Content is King—but are we getting it right?

Posted by | Jan 12, 2016

Content is King
Our listening and comprehension skills are critical to our field. In the long list of skills that are required to excel at our work, these two rise to the top
of the list. The intersection of listening and comprehension (understanding)
is content.

   By definition, content is substance — the gist, meaning, significance.

Content does not come just from listening and channeling the speaker; it comes from understanding the meaning and context behind the words to accurately reflect what is being spoken in the room.

An excited participant will often rush up to the stage to tell me about their nephew or brother or daughter who is a great artist, illustrator, designer, or architect and who would love the work that I do. I think their enthusiasm is a great start. The next questions should be:
            – Are they a good listener?”
            – Do they have a broad range of knowledge across multiple                                                       industries and topic areas?

The best graphic recorders are top notch listeners and some of the smartest people we know. How else can they stand their ground in a room full of molecular biologists on the brink of cutting edge research or work with c-level executives in a strategy workshop?

Content means that we can’t rest on our listening laurels and just capture what’s being said in the room. It means that staying neutral is a myth. It means that our collective life experience informs our work – not to direct the visual or conversation – but enables us to understand the complexities of the conversations we’re privileged to be a part of.

To be at the top of our game, we need to:

  1. Bring our knowledge into the room and leave our judgement at the door.
  2. Research the industry/client/topic.
  3. Listen with the client’s intention in mind.
  4. Understand the context in order to draw relationships and connections.

With every meeting we sit in, we get better at our job. Content is the power and potential of what we do. Drawing is what enables us to communicate that value.

What enables you to better listen and understand when you’re at the wall?  
We’d love to hear your responses below.

(Stay tuned for more blog posts diving deep into listening and understanding)

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