Have you seen this brilliant Ignite talk by Sunni Brown on The Doodle Revolution? It’s awesome – and I promise it will serve you well to join the Doodle Revolution for your life and business. What Sunni refers to as “doodling” I refer to as drawthinking – essentially, hand-drawing images mixed with words to process thinking or take notes as you listen. I did this pretty diligently during the Wisdom 2.0 conference last month and I am astounded at how well it worked for both processing the information in the moment and for remembering what I was learning. Which makes sense, when you think about the pictorial superiority effect.
Still today (a month later) I remember the gist of so much of the content because I have all of these images to conjure when I reflect back. I’ll share some here in this blog post so you can see. (You’ll also note that I am NOT a talented artist – and still drawthinking serves me really powerfully. So don’t let drawing skill – or lack of – get in your way at all!)
While Wisdom 2.0 conference is about a month behind me, the ah-ha moments and rich learning is texturing my days powerfully. I have been to quite a few conferences and this is a rare outcome. I usually meet cool people and learn useful stuff at conferences, but I have to admit, I am too often disappointed by the long term relevance of the content and even the relationships (which may just be me and my introvert nature.) Beyond my own personality limitations, though, there are two reasons why I believe my Wisdom 2.0 learning is so much stickier than other conferences for me: I used Visual Notes, or drawthinking (similar to processes discussed in Back of the Napkin and Visual Meetings, both excellent books – and affiliate links, thank you) & High Quality, Personally Relevant Content.
Take this first drawing I did during the conference, from a panel with Chris Sacca (investor in lots of hit companies), Eric Schiermeyer of Zinga.com, Roshi Joan Halifax (tweeting Buddhist Monk), Kevin Rouse of DIGG, and Bradley Horowitz of Google. The panel went on for, oh, I don’t know – maybe an hour or so. The conversation was good. These are all witty, smart, experienced people who have spent many hours on panels and in hot seats sharing their wisdom – who also have spent some time on inner focus as well. But the ways they approach the technology and inner life thing are quite different. Just a glance at my notes reminds me very clearly the essence of each person’s message, as I found it useful for me:
Chris Sacca – The path to “success” is a crazy one. Chris sent out 785 resumes and had each one rejected. he was $2.1 million in debt. Then he created a business card (with the help of his designer fiance’) with a made up business/brand called, “Salinger Group” and started introducing himself as a partner in the group.
Eric Schiermeyer – living on no sleep and Red Bull is a road to Hell. He found out the hard way (bleeding ulcer) that he needed periods of space, work, rest, quiet, work – it all has to be in there for him to sustain good living.
Roshi Joan Halifax – Being mindful doesn’t require total abstinence from technology. In fact, technology can provide meaningful connection. But it will never replace hand to hand touch. We need time for different things.
Bradley Horowitz – through recent personal family loss and intense career requirements, Bradley is reminded that there is opportunity in every crisis to be more mindful, more present.
Kevin Rouse – There is magic in a cup of loose leaf tea – for real. Enjoy technology, do your work… and then, make time to unplug and make yourself a cup of hot tea and be quiet. Enjoy. Savor. Focus on your face to face relationship.
All I have to do is glance at each image I drew to have my memory flooded with the messages from that panel. I have hundreds of pages of notes from workshops, panels, classes, degrees, trainings that I have never looked upon again after jotting them down in the moment. I have looked over these notes at least five times since the conference, each time renewing my interest and focus on particular aspects. Here are a few more examples of notes, in various stages of “colored in” or “complete” – depending on how useful I think it would be to spend more time coloring them in (that process itself is a rich one, thinking through the message and colors is another layer.)
Tell me, how do you take notes or otherwise set things to memory? Have you tried drawthinking? If so, how does it work for you?