E4 has always been great about introducing new innovations in the event and meeting industry and putting them into practice at their own event. This was no exception--we were treated to a graphic recorder right on the side of the room in the general session. The objective was to provide the audience with an instant, graphically stimulating portrait of the presentation to appeal to visual learners.
Like many innovations, there were some great elements and some not so great aspects to the graphic recordings. Here are our general impressions from a brain-based perspective:
- Having the graphic recordings posted around the room past the session they were "drawing" was a great recap and reminder of what was covered. It also provided a colorful, visually stimulating environment.
- Having the graphic recordings scanned and available post-event was extremely cool. It was easy to reference a presentation.
- The graphic representations made it easy to recall chunks of information in a presentation and they made for a great review tool.
- Graphic recorders had an opportunity to go back and "amend" the recordings with extra information past the session (or at least they did during our session).
What didn't quite work:
- Having the graphic recorders at the front of the room pulled focus. The novelty aspect of the graphic recording was constantly demanding your attention (and seeing something moving out of the corner of one's eye while focusing on the presenter was slightly off-putting).
- The brain can't multitask, and the tendency was to switch from the drawing to the presenter with little success at "getting" the information from either source while it was occurring.
- When the recordings were i-mag'ed on the main screen, they were incredibly distracting.
- The graphic recording wasn't instantaneous, and as a result if one was watching that element, it tended to drag quite a bit or was incongruous with the information at hand.