Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A Perfect Time for Virtual Conferences with Artists

At a time when every business on earth is facing challenges due to the Covid-19 quarantine, having a Virtual Conference is a great way to keep the ball rolling and keep your company in the competitive game.

If while reading this you’re thinking about another boring virtual staff meeting, think again. Participating in a Virtual Conference is exciting, productive and stimulating for all participants and delivers results that that may be iterative for years.

How does it work?

Conventional experience teaches us that by getting “off campus” employees can brainstorm unencumbered by office politics and workplace distractions.

However, instead of checking into a 4-star hotel and banquet room, all participants are in remote locations, i.e., their homes. The sponsor company saves on catering, airfare, lodgings and miscellaneous expenses. In-person discussions are supplanted via online video conferencing apps like Zoom, BlueJeans, Google Hangouts or Skype.

In many conferences, the idea is more important than the execution. Emphasis is placed on thinking outside the box and shooting for the moon. By contributing from home offices, kitchen tables or easy chairs, teams experience a sense of ease and informality. Sharing ideas feels safe.

Add an Artist Facilitator to your event and you’ve increased your brainstorming possibilities.

Why would an Artist add to my teams’ effectiveness? Simply put, the Artist is there to accelerate the brainstorming.

The Artist (in these cases also may be called a Graphic Facilitator, Illustrator, Info Graphics Artist, Storyboard Artist) provides visual representations of the major themes and discussions in ways that further stimulate team evaluation of the topics. Friendly drawings, illustrations, info graphics, storyboards and even rough sketches add an additional dimension to the main idea. Members contribute more rapidly to advance the idea and clarify their message.


Since the Artist is often an outside participant and may be working with the team for the first time, it’s normal that he should interject, interrupt or request clarification as needed, which demands team members to clarify their thoughts and direction.

All formats are up for grabs in the virtual conference. The fluidity of processes makes presentation formats fun and engaging for all. The contributing Artist brings an unexpected thrill to participants, who are excited to see their ideas visualized as illustrations, storyboards, info-graphics and cartoons. Presenters enjoy holding the drawings in front of them while they make an informal presentation. They may pin-up the work, make it available on a team site or in power point decks for additional talking points.

Side Effects

As an Artist who has joined many of these events – both on-site and virtually – I can honestly say I was doubtful the virtual conference would captivate me. I was pleasantly surprised. I was completely engaged and at ease with my team discussion and proud of how much we accomplished in a short time.

On one occasion I crafted a video using illustrations and motion graphics to present my team’s idea. The client was so pleased they asked if I would record the voice-over narration for the video so they might add a copy to their company library!

It’s not unusual for the artist to share quick “side drawings” with the team – usually caricaturized portraits. Team member have lively reactions, including “I can’t wait until you draw me” or “Draw me while we are at lunch?” One thing I personally enjoy is giving my team a souvenir illustration containing all the portraits. Assembling everything on my home workstation is a breeze to share immediately, which would be a different story in person.

You’ll find planning the event is easier and requires less manpower than an on-site conference. The money saved can easily be rerouted to contract an Artist for the event.

Plan It Now!

Don’t let the lockdown on businesses hold your company hostage. Consider the power of Virtual Conferencing for your next productivity event and brainstorm effort.

By including an Artist to facilitate your Virtual Conference, you can heighten participant engagement, get more for your money, and make a lasting impact on your company for years to come.

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