In 2015 I went to my first IFVP Conference in Austin, Texas. What does IFVP stand for you ask? Great question. IFVP - International Forum for Visual Practitioners. Anyone who like to help people visual their ideas whether it be through consulting, facilitating, graphic recording, meetings, etc. can consider themselves welcome into the IFVP community. I started my membership back in 2015 and am happy to be apart of this wolrdwide organization. The mission of the IFVP is to: promote, teach, and support the visual professional and practices globally to advance community, growth and development.
In 2015 I was just really beginning my graphic recording journey. I had been dabbling in it since late 2013 but really wanted to take my work seriously as a graphic recorder. In my mind I had only two options: I had to either be passive about the whole thing or jump in with both feet and really ‘do this thing’! I went to that conference telling myself that I would make my decision when I left. Well, I probably don’t have to tell you what I decided, since you’re reading this post and all.
My work, style and business has changed drastically since 2015 and I was really interested what my experience was going to be like this time.
At the meet and greet evening the night before the conference started I met a lot of people and I noticed right off that I actually had a lot of wisdom to share! I guess, in a way, actually know what I’m doing? Entering into the event some of the new folks asked me for advice going into the event (who, me?) The thing I said to everyone as my number #1 takeaway was:
When I attended in 2015 I was both, but mostly intimidated. I was surrounded by the leaders of this industry, folks who have been doing this work for 20+ years! I tried not to compare myself to them, but it was hard not to. I felt that line was something I wish someone would have said to me.
One of my regrets from the 2015 event was that I didn’t jump outside my comfort zone and (attempt to) graphic record one of the talks throughout the event. This was one thing I wanted to make sure I do before the event was over. At the meet and greet event that night I was looking at the sign up chart and decided to jump right in and graphic record the first talk of the day, the very first day. I felt that if I didn’t do it right away that I would freak myself out, fall into the intimidation trap and not end up doing it at all. The other graphic recorder for the next morning was standing beside me when I signed up and we were excited (yet nervous) to the blank canvas that will await us in the AM!
After breakfast I went to the main room, as they were still setting up it was a bit chaotic but I helped facilitate getting the board in the room for us to graphic record. The first speaker of the conference was famous photo-journalist Thomas E. Franklin. A photo he took during 9/11 in NYC - Raising the Flag at Ground Zero became very famous and he talked a bit about that experience, a bit of his journey and things to observe and notice when taking photos. It was interesting to hear the emerging theme on how we impact people with our creativity and how we help tell stories.
Everyone was so kind after I completed this drawing and having Steve Lefkowitz by my side was such a joy! It was also interesting to chat with him the next about my process with him. One thing I would have definitely would have done differently was to have a more dynamic title, as I didn't have time to do one before the talk began. I was VERY nervous, and felt like I definitely could have done a better job BUT I did it and that's all that mattered!
The next day I was walking by David Sibbet, he stopped me and spoke about the graphic recording I did and commented on how well I did, that I really captured the essence of the talk. I was awe-struck and honoured by his comment. My biggest concern/fear is that I'm not going to 'get it' - 'it' being the main points, the overall sense or ideas from the talk/session. So hearing this from the Founder of The Grove and one if not, THE most influential person in the graphic facilitation space and someone who has helped this field immensely for over 40 years - well - it was awesome.
I could certainly write a whole other post on all the other amazing learning and experiences from the conference. If that's something you'd like to hear more about please let me know!
The next IFVP conference, 2020 is supposed to be held in California which could be an exciting place to visit and attend! If you have any questions about the IFVP please reach out and ask!