All geared up and on my way to do digital sketchnoting in a fairly large conference for a couple of next days. I've got a regular real-time sketchnoting gig tool set with me: 2x iPad Pro tablets (when the battery dies in the first one, I just change into another one.
The Nordic Business Forum team have taken their event to Sweden – and I get to be part of the event here, too. And all this sure makes this former Swedish teacher-now-a-graphic recorder super happy, yay!
Last autumn I gave you some tips for preparing to sketchnote a major event. Now I thought I’d give you a couple of tips for the actual sketchnoting process in a big time event. There are plenty of advice on how to get started with sketchnoting or graphic recording but I haven’t seen that many posts about being on a professional level. So here you are,
How to Do Graphic Recording for a Really Huge Event:
- Be prepared. Check out YouTube videos and listen to podcasts from the speakers so that you know how the speakers sound like. Find out what they have been talking about lately.
- If you get to see the speakers’ slides beforehand, it might help you. On the other hand if their presentations are very visual (meaning: stock images only) it might leave you puzzled.
- Sharpen your visual brain half: check out inspirational sketchnotes or do some exercises that freshen up your visual vocabulary.
- Fix the templates in advance. Find the event logo and check out the colours they use. Create 1-3 different starting templates, and then copy the templates. It might be good to write the speakers’ names and titles etc. in advance, too.
- Know your tools. If you’re doing digital sketchnoting like me, it’s extra important to know how your iPad (or other piece of equipment) works and what you can do with the drawing app you use. Don’t test out new tech gear in a major event.
- Get a good night’s sleep. That way you’ll charge your cognitive battery.
- Be there on time. Find your spot. Check your gear. Attend the tech rep on the previous night.
- Bring some snacks and get yourself a water bottle before the action starts. It’ll be a long day.
- Dive in. Don’t be disturbed by your phone or the audience or the lights or the pyro effects, just listen to the speakers, go with the flow…
- …but if you just can’t find the red thread, it might be a good idea to check the Twitter feed under the event’s hashtag. Maybe the fellow Twitter users have been able to sum something up?
- If the speaker is really fast with slides it’s ok to use technical help: have your mobile phone nearby and take a photo of an important slide. That way you can check it out later when you get to that point and you don’t overload your working memory too much.
- If you need to scribe down multiple things, here’s a handy tip: write down only the first syllable of the word. That way you’ll remember the whole word later when you have time to fill in all the items on the list.
- Don’t try to write down everything that is said. Find the core message and visualize that.
- The most important things are usually said in the first part of a sentence. The rest is usually just stuff that backs it all up. So be extra alert in the beginning of a “chapter” (if the speaker has clear chapters).
- Use layers as you draw. One layer per bigger chunk of content is a good thumb rule. The layers will help you if you mess up with content or the lay-out.
BONUS: And finally: share your visual notes online. If you use your own personal social media account make sure you’ve tagged the event organisers and the event, too.
The Nordic Business Forum Sweden is on Monday 16th at the Waterfront congress centre. The speaker list of the event is as interesting as it should be – after all, it’s NBF. You’ll find the list and other information about this great event on the NBForum website.
And finally: where do you get to see the sketchnotes?
In case you’re interested in seeing what I draw at the NBFSweden, you’ll find my visual notes from all the presentations in the NBF blog under my author tag. I’ll place the images in the NBF blog right away and afterwards youll find all the sketchnotes there – just like the ones from previous years in Helsinki. If you are a live stream viewer, you’ll find my iPad as one of the “camera angles”. Then you have an opportunity to follow my sketchnoting real-time via live stream video.
I expect to hear some inspiring presentations and get to part of a unique atmosphere that only the NBForum team can provide. And hopefully I get to share some of that unique feeling too in a role of a sketchnoter. Wish me luck! :)