A Simple Facilitation Technique: The Parking Lot

A Simple Facilitation Technique: The Parking Lot

What happens when you are running a meeting or a workshop and the group starts to stray away from the agenda?

Maybe someone mentions a topic and another person jumps in to add their thoughts.  Before you know it, the entire group is now discussing something outside the scope of your meeting.  I have seen this happen time and time again.  And so have you right?  When I am supporting a facilitator with graphic recording, I always offer to create a Parking Lot for the meeting.

The Parking Lot is a placeholder for capturing ideas that should be followed up at a later date outside of the meeting.  It keeps your meeting on course and it shows the contributor that you acknowledge their idea/concern.

Here is a quick video that explains how to use the technique.

What’s your favorite method for keeping meetings on track?  I’d love to hear it.

If you want to use visual communication for your next project, meeting or workshop just contact me for ideas.  I’m happy to help.

Project: SURN Leadership Conference

Project: SURN Leadership Conference

Last week I worked with over 200 leaders in education.  It was the 21st SURN Leadership Conference held at the College of Willliam & Mary in Williamsburg, VA.  The conference ran from 6/19-6/20 and included speakers and workshops that brought innovative thinking and insight to attendees.  I provided graphic recording for 5 different sessions, check out some of the photos below.


It’s a full house! Educations Leaders ready to engage at #SURNLC2017

BIG Board for BIG Ideas! Title done, now I’m ready for capture.

John Almarode, Opening Keynote, Graphic Recording - Sketchnotes

Here is the after, Visual summary for the Opening Keynote all finished. Speaker: John Almarode

Concurrent Session: Speaker, John Almarode SURN Sketchnotes Graphic Recording

Concurrent Session: Speaker, John Almarode.  Love his presentation style, very active with music and audience participation.

Mike Schmoker was so engaging with the audience. He showed an example about tying shoe laces with his own shoes. Can you find the shoes in my chart? Double click to expand.

Closing session Steven Staples

Closing session by Steven Staples was great. He shared facts and inspiration for leaders.

Lisa Nelson Workshop Presenter for See In Colors

I had the honor of being a presenter this year.

I thoroughly enjoyed teaching this workshop.  The participants jumped right in and were so creative.  They even shared their work on social media #SURNLC2017 to inspire others!

Sketchnotes for Beginners Workshop

Teaching Sketchnotes for Beginners to a full class of 30 education leaders.

My final quote to the workshop participants.

This was such a positive and action oriented conference.  I am excited to see the plans for next year!

Thanks for reading!  If you find this valuable, please share this with someone you know.

If you want to use visual images for your next project, conference, or strategy session, just contact me for ideas.  I’m happy to help (smile).

How to Draw a Book in 5 Easy Steps #NationalSchoolLibrarianDay

How to Draw a Book in 5 Easy Steps #NationalSchoolLibrarianDay

April 4th is National School Librarian Day.  Let’s give librarians a round of applause and celebrate them with visual thinking.

When you think of a librarian, what image comes to mind.  Books pop into my mind.

Here is a quick lesson on how to draw a book in 5 easy steps.  Give it a shot.

how to draw a book - visual thinking - graphic recording

Icons like this can help build your visual vocabulary.  Of course you can use this icon to draw tons of concepts.  For example a book can represent learning, school, teacher, research, and so much more.  And several books together can make a library!

Can you think of more ideas a book icon can represent?  I’d love to hear it.

Thanks for reading!  If you want to use visual thinking for your next project, conference, or strategy session, just contact me for ideas.

Project: Social Enterprise Symposium – University of Maryland

Project: Social Enterprise Symposium – University of Maryland

I love these kinds of projects, because I get to learn something new about business!  I provided graphic recording for the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland at their Social Enterprise Symposium.

My favorite quote of the day came from the keynote speaker, Shannon Schuyler of PwC.  She said “Creating a better world is smart for business.”  I agree, 100%.

Great speakers and special thanks to lead sponsors Price Waterhouse Coopers, EarthColor, and Goodwill Industries International, Inc.

Click the image below to expand for a larger view.

Social Enterprise Symposium - UMD Graphic Recording by Lisa Nelson

Social Enterprise Symposium - Graphic Recording, sketchnotes by Lisa Nelson

Getting started with quotes from the keynote speaker, Shannon Schuyler of PwC

Graphic Recording, Social Enterprise Symposium at UMD Robert Smith School

Thanks for reading! Let me know know your feedback, I’d love to hear from you.  If you find this valuable, please share this with someone you know.

If you want to use visual images for your next project, conference, or strategy session, contact me for ideas.

Education is  a Powerful Weapon

Education is a Powerful Weapon

I came across this quote last week and I had to draw it.  “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela.

Education Quote by Nelson Mandela, Sketchnotes by Lisa Nelson

Visual Quote by Lisa Nelson

One of the best ways to get an education is through reading books.  This year, I want to AMP up my game as far as reading goes.  I’m a big fan of audio books but I am going to switch it up this year.  This is the year I go back to basics with good old fashioned physical tangible books.

Here’s what’s on my list to read next.  I have a nice combo.

  • “In the Company of Women” a gift from my friend Wendy
  • “Draw to Win” I purchased online
  • “Switch”, I got from the library. I’ve renewed it twice and it’s due at end of the month.  Uh oh!

Books to read

I will be pulling out my favorite nuggets from these books and drawing them out.  I’ll be sharing them in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

What’s on your reading list?


Visible Learning Conference 2016 – #AVL2016

Visible Learning Conference 2016 – #AVL2016

What if teachers could see learning through the eyes of their students?

On Monday, July 11th I had the chance to hear John Hattie and several other speakers answer that question at the Annual Visible Learning Conference hosted by Corwin Press.  During this conference I created visual maps of the keynotes throughout the day.  The completed charts were displayed in the Exhibit Hall so attendees could get a closer look at take photos.  I spoke with so many educators who shared with me how they want to use more visuals in their classrooms.  YES!  The power of visual thinking is really amazing.

#AVL2016 John Hattie Keynote Annual Visible Learning Conference

John Hattie Keynote on The Current State of Visible Learning Research

#AVL2016 Viviane Robinson Keynote Annual Visible Learning Conference

Viviane Robinson Keynote on Building Trust While Doing the Tough Work of Improvement

#AVL2016 Pedro Noguera Keynote Annual Visible Learning Conference

Pedro Noguera Keynote on Equity and Deeper Learning

Name Badge #AVL2016

Lisa Nelson….Hey, that’s me 🙂


1,000 Attendees at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center


error: Content is protected !!


Sign up for a weekly dose of visual ideas, inspiration and creativity + receive your Visual Note-Taking Tip Sheet.  Just enter your email address below...

You have Successfully Subscribed!