Visually Recording Sessions

Initially you may be thinking that this involves creating a video or using some other form of motion capturing. However, you would be wrong. The title refers to visual recording in the sense of a visual mind map or diagram.

I first saw this method following a link from a twitter feed and was impressed by not how it embraced the use of the technology and  how it focused on the visual representation of sessions and ultimately thoughts and ideas. If you are reading this, you may want to watch the video now and then come back and continue reading.

It is at this point that I would like to point out that although the video demonstrates the use of an iPad, the initial method was using ‘paper and pen’ and so it is the method that I would like to focus on rather than the technology.

Writing notes, can be, in my opinion, one of the most boring activities ever. Frequently I find myself wanting to listen and not write or just doodling in the margin. I often end up at the end of meeting/session with a page of random sentences, a few highlighted words and the important items of my next shopping list. This items are recorded in the same sequence of the meeting and can be stand alone items, not linking to other ideas or thoughts. The concept of a visual representation of a meeting/session can alter this in three ways.

Ideas can be connected – Using a mind map, ideas and concepts can be linked to one another. Something that is mentioned and discussed at the end or middle of a session can be linked to other parts. This can be achieved through an arrow or a dashed linking line. This could start a new area of thought or signal linking to the next meeting/session.

Organisation – With the use of boxes, bubbles and arrows, the information is organised and connected. Even if you do suddenly think of a shopping list item, this can be assigned to a separate ‘bubble’ later to be added to a separate ‘to do’ list. With any session, an area set up at the start of the meeting/session for a ‘to do’ list can easily support the process of ‘not forgetting’ anything after the meeting/session.

 Attention – Although you may think that this method would prompt doodling, I often find that I am more attentive within the meeting/session, focusing on what to write, but also how the current point being discussed links to the other parts of the session. I am not implying that this method of recording would increase the interest value of a session, but it might help you record it.

This method may not work for everyone, and some people will already have a method that works well and allows them to record the information. The use of technology can have an impact on the way this system works, and the advantages at the end to either save it electronically and/or email are very appealing.

Next time you attend a session, why not have a go? Just take a sheet of blank paper and some coloured pens and go for it.

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