In working with clients over time, I’m always thinking about how to continue providing excellent existing services as well as integrating new ideas (techniques, tools, etc) that would provide more value to my clients and ultimately to their stakeholders (which may in the end by my clients, or may be their customers, participants, sponsors, etc). 


One of my clients convenes a large annual conference:the opportunity for me was to provide greater value to their conference participants by getting more visual coverage of the talks at this conference, while also being mindful of the space constraints inherent in capturing live talks on the large (4ft x 8ft) mural format: at 4-6 murals per day created via live Graphic Recording, that can be 32-48 linear feet of murals created per day, so with multi-day events this can add up quickly!   


In some cases we’d bring in another graphic recorder (or even a whole team) to capture the concurrently scheduled talks live. But in this case, it wasn’t (yet) called for; rather, in order to best accommodate my client’s considerations, we decided to try an executive summary of each talk in a story-board style layout. 


An executive summary mural is a high-level review (top 3-5 take-home points, models or messages) of the slides each speaker submitted to the conference convener pre-event. 


This meant coming in to the venue a few days before the conference (where I’m already scheduled to be capturing several days worth of live talks) and setting up in a corner of the speaker ready room to be working on these executive summary murals so they would be ready to display during the 1st day of the conference along with the live murals I created that day. 


As you can see in the top photos, I setup for the whole event and used this as my staging area: there is a whole stack of 4ft x 8ft murals ready to go for both these pre-event executive summary murals as well as eventually the live murals I’d be creating too. 


From the scheduled talks that we had also had received slides, we defined a few separate tracks into which the selected talks could be categorized. Here, these categories were noted on the murals up the left side vertically: Data Science, Metadata, Data Governance, Data Quality, and Data Strategy.


I then created 4-6 talks per 8ft mural by reading thru the speaker’s slides, assimilating and visually organizing that content and illustrating it out onto the mural designated for that track topic.


Thou the content of each talk is visually a smaller amount of mural surface area than a whole talk captured live, these murals are just as (or perhaps more) intense to create as the live murals. Why? It takes a fair amount of time and focused attention for me to find, print, read, assimilate and then illustrate each talk than it would to complete a single talk per mural. Usually a live talk of 45-60 minutes fills an 8ft mural board, but to get 4-6 talks per mural requires about 2-3 hours by comparison. 


These pre-event executive summary murals were all completed the day before the conference kicked off, so that we could release the pre-event murals thru the course of the conference according to the time of talk or subject track. 


My usual practice is that the end of each session’s completed live graphic recording, I move that mural out into the conference venue hallways (or at the very least display them around the ball room) so that participants can review them and discuss the content further right then and there, take photos, share part or all of the mural content with their colleagues and collaborators on their social media platforms, or later review the murals of talks they could not attend in-person themselves.


Conference speakers also find the murals (both the whole 8ft live murals and the executive summary murals) valuable visual representations of their conference talks, and often ask to be photographed next to their murals for use in their own marketing and social media purposes too.


In addition to the live, large murals, one of the deliverables I provide to my clients are high-resolution digital files of each mural created onsite. Often the conference participants, speakers and sponsors use these digital mural file images (in whole or part) to report back to their organizations what they learned onsite at this event as a visual event report.


Are you convening, attending or speaking at an upcoming conference, workshop or brainstorming / strategy session? 


Contact me today, I’d love to support your important work by getting your message out using live, large-scale visuals!




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