Each month of my new life brings another new opportunity and way to demonstrate the value of graphic recording. Got a call asking if I could record a brainstorming session and create a set of posters. The team of six industry leaders of a professional services firm were getting together, for the first time, on a Tuesday to prepare for a pitch on Thursday. They wanted to talk outloud together about how their firm would respond to the four Request For Proposals (RFP) they hoped to win. They wanted to do something different with the hour they had with the client, and had decided to create a series of 6-8 flipchart sized posters. There would be no powerpoint, no ugly slides, just hand drawn interpretations of their pitch. I knew I couldn't accomplish all of this in one day and the client came up with a brilliant solution - I would be in a room with the team, and an illustrator in a room in another state, would listen in, via video conferencing.
It was lots of fun, for me and for the team - who had never worked with a graphic recorder before - to talk and dream and scheme together. I listened for themes and for different clusters of information - what would success look like at the end of Thursday, what unique skills and experience will they bring, what areas of the RFPs did they want to address and how. - and Dancing along the 20 feet of paper I'd put up, I made connections, and highlighted the words and ideas that came up again and again.
Many hours later we truly had a visual representation of the team's collective experience. The team 'voted', with post its, on the most important bits and pieces of content to include in the pitch. We mocked up the posters, sent photos to the illustrator in the room hundreds of miles away, who created the posters and delivered them on Thursday (along with easels to hold them!) to the pitch location in yet another state.
When I first got the call I didn't know how this would work or if it would work. The team leader was convinced that my being in the room as they brainstormed would help them focus and encourage creative approaches. This method of preparing for a pitch was unique for this team and it turned out to be very satisfying for all of them. The very next day I received two emails - 'Wanted to say thank you again for joining our team yesterday. You are amazingly talented and I just love how you were able to capture our thoughts much better than we could ourselves.' and 'Thank you for your creative support in preparing for the pitch. The day spent with you was truly a very memorable day. You have an amazing talent. I feel the pitch went really well. The creative boards were well received and created a number of good discussions and engagement. Exactly what we wanted.'.
Next I'll follow up and see if they won the work! The adventure continues...