The Power of Visual Agendas!

Turn a bullet point agenda list into a colorful map and unlock a new level of engagement in your meetings! You can make a visual agenda for a one-off meeting, a series, or even a long-term plan.

Better Engagement
Intention goes a long way in meetings — a well-crafted visual agenda ensures alignment from the outset, giving you the opportunity to paint a clear picture at a glance. Plus, it can keep people’s attention, spark creativity and build rapport; a colorful drawing makes everything feel a little more fun!

Clearer Focus
In complex meetings, like the weekend-long retreat pictured above, a visual agenda can also help people anticipate possible deviations from the plan. I like to explain that “the map is not the territory” – i.e. while walking down our agenda path, there may be unexpected terrain that we need to explore. A visual drawing can help us stay focused even if we need to momentarily go in a different direction. And adding a visual version of your Purpose, Outcome and Process is also a great complement.

Better Planning
Creating a visual agenda takes planning to the next level. As a facilitator, I find that when I can see the meeting, I can better tune into the human experience of the journey. By considering the emotional flow – how one topic transitions to the next – I can strategically order agenda items and incorporate breaks or energizers to maintain focus. Then I can draw the final agenda to match the anticipated experience. For example, for the “saying no with grace and grief” workshop agenda, I color-coordinated the type of experience we would have – solo reflection, small groups, critical thinking or somatic.

Deeper Understanding
For multi-month meeting processes, a visual agenda helps people see the larger picture and how the details fit together.

It’s okay to keep it simple!
The beauty of visual agendas lies in their accessibility – they don’t need to be fancy! You can simply draw some bubbles and lines and voila – you have a more interesting, clearer path laid out. Then you can play with adding in some simple diagrams, icons, symbols, metaphors, colors, shapes, text formats.

If you want to get fancier, here are some tips:

  • Color Coordination: Assign different colors to agenda items based on topic, experience or priority, creating a visually organized structure.
  • Embrace Playful Elements: Incorporate simple icons, shapes, or metaphors to enhance understanding of key points.
  • Don’t overthink it! Bubbles, arrows, and basic shapes can be incredibly effective in conveying information.
  • Practice! Do it a few times on smaller paper. Use pencil if you are ready to draw something onto a big flipchart paper.
  • Tech Integration: For online meetings, leverage drawing programs to create a dynamic visual agenda.
  • Always include a “normal” agenda: If I am emailing or printing agendas, I always include a traditional text agenda for easy reference.

Just try – why not? I guarantee people will appreciate the effort!

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