Thursday, October 25, 2018

Sketchnotes as Speaker Notes

I've given loads of talks in my thirty years in higher education.  But only recently have I started to use sketchnotes as my speaker notes!  Doing so has changed not only how I prepare for my talks, but has given me a lot more freedom during my talks as well.

Here is an example of a sketchnote I used as part of a workshop I led earlier this week to a lively group of K-12 educators on using visual/verbal techniques (like sketchnotes and comics) in the classroom.

As a tool for notetaking, sketchnotes asks you to focus on the big picture.  This technique asks you to listen actively, to evaluate what you are hearing or reading as you encounter it.  After all, you can't sketchnote everything you hear!

So, when you sketchnote, you need to ask:  What seems most important to you?  How do the important pieces of information relate to each other?  What are the patterns in the information you hear?

This method helps learners really grasp the information more completely and clearly!  It is much more effective than a student simply struggling to write down everything they can from a speaker's talk or from a textbook chapter.

I'm discovering that creating sketchnotes to prepare to give a talk has all of the same benefits!  It helped me to sift through all of the information I had, identify what is most important, think about how it all fits together and relates to each other, and see if I could construct any patterns.

In creating sketchnotes for a talk, I find myself asking how I can speak in a way that would help my listeners make better, more clear sketchnotes of my talk!

And while I might have additional notes with me for quotations or dates or other specifics, I keep a one-page sketchnoted outline in front of me as I speak, to remind me of the big picture, and to help my learners see it.

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