Are you curious to find out what the impact, the effect or result is once people participated in your program?

I guess so. Or actually, I hope so. I love receiving messages from my participants and clients about the shift they made because of the work we did together. It is after all the reason why we both choose to invest our resources. It is also important to me to find out what I can do differently, perhaps with the same energy, to obtain a more valuable outcome.

But how do you find out? How do you measure or make the impact visible?

One of the ways I do this is by using visual templates. If you are not yet so familiar with this term, it’s ‘a sheet of paper, used repetitively, with powerful questions, designed in such way that they facilitate the user through an inquiry or process.’ Possibly even without the presence or interference of
the facilitator.

Visual templates are used for different purposes and in various situations. Because they can be used repetitively, they have the power to simplify your workflow. Let’s have a look which reason(s) applies on your workflow and is useful for you to consider using a visual template for.

The 7 good reasons to use visual templates

REASON 1 – Processess you repeat often, slow down your workflow because they aren’t standardized

Simplify your working process by systematizing parts of your workflow and replicate documents that have proven to work.
 

REASON 2 – You lose time at the start of your session because of refreshing memories and getting people to focus on the topic

Sending out a visual template up front with a relevant about of questions, help people prepare and get ready for the conversations. As a result, the session will be more efficient.
 

REASON 3 – You can’t be present by yourself

By no means I think of removing you out of your role as a facilitator entirely, but I am sure you can relate to the experience you can’t be in two places at the same time. When you have a well designed template, your conversation partner(s) can work independently because the visual template can replace you for a small part while you attend to something or someone else in the meantime.
 

REASON 4 – You always provide a page with questions listed from the top down

Good, but what if the process isn’t linear, then why present it that way? Placing the questions one after another from the top down on a page doesn’t make as much sense as visually presenting it in the way the user can extract more meaning of it. For instance, if you want someone to inquire upon the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats, then it is helpful to actually design the page in the SWOT model quadrants.
 

REASON 5 – Your programs aren’t as interactive as you wish

Instead of asking the whole group a number of questions and you taking notes on the flipchart, you can split the group in break out groups and provide each of group a visual template. This will stimulate the conversation and allow them to harvest and choose what they select to share back in the main group.
 

REASON 6 – There aren’t enough facilitators to guide different groups

Occasionally groups run parallel sessions without a facilitator. If this group must report back later about their findings, a visual template makes sure at least someone harvests the essentials relevant to share.
 

REASON 7 – There is a lack of time to guide different processes subsequently

When groups are large and the workshop time is short, splitting the group to run parallel sessions, can be a great solution. Each group can work on a different part of the process and use a visual template to make their contribution fit into the whole..
 

Spoiling your resources has a cost for you?

Are any of these reasons present for you?

Did it occur to you that by using visual templates you open up new possibilities in your facilitation style and methods?

Did it also occur to you there is a cost to NOT using them?

Take your most present reason and inquire a little on the time, energy, loss of other possibilities, perhaps even money or time to help other people or simply take more time for yourself or your family.

 

MAIN INSIGHTS >> Using visaul templates makes sense when …

  • 1 >  Processes you repeat often, slow down your workflow because they aren’t standardized
  •  2 >  You lose time at the start of your session because of refreshing memories and getting people to focus on the topic
  •  3 >  You can’t be present by yourself
  •  4 >  You always provide a page with questions listed from the top down
  •  5 >  Your programs aren’t as interactive as you wish
  •  6 >  There aren’t enough facilitators to guide different groups
  •  7 >  There is a lack of time to guide different processes subsequently

What are the reasons you might choose to start using visual templates?
Please share your reflection with me
in the comments.

In this FREE video series you receive 7 Tips to increase your impact beyond the training room.

My name is Mireille van Bremen and I work internationally as a visual catalyst. Everything I do as a graphic recorder, visual mediator, facilitator, visual skills trainer and coach, stems from an intention to invigorate creativity and empathy in order to catalyse potential, prevent conflict,
navigate change and stimulate inclusion.

After a career as a design department leader I nowadays work internationally as a visual catalyst to increase the impact of presentations, workshops, strategic meetings and conferences by providing visual translation and by teaching others how to communicate and facilitate visually.

The training programs I design and offer as live as in the online Visual Skills Training academy I founded, help trainers, facilitators, coaches, educators and leaders from all over the world to become resourceful and self-reliant in their communication so they can facilitate impactful dialogues.