The latest episode of The Informed Life podcast features an interview with my friend, graphic recorder and facilitator MJ Broadbent. MJ uses visual thinking to help folks understand themselves and each other more effectively:

Graphic recording – the large scale version – can be very valuable for meetings and conferences because people see that it’s happening and they can watch in meetings, they can see that they’re being heard and that, that they’re being paid attention to. And it can change the dynamic of the conversation. They become more focused often, and they feel cared for in a way. There’s somebody taking this, this step, this action and that there will be an artifact afterward. So a lot of just times we’re in rooms where people are doing a lot of talking and maybe someone’s taking notes. Mostly people are looking at what do we need to do coming out of this meeting? And then maybe capturing action items, but the capturing the content or the key aspects of what’s being discussed, is something that I think we can do more of.

I asked MJ a question I’ve asked of previous guests in the show: How has this way of working influenced how you manage your own information? MJ pointed to casual drawing in everyday situations to make things clearer and more fun:

Recently I got some new black jeans and you have to watch out when you wash them. You don’t put light-colored things in there because you know, the dye will leach. And so I made a note to make sure to use cold water and I made the big blue cold with the waves underneath, like kind of just as a reminder. So I’m… That’s kind of fun. And then also a really cool way is on a little simple calendar or paper calendars on the refrigerator. And sometimes I’ll put a little drawing of something that happened that day. The way people make journals. Yeah. Maybe it was the weather or something you ate. Just drawing simple little icons, or you know, I keep colored pens around the house. We have cups of pens everywhere and so that’s keeping it fun.

And it’s always nice when somebody else is involved. They enjoy it. It’s like how we used to be about getting paper mail, getting a letter in the mail. And then, I think the other part is, in terms of how I manage my life, I can’t have a conversation with people in, in person, often cannot have a conversation without drawing something.

MJ also shared about her upcoming seminar on this subject at Stanford, which sounds like a great opportunity to learn how to make drawing a greater part of your life. As always, you can see a transcript and links for the episode at TheInformed.Life. Hope you enjoy the show!

The Informed Life Episode 16: MJ Broadbent on Graphic Recording