dramatically changed between the ages of 4 and 7?
No, it’s because by the age of 7 early conditioning will have set in. By this age we’ve often been labelled as either ‘good at maths’, ‘sporty’, ‘artistic’, ‘musical’ etc. It often becomes a label for life.
So perhaps you can draw? Perhaps it’s time to revisit your confident 4 year old self.
The truth is if you can draw a line, a circle and a squiggle then you can draw. It’s all about building on key elements.
After all research has shown that a drawing only needs 30% of reality for it to be recognisable.
Kinda takes the pressure off!
So it really doesn’t matter if your house is a square with a triangle on top, or your stick man looks like he’s had one too many. People will get it. That’s the main thing. It doesn’t have to be perfect to get the message across.
Graphics isn’t art. In fact people with a background in art often struggle with graphics because it is so quick, so simple, so in the moment. There is no room for egos when you’re working live with a group of people. Thank goodness for that.
At the end of every graphics course I run I ask the delegates for some feedback. At the back of my office door I stick up all my favourite comments. This is currently number one:
When I tell people what I do for a living, the common response is, ‘Oh you must be very artistic.’ I certainly don’t consider myself an artist. What makes good graphic facilitation does not necessarily make good art and vice versa.
You see, it’s not really about the little drawings, the fancy icons. People (myself included) can get really focussed on that.
It’s about so much more.
Graphics are about drawing out ideas and getting a message across, they’re about making ideas to come to life and getting everyone on the same page. They’re about communicating ideas quickly and easily. They’re about making people feel heard, appreciated and valued.
They’re not about producing works of art.
A good piece of graphic facilitation or graphic recording (often called a chart or a map) has many different components. When viewing graphics work consider the following checklist:
Is there a clear title? How does the lettering look? Is it legible? Are words spelt correctly?
How clear is the logic trail? Is it easy to identify headings and categorisation of themes and ideas?
Does it breathe i.e. is there enough white space?
How does the colouring look? Are the colour choices appropriate to the content? Is there a consistency to the use of colour?
Are the icons relevant and easy to understand?
So forget about art, think about purpose and whether the chart is serving the purpose at hand. Does it make sense? Does it serve the group?
Whether you’re hiring a graphic facilitator or interested in becoming one, keep this handy checklist close by.
And don’t worry if you feel you just can’t draw, believe me you can. All it takes is practice and a willingness to get stuck in.
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