Chances are, your reaction to hearing about the concept of sketchnoting is going to either focus on the presumed time that’s involved with it or your lack of artistic skills. In actuality, project managers and business owners can greatly benefit from sketchnoting if it’s implemented correctly, so don’t turn your nose up at it just yet!
This post will aim to teach you the ins and outs of sketchnoting, the ways it can be used for your business, and how you can get started.
What is sketchnoting?
First things first: what is sketchnoting? Simply put, it’s visual notetaking. It doesn’t require a lot, or really, any artistic skill, and it can be a huge time saver when implemented correctly.
The act of sktechnoting–expressing your ideas visually–can be a combination of doodles, specific colour palettes, drawings, structural elements, and text. These can be as detailed or as simple as you like, and there is endless potential for the structure and overall design.
The goal of sketchnoting is not for you to create an artistic masterpiece. Rather, it is a method for you to visualize concepts you want to memorize, understand, explain more simply, or communicate to other people more effectively.
Focus your energy on simple symbols that can translate metaphoric, more complex meanings. For example, using a lightbulb to represent a new idea.
Visual note-taking is also a more effective strategy for many individuals to retain information. In the same way, physically writing out notes is better for our memories than typing out text digitally. People who doodle their ideas have been proven to recall more information than those who do not.
Sketchnoting can be adapted in countless different ways to suit the needs of the subject matter at hand. It’s eye-catching, creative, unique, and a way to engage a variety of different people while encouraging cross-collaboration as well.
Now that you know what sketchnoting is, here are some of the ways you can use it in your business strategy.
What can sketchnoting be used for?
1. To document conferences
For long conferences that cover a lot of different concepts and information, sketchnoting can come in very handy to ensure participants (and yourself) properly understand the material that’s being presented.
You can use visual notes to summarize conference info or incorporate the method of graphic recording, which is a process that endeavours to make points engaging, easy to comprehend, and memorable.
If you’re leading a conference, you can use sketchnoting to make sense of your own points. Alternatively, if you and your team are attending a conference together, you can collectively turn your written notes into a collaborative sketchnote project in your meeting afterwards. This way, people can effectively summarize what was learned in an easily digestible format that makes reviewing the content manageable and fun.
2. To create marketing strategies
Sketchnoting can extend outside of your team meetings and conferences into your company’s marketing strategy as well. More and more businesses are looking for ways to draw in consumers with innovative techniques and fresh strategies.
Be creative and don’t limit yourself to perfectly kerned fonts and rows and rows of neat text. Hand drawn newsletters, for example, are unique and interesting. There are countless ways to make individually crafted marketing materials feel personal and particular to your business, and you’re certain to stand out if you break away from the typical marketing approach that most companies lean towards.
3. To push engagement in business meetings
Similar to documenting conferences, sketchnoting can be incredibly effective for optimizing engagement in business meetings. It can be easy for people to lose focus and slack on participation when it’s required if the material at hand isn’t naturally engaging or particularly exciting.
This can be mitigated with the use of visual notetaking and illustrative presentations. Not only will your team be more likely to remember the information that’s being provided to them, but they’ll also be encouraged to participate when the material is more visually appealing and less dense.
4. To brainstorm
Sketchnoting can be an excellent tool for brainstorming. For people who benefit from visual learning especially, creating a mind map of ideas is very beneficial for synthesizing and remembering important information. Avoid relying on large blocks of text, and instead, focus on using symbols and diagrams to represent concepts.
5. To build project storyboards
When you think of storyboarding, you might think of something like PowerPoint, which is not the same. PowerPoint is a linear authoring/development tool, while design is not linear. Prototyping a concept through a visual storyboard can be incredibly useful when planning out larger, more involved projects that require assessment and approval.
As well, you can visually draft the timeline and scope of a project that’s a work in progress. Visually speaking, storyboards don’t need to be too complicated or excessively detailed. It’s more important to lay out the ideas that need to be translated to your intended audience.
6. To document task lists
Instead of a generic, written-out to-do list, try developing a visual goal list for your team instead. Sketch out what needs to be done that day, week, month, etc. and make it visually appealing. Allow for tasks to be checked off as they’re completed by different members, and make it accessible for the office to see and look at when they require a reminder about what still needs to be accomplished.
7. To explain existing ideas
Take existing ideas that have already been presented in meetings, company materials, etc. and present them through sketchnoting. Breaking a concept down into the simplest format possible so others can understand it even further, is an effective way to ensure information is properly reaching everyone who needs to learn and retain it.
How to get started
Luckily, you don’t need many tools to get started with sketchnoting. When you begin, some suggestions for materials to start with include:
- Blank paper
- Black pens (that don’t smudge)
- Multi-coloured markers
- Brush pens (great tools for experimenting with different font styles)
There are many places you can go to for sketchnoting inspiration. Some reliable examples are:
- Sketchnote Army
By now, you’ve likely learned that sketchnoting is less about having artistic talent and is more focused on effective communication and synthesizing information. Sketchnoting can be a wonderful tool for business owners and project managers to enhance their workplace strategies and meeting notes.
Running a business can be difficult and most owners feel like they are being pulled in a thousand different directions. Trust REM to design a beautiful, user-friendly business website that will engage and convert visitors into customers; so you can focus on other important matters.