The InkyJam was originally created 7 years ago as a response to meeting leaders (people managers, team leaders, project managers) asking for help in making meetings more visually engaging; an opportunity that wasn’t focussed on graphic recording but on planning, facilitating and leading meetings with a visual edge. We took inspiration from the musical term ‘to jam’ meaning to try new things in a ‘safe’ place without being ‘on stage’.

Since 2014, Tom Russell, Founder of Inky Thinking has led numerous open InkyJam workshops in London, Liverpool and Newcastle, and numerous in-house client workshops as part of internal learning and development initiatives. Each InkyJam experience has been unique, with participants joining from various specialisms including sales and marketing, project management, finance, OD, internal communications and HR to name a few. It really doesn’t matter what organisation or job role participants come from, they are all united by a desire to engage, enhance and encourage productivity in their business meetings. 

Why is working visually important …

The beauty of working visually in meetings is that it significantly enhances the opportunity for participants to share and experience each other’s perspectives and opinions in service of achieving better outcomes and decisions than one would have done otherwise.  I can vouch for this with personal experience of facilitating highly engaging visual meetings for over 10 years with global clients. As leader of the InkyJam, I share the importance of, and skills in, making informed choices about which visual tools to use to serve a group and achieve overall objectives.

Who is the InkyJam aimed at?

The answer is simple. Anyone who plans and lead meetings as part of their role. This includes so many different types of role and meetings but, if you are responsible for getting people together to get stuff done, and want to develop skills in making meetings more visual, then the InkyJam is for you. The InkyJam attracts colleagues from within one organisation who come to learn together on the same day.

What will I learn at the InkyJam?

No two participants arrive with the same learning needs at the InkyJam, as there are so many possibilities for applying the learning after the workshop. Many participants tell us that they learned a lot about the visual choices they are able to make when designing meetings, whereas others tell us they gained huge confidence through the practical sessions developing lettering and graphics. 

‘This was an excellent event. I don’t think I’ve attended anything quite like it before. Really interactive and so much fun having a go at the techniques. The content wasn’t anything difficult but just made you think about how to present things differently to engage people in meetings/training. I’ve already tried some of the icons and graphics out on my flipcharts!’ 

‘‘Thanks for providing a fun, informative course. I got lots of tips which I’m already putting into practice at my team meetings. I’ve shared an overview with my team and several would like to attend. I hope another course is delivered soon.’ 

We ask each participant to come to the workshop with details of a meeting coming up in their calendar so we can plan that meeting with them in the workshop itself, which means the learning continues long after the workshop itself.

What is the teaching style like?

Informal and interactive. When participants are at ease and trusting in their environment they do great work, even if the challenge does make one sweat a little!

I can’t draw. Does that matter?

Definitely not! In fact, I’d ask; 1) in whose eyes are you measuring it? 2) if you really know your own ability? Many InkyJam participants ask this question before and leave delighted with the revelation that; 1) they can draw more confidently than first thought, and 2) that you don’t need to be able to draw like a pro to lead visual meetings. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a jolly stick person.

So, this is not a graphic recording workshop?

The InkyJam experience IS NOT about graphic recording, although we can offer both group and 1:1 development sessions on graphic recording upon request. Graphic recording is the skill of listening to a conversation, for example in a meeting, and capturing the key messages visually whilst the meeting takes place.

As leader of the InkyJam, what do I enjoy most?

Every workshop is a super experience for me and the participants. I particularly enjoy the practical sessions where participants practice lettering, graphics and icons. It is amazing to see ideas come flooding out with a pen in hand, quite literally surprising those holding the pen!

What’s the biggest challenge participants will experience after the workshop?

One of the reasons why we ask participants to bring a case study of a forthcoming meeting with them is so they can intentionally apply the learning in ‘real life’. It can be easy to forget what one learned on a training course upon returning to the busy world of work. Having something to aim for helps the learning to become embedded into practice.

Will the InkyJam help me with my virtual meetings too?

Indeed. Whilst the InkyJam is primarily focussed on face-to-face meetings much of the content can be applied to virtual meetings, especially with the use of an iPad and tools including Mural. Many of the principles are identical. I also provide 1:1 coaching on facilitating virtual meetings too.

So, there you have it …

An insight into the InkyJam and why we believe this workshop will improve your meetings. If you plan, facilitate and lead meetings and would like to learn how to make a positive difference to meeting engagement and productivity, then visit the InkyJam page on the Inky Thinking website to read more, view dates in London and Newcastle in January, March and May 2022, and book your early bird place(s) online. Tom and the team look forward to seeing you and your colleagues at an InkyJam in 2022.