What is a Graphic Facilitator?

What is a facilitator?

A facilitator is a neutral party who helps a group or team work together better, uncover common objectives, and collectively decide how best to achieve those objectives. They’re meeting miracle workers.

If you’re no stranger to the corporate business world, you’re probably familiar with facilitators and what they do. They’re the person you call when your team hits a bump in the road, when you need a collaborative boost, or simply, when you need an external perspective.

What is a graphic facilitator?

A graphic facilitator possesses all of the skills of a meeting facilitator, yet tips traditional facilitation over by introducing a visual component. A graphic facilitator employs real time synthesis of information, drawing, and visual communication to structure and lead the conversation in what’s known as graphic facilitation. Graphic facilitators incorporate graphic recording and visual exercises into facilitated sessions to push the boundaries of creative thinking, collaboration, and problem solving.

A graphic facilitator refers to an illustrated board while speaking to meeting attendees.

What does a graphic facilitator do?

  • Consultation: When you partner with a graphic facilitator, it starts with a consultation that works to uncover your meeting objectives.
  • Agenda Design: A graphic facilitator can create a robust and detailed agenda which acts as a visual resource to prep meeting attendees and set expectations.
  • Facilitating Discussion: In the meeting room, a graphic facilitator is an active participant in and moderator of the discussion. As the meeting progresses through agenda items, they ask questions to explore new avenues of a topic, hear thoughts from more reserved individuals, or to establish group consensus. They work to keep attendees on track, but are also nimble in their work, making adjustments when a larger focus is required on a specific topic.
  • Graphic Recording: During your meeting, a graphic facilitator employs visual tools and templates to help categorize and prioritize information, ignite divergent thinking, and engage attendees in subject matter. Better yet, because graphic facilitation incorporates graphic recording, key discussion points are captured, ideas are expanded upon, and obstacles and opportunities are uncovered. Graphic recording highlights for attendees what’s valuable, where there’s overlap, and what areas need to be explored in more depth.
  • Summarize and Synthesize: Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of hiring a graphic facilitator happens at the conclusion of the meeting. With visual capture, any ambiguity surrounding the “What’s next?” question is cleared up; leaving teams with a clarified understanding of action items, ownership, and responsibility.

Benefits of working with a graphic facilitator

Graphic Facilitation = Better Meetings

Meetings, for all businesses, are a valuable investment of time, money, and talent. And yet, meetings are prone to problems – from attendees being unprepared or unengaged, to the meeting not yielding enough valuable insights. Graphic facilitation addresses these problems, and then some, and is a key element of productive, collaborative meetings.

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Better meetings fight burnout

The occupational phenomenon known as burnout impacts 67% of the workforce, according to a Gallup study. Because meetings take up a considerable amount of the work week, many businesses find that burnout starts in the boardroom. The best way to be proactive is to ensure your meetings are engaging, energizing, and motivating. Who does that better than a graphic facilitator?

Bringing a graphic facilitator into your meeting not only provides the structure required for a more productive meeting, it also adds that engaging component so many meetings often lack. Illustrated notes, while keeping attendees focused and interested, also prevents the brain fog associated with information overload, as graphic recording synthesizes information. The result is fewer, but better, meetings.

Meetings that engage everyone, are collaborative, and result in a clear, visible action plan going forward doesn’t burn people out, it sets them afire with enthusiasm. All in all, with a graphic facilitator, there is no room for burnout, as their work combats the signs commonly associated with the feeling.

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Can’t wait to hire a graphic facilitator? Start thinking and working visually now with some the visual templates ImageThink graphic facilitators use in their work. Or, give us a call today to learn how graphic facilitation can add impact and inspiration to your meetings.

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