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Graphical facilitation

At an educational session during MPI’s PEC in Houston 2008, I witnessed the use of graphical facilitation. Sue Tinnish had invited a graphical facilitator who, during the course of the session, built a large visual representation of the discussion.
On a large piece of paper, about 1m  / 3ft high and 3m / 9ft wide, the graphical facilitator was drawing, writing and creating graphs of what was presented and discussed.
At the end of the session, all participants ware invited to add some of their own visual creations and some of us did.

Brown's movements and Bill Clinton.

Paul LewiAt my fathers 75th birthday Paul Lewi, one of my parents’ long time friends introduced me to Brown’s movement. In chemistry, Brown’s movement is known as the movement of single molecules amongst other molecules. Albert Einstein described this phenomenon in 1905 and that got him a Nobel prize. A single molecule in a glass of water is at a given moment at the bottom of a glass and a minute later it has moved by itself to the surface, no stirring needed. All chemical reactions are a result of these movements of molecules. Because they constantly move around, there is a constant colliding that, if different chemical compounds are mixed, can lead to a chemical reaction. Translating molecules to conference participants, we have a powerful metaphor for conference networking.


MPI’s PEC-NA was themed Meet Different, and after Mary Boones presentation there, I looked up the article she mentioned from BusinessWeek about Unconference. Interesting reading material and food for thought. First thing that comes to my mind is 'un-conference'? How bout re-conference? We are moving back to the real conference, where people confer, or discuss, talk.
A little bit less of the big central screen and the expert on stage, and a lot more time for participation. The audience become participants once again. Like in the Cafe Conversations from Mary Boone, where the participants could even bring their own topics to the table.

A call to the industry: Let's not go too fast (again).

Meeting content management is not just another topic to add to the list of topics for the next conference. The current meeting industry needs to think long and hard in order to create a strategic plan for transition, or maybe renewed focus on its core purpose. It needs to consider what happened with ROI and how the members of the community cope with that. Even though I feel it is fair to say that ROI is treated as another topic on the list: are most meeting planners happily practicing ROI today or is it just an intellectual elite trying to manage? How many planners are frustrated, understanding the ROI challenge, but unable to perform? Do we want to stack another load of overwhelming innovation onto the meeting planners’ shoulders?

MSI represented in Houston...

The 2008 PEC-NA was different, in many ways.
For the Meeting Support Institute, it offered many opportunities and insights. Opportunities to share the vision and member information and insights in new technology and other innovations and ideas like visual facilitation, the Shark Tank, a book on informal learning, etc. And of course, especially the people made it worth while. Getting together with some friends is great: Ib Ravn, the Author of ‘the Learning Meeting’ (and doing his so needed missionary work), Joan Eisenstodt, this PEC speaking on Q-Storming™, Tyra Hilliard who is back at the George Washington University and many more.

And to top it all of, you meet new people.


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