Make Your Next Virtual Event ‘Sketchy’ ft. William Warren

William Warren, founder and CEO of The Sketch Effect, joins the podcast this week. He talks about the power of visual learning, creating memorable experiences, and how drawings can take your virtual or hybrid event to the next level. You won’t want to miss this one!

What is your background?

I am the founder and CEO of SketchEffect, a visual communications company. We help clients tell their ideas more clearly, engagingly, effectively and more enjoyably. One of our core services is an event-based service, like a trade show or conference. We would be there, our artists would be there listening, synthesizing it in real-time, and then sketching a visual summary of the big ideas.

How did you realize drawing was valuable in events?

Historically we would show up physically on-site. Our artists had markers and ink and supplies for sketching in the rom. About a year ago, we started sketching digitally on iPads and even started streaming it. But, in March, when everything was cancelled we realized we have to go all-in on this virtual version of our live sketching services. We had the gear in place, it was just a matter of quickly pivoting and marketing the new product. It took a while for the idea of virtual live sketching take off, but we’ve never had a busier fall. Over 125+ virtual events to date.

How will you continue to evolve in 2021?

We are always thinking of new ways to evolve the service. And the service has evolved with virtual events. When virtual events first started, everyone was trying to do them really well. And what we’re doing is trying to evolve and think differently in the industry. What we ultimately want to do is make virtual events better by providing an engaging visual service. One thing we see a lot more of is highly produced visual events, so we are thinking of how we can come into that type of environment and do our sketching in that context versus just being in an office and streaming it in.

What is the science behind virtual events?

The reason why this business exists is because visual learning is really powerful. So that’s what we bring to the table, we bring that element of visual learning to an event. Most events have speakers and verbal learning – but most events aren’t fully leveraging the power of visual learning. And the science backs it up. But visual learning in the most powerful channel of human learning. That is backed up by research and science, and the SketchEffect os designed to bring that element of visual learning.

Visual learning helps ideas be more understandable. 83% of human learning occurs visually. So, the other three main channels only account for 17%. So, if you aren’t capturing the visual element you are going to lose people. They are not going to understand the ideas. If you want people to comprehend what you share, it needs to be paired with compelling relevant visuals.

There is absolutely a ‘cool’ factor to it. It helps to keep peoples attention. Having an artist in the room can really bring a Wow-factor to the event. There is an artistic element and people are engaged with it. When people watch a sketch unfold onscreen and they realize a real human is doing that live, it brings a magical vibe to an otherwise very stale meeting.

How is your work impactful?

It helps people at an event or in a gathering to get literally on the same page, it brings alignment. It helps reduce miscommunications, especially virtually. The sketches, they help get people on the same page. The retention of information also goes through the roof with visual learning. Retention of information is 3x greater when presented verbally and visually, rather than just verbally.

How do you help event planners think about getting visuals incorporated into your event?

It is a new thing. So we always have a little bit of orientation. But really, the artists is just a participating presence at the event. They simply listen to the content and they sketch content that is featured full-screen or they are creating content for after the event. Or, the content can be rotated. With all of our events we also work with them to make sure the sketches are adding value to whatever it is they want to achieve. We partner with the organization and the event planners to make sure we do exactly what they need.

How do you connect with organizers on what to present?

We always have a pre-show call and discuss what kind of format the event will take and what portions the organizer wants sketched. We cover all of that on the front end.

How does the finals product get taken away?

The finished deliverables are usually JPEGS or downloadable files. It could event be snail mail. It’s also great on social media and blogs. We can also do time-lapse videos of the sketches. You have to be creative to extend the value of your event after people click ‘end’ on the screen and sending sketches is a great way to do that.

Final thoughts?

Make sure you lean into the visual side of events. Most virtual events you only have verbal and visual, so lean into the visual. You can play drawing games or use live character artists. There are a lot of ways to make a virtual event more engaging, it just takes some intention.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: