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Powerful Graphic Recording Habit #10: Strategize on the After to Engage People Throughout the Larger Change Process

In an effort to further the graphic recording field and support our clients in getting the most from their visuals, we present our blog series, Powerful Habits to Maximize the Benefits of Graphic Recording in Meetings. 

The tips we offer are based in context of a scenario where a meeting facilitator is partnered with a graphic recorder to serve a client, and where either the facilitator, the client, or both are new to using graphic recording. We strongly believe that graphic recordings are meant to be a thinking tool, not just a recording device 

Working visually is both a process and a product. We also believe that optimizing the use of graphic recording rests largely upon 2 factors: 1) the quality of the partnership between the facilitator and the graphic recorder and 2) their collective repertoire of strategies for engaging participants to interact with the graphic recordings in a way that produces new insights. Powerful Graphic Recording Habit #9 speaks largely to the latter.

Powerful Graphic Recording Habit #10: Strategize on the After to Engage People Throughout the Larger Change Process

In our final Powerful Graphic Recording Habit, we come full circle to blog #1 where we emphasized giving some forethought to ways to use and get value from the charts once the meeting is over. To make that happen, the “after” of the meeting process must be designed and led every bit as much as the “during”. 

As part of the meeting design, the client, facilitator and graphic recorder should each understand how the meeting fits into the larger change process the group or organization is involved in, and you want to include “action planning” to identify next steps for your participants.

Here are some questions to help you plan how to extend the thinking of the meeting and continue to leverage the visuals afterwards.

  • What are you trying to achieve long-term?
  • What are the stages in organization’s change process?
  • How can you use the visuals to help people stay engaged between one landmark and the next in the change process?
  • After this particular meeting, what activities or meetings will happen next?
  • How could the charts produced at this meeting be used to support follow-up events or discussions?
  • How can you use the charts to keep people advancing their thinking about what happens in the meeting? What is the conversation that needs to continue?
  • What can you do with the charts to inspire people to naturally continue the conversation?

Having a plan for how you’ll actively use the charts after your meeting is crucial to getting the full value out of having created them. Plus, knowing how you will use the charts after the meeting (before your meeting starts) will also help the GR make decisions about what information to capture and how to approach mapping the dialogue.

Conversation is not just what is said; it is also what happens between people. Conversation is not always about an event or a time; it is part of a much larger process of change. It leads to more conversation and is part of a journey to understand. Community conversations are a deliberate form of listening … in an effort to learn to agree, to become committed and engaged, and to create a place in which discovering the obvious is possible.

Paul Born, Community Conversations

As part of the meeting design, the “after” strategy you develop must ENGAGE people with the charts as a THINKING TOOL. 

Think of ways that you can:

  • Set the stage to give people an opportunity to reflect on the charts.
  • Keep people in frequent contact with the visuals and continue their thinking on the topic.
  • Create conditions so that while people are reflecting, they also extend their thinking or engage in some activity that leads to higher level insights.
  • Push people beyond just reading the charts to remind themselves of what was said, and generate an interaction to get them to actually think about and process the information they see.
  • Use the charts to seed or inspire people to continue to have meaningful conversations between meetings.

In her book, We’ve got to START Meeting Like This!, my colleague Dana Wright introduces a model that illustrates what engagement looks like before, during and after a meeting.

la jul 23

Raising questions such as, “What will you give people as they are leaving the meeting (or shortly thereafter)?” and, “How will you extend the thinking or conversation?” she helps you come up with ways to get the full value from your visuals well beyond the meeting.

Some ideas for using visuals after your meeting are:

Whether your “after” engagement plan is quite simple and inexpensive, or more complex and costly (assuming you have clarity on the objectives of the larger transformation and change process), it needs to consider 4 things: form, location, process and accountability.

  • Form: What form will the charts be produced in? (Traditional maps, individual handouts, Prezi presentation, etc.)
  • Location: Where will you display/share the original and reproduced charts?
  • Process: When someone happens upon the charts, what will prompt them to reflect and engage in higher level thinking about the content on the charts? (Analyzing it for some specific purpose, creating something new from it, evaluating it with some specific objective in mind, applying it to some specific purpose/scenario). For example, will you ask them to post further information to the charts, write down their reflections on an accompanying “graffiti wall”, or apply the information to a specific scenario and then report to someone about the results?
  • Accountability (Follow Up): – Someone on the meeting design team needs to own the after strategy/be accountable (for the visuals themselves, for processing any new information created, and for sharing it back via the agreed channel, in the agreed way, and at the agreed time).

When you work visually, over time you build collateral that you can use in various ways. One great method that many visual meetings use to leverage their collection of graphics is by conducting a gallery walk at their next milestone meeting. It’s a great way to give people a reminder of what you’ve worked on over time, and a great perspective on what’s happened since.

(Psst! Keep an eye out for our new book on how to create an engaging, effective gallery walk, plus 101 questions to ask during the meeting. We’re really excited about it and it’s coming soon!) 

The graphic recording field has so much to offer meeting participants and it’s important that we harness the power this incredible thinking tool has to promote conversation and contemplation well beyond the initial meeting the charts were created for. 

So, tell us what you think.

How are you or your clients using visual maps and charts after your meeting?

What are the best ideas you’ve seen? Or, what are some things you’ve witnessed that didn’t work so well? Please, share your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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