Where There’s a Template, There’s a Way

Have you fallen victim to a bad meeting recently? Whether by a single or few voices dominating the discussion, through meaningless chit chat, or by lack of structure or purpose, meetings tend to miss the mark majority of the time for majority of the workforce. It’s an unfortunate reality that we, as graphic facilitators, work to combat with each job we do. 

There are several tools, creative exercises, and visual templates that ImageThink visual strategists deploy as graphic facilitators to help ideas blossom, work collaboratively through business challenges, and to ultimately make meetings more meaningful. This week, we’re providing you with some templates to add to your visual tool belt, and discussing how they can introduce creativity into your most crucial meetings and help transform ideas into action.

Let the Ideas Flow

For anyone familiar with visual communication, or those who have practiced visual work, you know that mind mapping can a powerful tool for visualizing, developing, and organizing ideas and information. When teams are stuck in an innovation rut or need to ideate a solution to an organizational challenge, mind mapping serves as a quick and interactive way for teams to fully visualize an idea and make connections. Other benefits of mind mapping include simplification, categorization, and contextualization. 

With mind mapping, you choose a central topic, and like a tree, branch out from that original idea with related concepts or expansions. Ideating via mind mapping allows ideas to flow, creates avenues for new ideas, and prevents judgement. We always encourage the use of imagery, doodling, and colors when ideating, not just because we’re a visual strategy firm, but because including them can trigger memories and convey more meaning than words alone. 

Although mind maps can take on different forms, the template below demonstrates how a mind map generally looks, with the main idea as the head, and related ideas stemming outwards. As a rule of thumb, try and keep your branching ideas to a minimum of one to two words – it will prevent you from fixating on one point for too long. 

The Mind Map template - used to help teams and individuals ideate freely, without judgement.

Setting and Achieving Goals

The simple act of writing down your goals increases your chances of achieving them by 42%. Yet, putting a pen to paper is one small step in the grander scheme of things. Achieving your goals involves reflection, understanding your capabilities, and more importantly – creating a plan of execution. Nonetheless, setting goals is an incremental, and valuable part of the overall process.  

When it comes to high-stakes meetings, and strategizing sessions, the importance of goal setting cannot be understated. The goals decided by an individual, team, or organization primes efforts for professional development, the quarter, or the year. But, as many can attest, there is a lot to achieve in a day, let alone in one’s career, or in a fiscal term. That’s why, as graphic facilitators, we help teams think critically (and visually) about what they should dedicate their time towards, in terms of priority, and available time.  

The following template demonstrates this idea through a visual depiction of goals, weighted by priority, over time.

The Setting Goals template - used to help teams and individuals set and achieve goals.

Extra, extra! Read all about it!

Sometimes, it can be a challenge for organizations to determine what direction to take, what to prioritize, or how to align individuals to a central vision. When this is the case, “The Newspaper” template and exercise is a great way to get team members to envision, and get excited about what’s to come, playing on the idea that you write your own future! 

This template puts you and your team members in the writer’s position – you compose a headline, tagline, body paragraph, footnote, and visual to support the article. Don’t worry about your writing or drawing skills. The goal is to gather and articulate your thoughts about what you or your team will achieve in the distance future. Is it something worth reading about? 

The Newspaper template - used to help teams envision their future.

Templates, and other visual tools can make all the difference in turning a drab meeting into an exciting gathering where ideas are generated, explored, and transformed into achievable action items. If you’re looking to unlock your group’s full creative potential, try incorporating these templates into your next meeting, and let us know what you think. Or, if you’d like a more personalized session, contact us today to learn more about what a graphic facilitator can do for your meeting. 

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