What To Listen For While Sketchnoting - Verbal To Visual - Doug Neill - sketchnoting, doodling, visual notes

What To Listen For While Sketchnoting

The skill of sketchnoting involves more than the ability to sketch out images and write words legibly.

Just as important are your listening skills.

In this video that’s what we focus on – the things that you should be listening for while sketchnoting.

By training your ear, you’ll have a much easier time taking those ideas that you’re listening to and capturing them on the page in a meaningful and useful way:

  • Listen for meaningful objects, and create a simple sketch of that object
  • Listen for verbs, and draw a stick figure representing that action
  • Listen for emotions, and draw a face that expresses that emotion
  • Listen for thoughts, and write those thoughts within a thought bubble
  • Listen for interactions, and write those interactions within a speech bubble

What To Listen For While Sketchnoting - Doug Neill - Verbal to visual video - objects, emotions, verbs, stick figures, faces, thoughts, words, speech

Since your goal is not to capture everything, use these two questions to determine what should make it onto the page:

Based on what you want to get out of this note-taking session, does it pass your filter?

Does the image or phrase make a strong anchor that connects to the rest of the ideas?

It will take some practice to train the ear to listen intently, then ask those questions, and then sketch out the ideas. My suggestion is to start with your focus on just one or two of the categories above, and build up from there.

What other categories would you listen for, and how would you capture them within your visual notes?


Want To Dig Deeper?

If you’re new to the idea of sketchnoting and excited to develop more visual thinking tools, I think you’d enjoy our foundational course An Introduction To Visual Note-Taking.

If you’d like to make sketchnoted videos like the one you saw here, we’ve got a course for that too! Check out How To Make Sketchnote Videos.

And if you’re an educator interested in bringing visual note-taking into your classroom, check out Sketchnoting In The Classroom.