How to Use a Graphic Organizer

There’s a very simple tool that savvy presenters can use called a Graphic Organizer. This aid further captivates audiences beyond a great story and a salient point. In fact, you might be familiar with it—but just never thought about pairing it with your presentation concepts.

This is how you can use it…

Um, What’s a Graphic Organizer?

Simply put—a Graphic Organizer is a well crafted note-taking document that audience members can fill in with their thoughts and reflections on your content.

People remember what they write and when they remember your message—they’re more likely to act upon it. There’s the added benefit that audience members will also remember where they wrote something (on the graphic organizer) which helps with recall due to the power of something called visual-spatial memory.

Some options you can prepare beforehand and distribute at your next presentation can include Fill-In-The-Blanks, Mind Maps, and Cornell Notes.

Let’s look at each of these.


First, there’s the Fill-In-The-Blanks style Graphic Organizer. And as you might imagine, audience members fill-in-the-blanks!

Michael Hyatt is really great at implementing these during his educational webinars, as you can see below…

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 6.17.41 PM

Image via Intentional Leadership and

Mind Maps

Mind Maps are visual diagrams that organizes key concepts. Pre-designed versions of these can be handed to audiences that guide them in certain directions as to what information they might want to capture.

See this simple example…


Image via Technology Innovations Mini-Teach Wiki

Cornell Notes

Wikipedia states, “The Cornell Notes system is a note-taking system devised in the 1950s by Walter Pauk, an education professor at Cornell University”. Pauk advocated its use in his best-selling book How to Study in College.

As you can see in the example below, Cornell Notes help organize thoughts in a systematic way. You’ll actually find many university professors using these for their students. A practical example of this structure can be found here.

Using this structural format as a guide, a page can be setup to reflect and provide cues as to what notes audiences should focus their thoughts on.

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 5.44.57 PM

Image via Cornell University Learning Strategies Center

Power In Simplicity

These three examples are intended to represent how simple Graphic Organizers can be. However, the impact on your audience will be incredibly profound. Science has proven this to be true. There’s dozens upon dozens of Graphic Organizer styles, just Google the phrase Graphic Organizer. So start with these simple ones and explore other options once you’ve seen success.

Good luck!


Ever used a Graphic Organizer as an audience member? If so, what was your experience? Share your answer on Twitter or Facebook.


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