Speaking on Synthesis • IFVP Aloha 2011

graphic facilitation m7: shape speaking Oct 20, 2011

Colleague and dear friend Lynn Carruthers totally had my number.

She knew I was burnt out after my ten-year tenure with the International Forum of Visual Practitioners. Organized a decade of conferences, wrangled the board, led Graphic Recording 101 with her for three delightful years. It was time to step back and make space for other folks and more perspectives. 

Lynn approached me about doing a lil' ol' breakout session. Not a big commitment. She hooked me with, "It's a room full of guinea pigs to try something new on." 

Okay. You got me. 

And I do love a conference talk as a deadline and a new audience for a new model in my body of work. This January I launched The Draw Quad at an unconference.

What shall I choose...?

There's a book percolating in me and I know I'll be tackling visual synthesis... 

Me being me, I wrestle the MOST complex topic for this session: Synthesis.

My challenge was to show the same piece of content at different levels of visual synthesis. From more linear text on the left to more high-level visual on the right. I chose the Aesop's fable about the Bundle of Sticks

I was, perhaps unwisely, the session after lunch, but I played some jaunty music to lure people in and pump myself up. Quincy Jones Comin' Home, Stevie Wonder's Sir Duke. 

Happily, there was a rush to grab seats and I had some folks sitting on the floor, and leaning on the back wall. 

 Julie Gieseke captured the moment via Twitter: 

My visual approach was darn simple. I taped up the five examples along a spectrum and talked through them one by one. I love tackling theory, but I always include concrete tips as well. 

 Big, big thanks to Lynne Cazaly for mapping my session: 



You can find The Synthesis Spectrum in the chapter Putting It Together on pages 240-264 in The Graphic Facilitator's Guide: How to use your listening, thinking and drawing skills to make meaning.

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