Visual agendas are custom charts used to provide your attendees with all the most important information about your meeting in a single, eye-popping image. These simple yet brilliant illustrations are what expert facilitators use to launch a meeting by providing participants with an at-a-glance overview of the presentation or meeting.
[Image from http://lisaarora.com/getthepicture.ca/portfolio/]
Like your silent facilitation partner, a visual agenda helps set the group up for success by laying the groundwork for a productive, engaging meeting. It also helps you keep things on track.
Here are 5 ways you can benefit from using a visual agenda:
1. Generate Excitement & Intrigue
When people enter a room and see a cool, graphic visual agenda, it sends an immediate message. “Hey, this meeting is going to be different!” With a visual agenda, you can set the tone before you speak a word.
2. Send a Message
The imagery and color palette of a visual agenda can subtly send a powerful message about the grander purpose of your meeting or the nature of the process itself. For example, you could show your team on a journey towards a goal, or people actively engaged in small group discussions.
3. Create a Cheat Sheet
A visual agenda acts as a giant notecard with all the things you need to remember as the facilitator. It also makes points more explicit for your audience. You can include things like meeting objectives, activities, breaks and expected roles for attendees.
4. Get Interacting Immediately
Use your visual agenda as a starting point for your meeting. Walk people through the graphic and invite group input. By moving around information on large sticky notes, you can develop agenda items and time allotments collaboratively or renegotiate things if they were pre-established.
5. Set Ground Rules
Because the visual agenda remains static during your meeting, you can provide a tangible reference to guidelines for the meeting. You can refer back to them if necessary. Though, in most cases when ground rules are posted, they serve as a static reminder and groups naturally begin to self-regulate. (A benefit within a benefit!)
Visual agendas are an outstanding way to help people grasp your message quickly and they’re guaranteed to encourage higher levels of cognitive engagement and information retention. These days they’re being used for a variety of different purposes including strategic visioning, group training, brainstorming and idea mapping sessions and much more.
What meetings do you facilitate/lead/participate in that could benefit from a visual agenda? Can you think of other ways a visual agenda might be used to engage a group? Share your thoughts and ideas below.
To see other examples of our custom visual agendas, visit http://lisaarora.com/getthepicture.ca/portfolio/.