Definitions Chart

Originally uploaded by graphiccoach


As this field of Visual Practitioners grows, I’m finding it increasingly necessary with potential clients and with folks who attend my trainings to begin our conversation with a definition of terms. What exactly is it that my client is wanting when they use the terms ‘graphic facilitation’ or ‘graphic recording’, etc with me? What are their expectations?  Do they want a graphic recorder?  Or a graphic facilitator? What definition are they applying to these words? Many are now using these terms inter-changeable, and unfortunately its causing some confusion in the marketplace.

I’m certainly not the naming queen or the authority for this – nobody is in our niche field. However, I have found it useful to break the application of the graphic skills into four main areas as a way of broaching the conversation: custom chart work, graphic recording, graphic facilitation and graphic coaching.

I have created a chart and a companion article to explain these four applications.

I kick off my Meeting Graphics 101 workshop with this chart – so we are all working off of a shared understanding so attendees can find where on the spectrum they wish to play (some folks are there strictly to become graphic recorders … not leading the process but providing support visual services … while others are lead facilitators and seasoned coaches who want to facilitate using the methods wtih their different populations). I find it really helps to get definitions clear before we begin, so there is clarity.

This chart and article also helps me with potential clients who are approaching me about possible work. They might have seen another colleague in action and are going off of the terminology that they have learned via this other encounter. Or are simply doing their best to use terms that they might not be fully versed in, having gotten information off the internet, etc.  They have my empathy – it can be confusing!

When we go over the definitions I find out how they are using the terms and they find out how I do. In the process we get clear about the real need: whether it is graphic facilitation or graphic recording services that they want for a group meeting. Or, whether they are looking for graphic coaching services to help with life decisions. Or whether they simply need some custom charts done up, etc.

If you’d like to learn more, click the above link to see the chart in larger sizes … and view the companion article.  Here’s to some clarity!  Also, I’ve written lots of other hopefully helpful articles about the graphic recording and graphic facilitation field, as well as some great mp3 interviews with some of my colleagues in the field.

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