Learning To Be Creative

As a former newspaper reporter, I was good at gathering the facts. I could write a decent lead and story, but I would not say that my strength was creativity.

When I took Shonali Burke’s Social PR quiz, the results said much the same. During a webinar she challenged participants to find ways to play to their strengths and also, when possible, to build the areas where they weren’t as strong.

I took that advice to heart during a recent conference. I always take notes at conferences and in meetings. Notetaking keeps me focused and helps me remember the key points from a workshop or meeting. My notes are very linear and rarely have doodles. I like watching artistic people take notes because theirs are so creative — tiny graphics to sum a key point; clever bullets to highlight a list.

During the webinar with Shonali, I challenged myself to creatively take notes, but quickly discovered I was missing key points because I was so focused on figuring how to visually depict what she was sharing. I knew I couldn’t do that at my conference because there was a ton of valuable information I wanted to learn and share with my colleagues.

Before I headed to it, though, I learned about canva, which allows you to more visually display your information. Since I am not a graphic artist, I thought this might just work. Of course, at the conference, I forgot the name of the program, but I was committed to the idea of presenting my conference learnings more creatively.

Capture_CMCI created a one-page document using Excel that was a series of boxes of differing sizes. Within those boxes, I placed my take-aways as well as some unique stats. I included tips about media pitching and using Twitter. I noted that I walked 20,000 steps on the day I arrived in Washington, D.C., as I explored many of the monuments. I captured that I moderated a panel. I filled the boxes with color to make it more pleasing to look at.

And while my designer friends might shake their heads at it, I am pleased with my creative thinking. More importantly, I pinned the document to my bulletin board to remind me of the things I learned and need to be doing in my job.

That, I think, was what I was supposed to learn from the results of my Social PR quiz.