Sketchnotes: My Interview in a French Book

“For every disciplined effort, there is a multiple reward.” – Jim Rohn

I started creating sketch notes only in mid of 2015 as an experiment to learn better and simplify ideas. Little did I know that this experiment will grow into something amazing.

I have been in pursuit of simplifying ideas and extract signals in a noisy world since 2009 when I wrote my first book #QUALITYtweet. My sharing on Twitter, experiment of 100 word posts and lists are all directed towards brevity without losing the substance of the message. I have learned a great deal out of it.

“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

I was happily surprised last year when Philippe BouKobza reached out to me with a few questions on my journey in creating sketchnotes for his upcoming book. Earlier this year, the interview and a sample sketchnote was published in a French book titled  “Travailler avec le sketchnoting. Comment gagner en efficacité et en sérénité grâce à la pensée visuelle” roughly meaning “Work with sketchnoting. How to gain efficiency and serenity through visual thinking.”. It is an excellent resource for sketchnote enthusiasts and I wish the book comes out in English sometime soon.

Since the interview is published in French, I thought of sharing the insights here in English too (some people also requested this on Twitter). So, here it goes:

Since when do you use Visual note-taking / Sketchnoting?

[Tanmay Vora] In school, I remember using the last page of my notebooks to doodle. Back then, I used to write my own name in different ways and experiment with letters. After I got into corporate life, I have used visual notations, process flow diagrams and blocks to make sense of things while consulting customers and during internal team meetings. But I got started into visual note taking only in mid of 2015. I only wish I had started sooner.

How did you discover this technique? 

[Tanmay Vora] I discovered the technique of visual note taking through a blog post on the same topic by Abhijit Bhaduri. I have been blogging about leadership, learning and quality since last 10 years and I found a great new way to represent some of these ideas visually to simplify the understanding for myself and for the readers. I learned a great deal from the wonderful sketchnote community on social media where people like Mike Rohde, Mauro Toselli and many others generously share their learning on art and craft of creating sketchnotes.

In your opinion, what are the benefits of Sketchnoting?

[Tanmay Vora] I think the biggest benefit of creating and consuming information in sketch note form is that it simplifies learning and eases comprehension both for the creator and for the consumer. Visual metaphors allows the brain to fill the gaps enabling connection and synthesis of ideas. I find sketch notes a great way to organize and summarize the insights in a way that raises attention and engagement.

John Medina, in his book “Brain Rules” said that we remember 15% of what we read (text), 35% of what we see (pictures) and 65% of what we read and see (text + pictures). Visual notes are a great tool for sense making and easy communication of ideas.

· What are your main uses of this technique? 

[Tanmay Vora] I use visual notes extensively to:

  • Simplify learning for myself and others
  • Summarize insights on leadership, learning and quality
  • Sense-making through idea synthesis
  • Brainstorming
  • Creative problem solving
  • Visual communication (as social objects) to drive conversations and change

How does your entourage react when they see your sketchnotes?

[Tanmay Vora] Hand drawn sketch notes add a human element into the digital world and that’s the reason people instantly connect with sketch notes. My followers on Twitter, Facebook and blog use my sketch notes as useful reminders of some of the most important concepts in leadership and learning areas. I often get pictures of how my sketch notes are decorating someone’s home or office space in form of a poster. Sketch notes I created have made it to several live events including global conferences and TEDx talks. I feel immensely grateful when my work intersects with real world and I get positive feedback on how it helps others in their own learning journeys.

Just like I was inspired to create sketchnotes through inspiration from others, my own work in visual note taking has inspired several people to start taking visual notes. I feel very happy when my work sparks inspiration for others. That is why I do everything that I do.

Also See: What Creating Sketchnotes Taught Me About #Learning

Announcing: The ASTD Management Development Handbook

American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) recently released a fantastic collection titled The ASTD Management Development Handbook”. This book provides current thinking on various management aspects by practicing management professionals. Lisa Haneberg, the editor of this book invited about 37 bloggers/authors to contribute their thinking – people who are active NOW, who are exploring the emerging trends in management and are willing to share their thinking on the best management practices. This is a very non-traditional approach to write a handbook of management development!

I am grateful to Lisa for inviting me to write in this book. I contributed a 23 page chapter titled “From Quality to Excellence: Essential Strategies for Building a Quality-Oriented Culture” (download the table of contents and a sample chapter here). My chapter covers key insights to lead for excellence.

In her foreword, Betsy Myers writes,

“The book in your hands is a remarkable compendium of fresh perspectives on management and leadership. As richly diverse as these authors and approaches are, they have one thing in common: They all are aimed at helping you become better at bringing out the best in yourself and the people around you.”

This is a management compendium for people who are already managing, people who are responsible for developing managers and the ones who aspire to manage someday. I think this book is also a very useful resource for the management students because it is a forward-looking book that touches upon very important topics which may not still be a part of their curriculum.

In management, it’s the soft stuff – the people stuff – that’s actually very hard as Tom Peters rightly says. People are right in the center of any excellence program and chapters in this book lay enough emphasis on this all-important human aspect of leading others towards greatness.

