Drawing in class: Rachel Smith at TEDxUFM

This is from one of many great posts on Rachel Smith's blog.

Facilitation by visual note-taking seems a fascinating and challenging profession. Listening is hard, and you're accountable in real time, in front of everybody, for capturing what was said in a helpful way.

I'm sure it helps to be a "visual person", but that alone is not enough. You have to absorb what's being said by people with different ways of thinking and communicating, some more "visualizable" than others. In a well-facilitated meeting, the participants shouldn't feel their thoughts are translated into visual form so much as reflected back to them. At least that's how I imagine it, and while Smith gives lots of encouragement along with her advice, it still seems very hard to me.

On top of that are the challenges any facilitator faces. There may be tensions within the group due to personalities or politics. There may be resentment at having a facilitator at all. Often people's thoughts will not be fully formed — that's probably why they're having the meeting in the first place. And the subject matter may be highly specialized; I assume a good facilitator does enough homework beforehand so they don't have to interrupt every five minutes to ask about basic terms and concepts.

2 thoughts on “Drawing in class: Rachel Smith at TEDxUFM

  1. This is really cool. Her talk brought back memories of middle school health class, where I took all my notes a single sheet of paper that, by the end of the term, was pretty crowded. It was more writing and less cartoony than Smith's examples, but it was still more cartoony than my notes for other classes. I guess because it wasn't a super-difficult class ("Just Say No") I thought I could experiment with the note taking. Maybe? It was so long ago, I have no idea what I was thinking. Boy, it would be cool to find that sheet of paper again.

  2. That's a cool memory to have. One of these days I'll have to find and dig through my old school notes. I wonder if I'd recognize the person who took them.

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