5 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Conference

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Conference

The International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP) had their annual conference in Washington, DC this year.

You know what that means.  It means I had to be there!  I live in the DC metro area, so I was delighted to spend 4 days with a group of folks that love visual thinking as much as I do.

Here are 5 ways to make the most out of your next conference.  I will use IFVP as an example, so here we go…

  1. Have a Plan.  Conferences can be overwhelming, especially when it spans several days.  One hack I tried that worked very well for me is setting an intention each day.  Each day before I arrived, I determined what I wanted to practice and what I wanted to learn from others.  For example, on Day2 I wanted to practice graphic recording using my iPad.   At the end of each day I felt a huge sense of accomplishment because I was focused and intentional.
  2. Participate.  The best way to learn is to DO.  After all, that’s why you are at the conference.  I know it’s tough, especially when sessions run one after the other and it seems like you have a IV drip of coffee.  Make an effort to participate no matter how small.  Ask questions during your sessions, talk with your neighbor, and jump in on the exercises and group activities.  That’s what I did and it always helped me connect with the people at my table.
    Group exercise - drawing - IFVP Arlington, VA

    Group exercise for building a mobile.

    IFVP Mobile Graphic Recording Arlington, VA

    Completed mobile. WOW. Designed by Team Sculptures


  3. Make time to meet up.  Conferences are the perfect time to meet up with friends you don’t see often.  The best advice I have for this is to plan before the conference.  Find out who is attending and connect with them early so you can make plans for a morning walk or happy hour.  I was so happy to see my buddies from the #CincyTakesOnPoverty project.Friends IFVP Arlington, VA
  4. Talk to the Vendors.  The vendors participating at a conference can give you fresh ideas on how to help your clients. They also have insight on trends in your industry, so learn what’s hot and what’s not from them.  You can usually buy supplies, get significant discounts and save on shipping.
    Neuland Markers Graphic Recording Tools Supplies

    Neuland was in the house, so that means stock up on ink and markers. I picked up my free gift too, love the marker bag!

    Scribes-to-GO Printing Graphic Recording

    Scribes-To-Go shared ideas on using print materials to make our events POP!

  5. Have Fun!  Look at this crowd.  Yes, the photographer told us to say cheese or something like that.  But we were all genuinely having FUN together.  Such a supportive community to be a part of.  The conference theme came true in this picture for us, United We Scribe!

What’s your best tip for getting the most out of a conference? Please share and comment below.

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


My Review of The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde

My Review of The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde

Sketchnotes are small visual summaries, and sketchnotes are showing up EVERYWHERE!  I am so excited to see visual thinking with sketchnotes becoming mainstream.  Just Google it and see some of the rich visual content coming out of conferences, seminars, and presentations.  I first heard the term “sketchnote” by Mike Rohde, and he recently wrote a book about it called The Sketchnote Handbook (affiliate link).  I ordered the book as soon as it was released and I was so excited to get it.  When it arrived, I had to take a picture 😀

The book is beautiful.  Why?  It is soft to the touch with a matte coating, rounded corners, and thick pages like a real moleskin book.  This fully-illustrated handbook shows you the process of creating visual notes for better understanding and retention.

Mike reviews the foundations of drawing, typography, layouts and icons.  The book also showcases the works of other sketchnoters with their  tips and tricks.  When I saw the tips and different styles of other sketchnotes, I just fell in love with the book.

Photo Dec 06, 4 43 16 PM

There is also a special edition video which includes 70 minutes of video tutorials with Mike demonstrating the step-by-step process he discussed in the Sketchnote Handbook.

Photo Feb 10, 1 51 27 PM

I highly recommend checking out The Sketchnote Handbook. It’s definately one of my favorites.

Do you doodle while taking notes? If not, why not?  Please share and comment below.

Visual Thinking:  What is it?

Visual Thinking: What is it?

We all have our own techniques for remembering things.

Some people use cue cards, repetition, or acronyms.  Some use rhymes or even songs.  Others use diagrams, maps and pictures to make associations.   Wikipedia describes visual thinking as the phenomenon of thinking through visual processing, by seeing words as a series of pictures.

Now, let’s see what this source has to say on the matter.  Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you, the Muppets, with a classic video on visual thinking.

Dr. John Medina of Brain Rules believes that the more visual the input becomes, the more likely it is to be recognized—and recalled.

We can learn and retain knowledge far more effectively by maximizing the use of our senses.  So integrate visual thinking with action, verbal, auditory, tactile and motor sensory functions for better learning.

Did you know that approximately 60%–65% of the general population are visual learners? What is your learning style?


My Creative Business – Special Interview

My Creative Business – Special Interview

Hi Everyone,

I have some exciting news to share.

I was interviewed recently by Vera Raposo, business coach and mastermind at Your Creative Biz.   Vera offers products and services for creative entrepreneurs.  I was delighted to do this interview and honored for her to introduce me to her creative community.  Thanks Vera 😀

During the interview, I share how I got started with graphic recording, what was my turning point, and tips I have learned for business success.

You can check out my interview with Vera here.

creative business interview, graphic recording, sketchnotes, washington d.c.

Do you have a creative business or dream of one?  Please share what it is.  Just comment below.

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!