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3 Ways to Use Visual Thinking to Level Up Your Next Event

Visuals are a powerful way to engage diverse perspectives. Visual thinking, when used intentionally, increases retention of information, sparks conversation, and summarizes an event's big ideas!

At Picture it Possible we partner with social impact teams, foundations, and boards to boost engagement and create positive change.


When planning for a major workshop or conference our attention may be heavily focused on the agenda, room set-up, or other logistics. Deciding on what people will do when they are together is often done on auto-pilot. It is easy to default to old models or activities that we are accustomed to without giving it a second thought.

In this article, I am sharing my top tips for implementing visual thinking and learning techniques to level up your next conference or event. Here are three ways you can get participants engaged, make your event stand out, and get folks excited about attending your next event! 

1. Maximize Transitions with Interactive Walls

The gap between arrival time and the official opening is a prime time for engagement. If you are new to interactive walls, I've listed a few ideas to encourage you to give it a try. 

  • Gather participant feedback via dot-voting, or sticky notes.

  • Provide prompts, like, "What do you hope to learn at the conference?", "Where did you travel from?" 

  • Include anchor visuals that align with the theme (magazine cut-outs, printed photos or icons can work well here). 

  • Adapt questions based on the topic, interests, or demographics of the participants. 

  • Display a map and have participants put a dot, pin, or other theme cut-out with their name near the location of their hometown, their organization's headquarters, or an area they are committed to serving.

2. Engage a Graphic Recorder

Graphic Recording (aka, live scribing, visual notetaking) is the translation of conversations or presentations into text and pictures in real time. This can be delivered in an analog format using markers on paper or foam board. Many graphic recorders also offer digital scribing options using a tablet.

What Does a Graphic Recorder Do?

A recorder or "scribe" captures key highlights, questions and answers, and discussions during a conference session or workshop. The recorder can be positioned in the front of the room to the side of the speaker or in the rear of the room. 

What Set Up is Required?

The recorder can be positioned in the front of the room to the side of the speaker or in the rear of the room. Following each session charts or foam core boards are displayed or hung on available wall space in key locations with clearly labeled session titles. Digital charts can be viewed on large screens during transitions or at key moments in your agenda as a visual summary or focal point for discussion.

3. Create Group Challenges

I have used small group drawing challenges with educators, social impact teams, and C Suite executives. I provide a set of simple, hand-drawn images (some reminiscent of childhood) and ask teams to recreate them. This can be done using blindfolds, or devices like the one pictured above. The visual serves as an anchor to help focus the group. 

I love how each group finds its way to communicate and complete the task at hand.

The mood and people’s perspectives begin to change! The entire flow of the event can shift- in a good way! There is a wonderful buzz of chatter, and laughter heard in the room while each group is strategizing and problem-solving together!

To bring graphic recording or visual facilitation to your upcoming event, visit or click here to book a discovery call.


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