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In this post I’ll describe my journey in to the visualization world with links to resources that helped in my progression and that I wish I had on day 1. My background has been 18 years of sofware development with no art and minimal drawing or sketching.

So if you think you lack the artistic skill read on, visualization techniques like sketchnoting and visual facilitation are not art!

My visualization journey started about two years ago. I currently use visualization for facilitation, presentations, sketchnoting. Let me show you some or jump to the list of resources:

Yes you can do it digitally! Visual presentation Sketchnote of a virtual birthday call Sketch of an open space session I hosted

Our common background

At some point in our life we were drawing. And we were having fun at it. Until some of us stopped because someone–probably a teacher or a parent–said the drawing is not good enough anymore.

Did we also stop writing? We’re still sending emails and text messages, writing reminders even if we did not excell in writing classes. We wouldn’t think to stop writing just cause someone said it’s not up to par anymore :)

So, learning visualization it’s totally doable because we’ve already done it! :)

For me it all started when I attended Alberto Brandolini’s workshop on Event Storming and saw his initial slide with “Event Storming masterclass” title and a swimming pool, he said “my approach to teach Event Storming is to trow you in the swimmingpool”.

At the end of the class I asked about it and someone in the group said “oh yeah that’s visual presentation… it’s easy just follow a few rules and you’ll get it”.

My head exploded.

The problem was I didn’t have a list of URLs or books! So this blog post is the list I wish I had.

List of Visualization resources

  1. The first free resource I’d reccomand is Visual Facilitation cookbook. Made from the ERASMUs program it has a lot of good tips on how to get started with visualization.
  2. Second I’d reccomand to start practicing! You don’t need fancy markers! Follow the booklet and practice! I started with mindmaps of meetings I was in. The purpose was to keep me engaged and to have some visuals to see where the conversation went. Little by little I started adding pictograms on some nodes.
  3. Third I’d reccomand Benjamin Felis class Communicate with visuals – your new super power! a 120 Euro video class. Totally worth it.
  4. Next I’d reccomand UZMO Thinking with your pen. It guides in understand why are you visualizing? What’s your goal? What’s the context? On top of all that it gives very practical advice on how to create composite pictograms, approaches templates. Very solid. Only downside I see they are very specific on the Bikablo technique which is not the only way you can visualize :)
  5. After that I’d reccomand Visual Meetings by David Sibbet. It helped me–as a facilitator–see the larger picture of where visualization fits in meetings–I actually read it before UZMO.

I hope this list helps someone out there :) What’s stopping you from starting visualizing? What resources have you used to start your journey? Leave comments or hit me up on twitter

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Enrico Teotti

agile coach, (visual) facilitator with a background in software development and product management since 2001 in Europe, Australia and the US.

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