You have a team event coming up and some ideas about what you want to achieve. You want it to be fun, engaging, and that participants feel involved. Although you have heard about visual thinking, vision mapping, live recording, you are not sure what you need. Not strange at all, considering the speed at which this field evolves.
In this blog we go over the role of a Visual Facilitator, and when it can be a good idea to get one involved.
Role of a Visual Facilitator
A visual facilitator helps achieving the desired outcome of an event in a fun, creative and effective way. Besides streamlining the overal process, the visual facilitator makes sure participants are all on board. He or she has a toolbox full of methods and exercises.
A visual facilitator in short:
- Makes the process easy and fun
- Has a toolbox full of methods and techniques for teamwork
- Helps with designing the event or offsite
- Makes sure everyone is on board
- Visualizes progress and discussions, for better critical thinking
- Delivers (visual) results
- Facilitating the agenda
Whether 10 or 100 people, the facilitator will help set up the agenda to get the most out of the participants. This includes proper planning and time keeping, guiding and helping the participants, discussing mutual expectations, and if necessary adjusting the agenda on the fly.
Design of the event
Together with the organizer a facilitator helps design the workshop. What is the goal of the event? When is it considered successful? Jointly you come to an optimal set up, taking into account the size and characteristics of the group, time available, the setting, and the problem to tackle.
Toolbox full of techniques
There is not a single solution for creative teamwork. That is why a facilitator has a broad range of tools and methods to choose from. Breakouts, icebreakers, design thinking exercises, insight in team dynamics, lean visual management tools, scoping exercises, and of course endless supply of color-coordinated sticky-notes and markers.
Creating an open atmosphere
An important role of a facilitator is to create a safe and open atmosphere for the participants. Everyone should be invited and feel comfortable to contribute. For the most optimal outcome, you need each individual perspective and expertise.
Visualizing the process and the results
The appealing part of a visual workshop, is that the progress is made visual throughout the day. This triggers input, creativity and critical (systems) thinking. Different perspectives can be made visual in a quick and neutral way. It is a nice additional option to receive the notes and minutes in a visual summary, a story or infographic afterwards, ready for communication purposes.
When to involve a Visual Facilitator?
In my experience many teams have one or two talented persons to help with facilitation. And certainly not every event needs a visual facilitator. But here are a few reasons when it is smart to consider hiring an external facilitator:
- You need innovative solutions fast. We all know the phrase: “We cannot solve problems with the same thinking that created them”. An external facilitator will have refreshing and new exercises and provide different angles to look at a problem. By design of the session and facilitating the group, the facilitator can create the optimal conditions for creative problem solving.
- You are concerned about the group dynamics. Sometimes hierarchy, culture or just a certain combination of people can prevent an open atmosphere. In this case it’s smart to ask some help to focus on team dynamics into the workshops design.
- The organizer wants to be able to enjoy, and participate in the workshop. Many times I observed that managers or team members that happen to organize, are too busy with the logistics of the day to be able to participate fully.
- Instead of receiving a list of actions, or worse: a bunch of vague ambitions: discuss with the facilitator to receive the results in a visually appealing way. Ready to communicate.
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Looking for a Visual Facilitator to help with your workshop? We love to work with you. Please contact to discuss your ideas.
My name is Puck ten Kate and I am visual thinking consultant, illustrator and trainer. I want to spark creativity in business, and help people make use of their creative potential in day to day work. In the Sketchworks blog I share my hacks, tips and tricks that I feel are valuable to others.
Let me know if you are looking for some specific resources. Always open for new ideas and feedback.
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