Management is important – a crucial link between strategic intentions at the top and real actions on the floor. It is also a privilege, an opportunity to make a huge difference in lives of others while getting important things done.

I hope you will pick up a copy of this book, have it in your library and share it with those you think will benefit out of it.

Getting Ahead: Interview with Joel Garfinkle

I had a pleasure of reading a new book titled Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level by Joel Garfinkle (@workcoach4you). Joel is the founder of Garfinkle Executive Coaching, author and one of the top 50 coaches in America. Joel was kind enough to share his book with me, which focuses on perception, visibility and influence as key tools for advancing our career.

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[Tanmay Vora] Joel, it is a pleasure interviewing you. "Getting Ahead’ is essentially a career oriented book. Why did you write this book now and how is it different from a lot of other career books out there?

[Joel Garfinkle] I spent the last 16 years working with thousands of executives, senior managers, directors and employees at the world’s leading companies. I realized that when a business professional works on only these 3 areas (Perception, Visibility and Influence) they will be successful. It is guaranteed. My research showed that it didn’t matter what a person’s title, background, location or responsibility. The most successful utilized the PVI model better than anyone else.

Getting Ahead is different than a lot of other career books because it provides immediate benefit, reward and easy implementation. You have only 3 concepts (PVI model) to work on and implement. With less content and concepts to be focused upon, what the reader needs to learn from this book becomes easily known, applied and implemented.

[Tanmay Vora] What does the book broadly cover?

[Joel Garfinkle] While some people leave the fate of their careers in someone else’s hands, others determine their future using these three critical skills (1) improve your perception, (2) increase your visibility, and (3) exert your influence. This book will teach you the PVI-model of professional advancement. Through practical advice, true-to-life examples, and action-oriented tips, you will learn how to:

– Create the right image
– Increase your profile across the organization
– Exert influence by driving change and inspiring people
– Identify and recruit advocates who will speak up on their behalf
– Become a known, valued and desired at your company
– Get effective tools to implement immediately so you can become an invaluable–and noticeable–resource for their company.

[Tanmay Vora] In the book, you talk about improving perception to grow in your career. Perception is a very subjective thing and while we can always be conscious about how we are being perceived, it is very challenging to always manage the perceptions of others. What advice would you share with readers of this blog about managing perception?

[Joel Garfinkle] If you don’t take control of how others see you, you will undermine both your career and your future success. People form opinions about you without any input from you. You can’t leave the fate of your career in someone else’s hands. Here’s how to manage your perception:

1. Notice how your behavior affects others. When interacting with people at work, how do they respond to you? What do they say and do? Document the patterns you notice based on your daily interactions. Learn to take the negative reactions and find specific ways to improve upon them. At the same time, it’s important to identify behaviors that cause positive perceptions and engage in them more frequently.

2. Gain advocates who speak positively about you. You can directly change others’ perceptions of you by having people express their enthusiasm for the impressive work you are doing. Whether it’s your success on the projects you are leading, the accomplishments you achieve, or the recognition you receive from others, it’s vital that you have people in your company singing your praise and promoting your value.

[Tanmay Vora] If you had to summarize three key messages from the book to readers of this blog, what would those be?

[Joel Garfinkle] Here they go:

1. The most successful leaders have gotten to where they are by leveraging and applying perception, visibility, and influence better than anyone else.

2. The reality you face at work is that talent, results, and competence alone simply will not allow you to attain the success you deserve.

3. The PVI model is your guiding light throughout your entire career, so you can maximize your potential and realize your professional greatness.

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You can also find out more and download a free chapter of getting ahead. http://www.garfinkleexecutivecoaching.com/getting-ahead-book.html. View his books and FREE articles at Garfinkle Executive Coaching.

#QUALITYtweet – Book Release

My first book #QUALITYtweet – 140 bite-sized ideas to deliver quality in every project, released on 11-Nov-09 is now available on Amazon (Paperback and Kindle Versions). Check it out. I can’t wait to have the paperback version in my hands (shipped and expected to arrive in India next week).

This is both a happy and proud moment for me. This is just the beginning, and a fantastic one.

This book focuses on people, process and leadership and how they impact quality culture of the organization.

Nicholas Bate, who reviewed the book recently says – “I’ve always enjoyed Tanmay’s blog for its succinct approach and he has managed to transfer this to his book : it’s  full of shots of wisdom. It is ideal as a rapid reminder for all of us which could easily  be read on a commute. It would be great for a presenter who wishes to add some key messages . And brilliant to issue to your team.”

My book writing journey has been fascinating so far, and YOU can be a part of it. If you are a blogger and would like to get involved, just drop a comment here OR send a note to tanmay [dot] vora [at] gmail.com. I will send an eBook/paperback version for you to read and write a review on your blog. If you’re not a blogger, you can read the book announcement and learn more about the book. You can purchase the book from Happy About Store or Amazon.

P.S: If you are reading post via your email, just click on “Display Images Below” to view book image.