In a recent VizThink webinar, David Sibbett, a graphical facilitator and founder of The Grove Consultants International, shared three key powerful benefits that visual mapping provides when used to record and display the ideas discussed in a business meeting. While his comments were specifically focused on the richly detailed, large scale, hand drawn visualizations he does for his clients, the principles transfer very well to the world of mind mapping.
So here are David Sibbett's 3 benefits of utilizing a graphic facilitator to capture the ideas and concepts discussed in a meeting on a shared visual map:
1. It creates a much higher level of engagement among meeting participants. This has to do with the way our minds work, Sibbett explains. When our minds see a work in progress - such as a sketch or a mind map - they want to fill in the missing details. Whether you have used mind maps alone or in a small group, hand drawn or produced using mind mapping software, you have probably experienced this. This tends to result in a much higher level of engagement by team members than without graphical facilitation.
2. It enhances the group's ability to do systems-level thinking. As Sibbett explains, some people have an innate ability to hold a large number of ideas and concepts in their mind simultaneously and can "see" the connections and relationships between them. But the majority of us don't have this ability. By having a graphic facilitator create a visual map of the discussion and displaying it as a work in process for all to see, all meeting participants can share a higher level of thinking and understanding. Often, it enables the group to do systems-level thinking, which tends to lead to better ideas and solutions.
3. It captures a "group memory" or history of what has been discussed in the meeting so far. This comes in handy when a senior-level executive comes into a meeting late - which would normally threatens to derail the group's momentum. The visual map radically speeds up the process of getting this late-comer up to speed on what has transpired in the meeting.