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Story 1: The Flood


Moral of the story:  You have to be able to adapt and roll with the punches as a graphic recorder. You are there to support whatever is emerging, no matter what it is!

I was working with a facilitator/consultant. My role was graphic recorder. The client was a major U.S. bank. The scene was Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. This was a leadership conference of about 350 people in a large hotel. Our consultant team was leading one of the sessions using a World Café process.

If you are familiar with arid areas of the west, you will know that it is typically dry. There are often periods of drought, and rain is in short supply. When it does rain, it takes the land a while to absorb the moisture. Until the water finally sinks in to the earth, it often floods. While we were preparing and setting up, it began to rain. 

To carry out the World Café process, we needed tables of 4 or 5 for 350 people. Because of the scope of the operation, the hotel housed this event outside under a gigantic tent. This was a big deal to set up. They did a beautiful job. It required all kinds of tech and furniture and catering and more.

About an hour before start time, I was setting up my graphic recording station with 2 big boards and all my tools. I also was finishing off some informational charts that we would use in the meeting. It continued to rain. We began to get nervous because it wasn’t stopping, and in fact, it was torrential.

The guys from the hotel showed up and started putting sandbags all around this huge tent. And it rained on. The sandbags might have helped a bit but the water seeped through anyway. We toyed with the idea of calling it off but decided that too much had been invested in it to stop now.

Little puddles started to form inside the tent as the people piled in. They had to sidestep them to get to their seats. We soldiered on and did the event. I was in one of the most vulnerable spots in the tent. I recorded in water up to my mid calf. This was a first for me. I think the session was a success. At least it was memorable!