Want your teams to stay focused? Capture and post key information for all to see – on a whiteboard, on flipchart paper, or on the screen. By writing down what has been said, team members will stay focused and on track as well as remember and act on the information well after the meeting.
Some kinds of information you might post include:
Meeting Purpose. The mission, goal, or objective of the meeting.
Agenda. The chronological sequence of events or list of items to be discussed in the meeting. Include who will lead the discussion and the timeframes.
Ground Rules. Agreed on team norms that guide the effective functioning of the team (e.g. honor time limits, don’t interrupt…).
Team Map. This could be a timeline, schedule, flow of events, project plan or process map.
Parking Lot. Make stickie notes available to your team members to “park” items that need to be discussed or done in the future or a comment to the group without taking up valuable airtime.
Action Plans. All teams should have an action plan chart where tasks and deadlines are noted and assigned.
Capture information while the team is talking to ensure understanding and clarity of what has been said. For instance, if an issue was broken down into four parts, capture those four parts on a piece of paper or whiteboard (a small group of 2-3 people), a flipchart (fewer than 20 people), or digitally projected to a screen (greater than 30 people). This serves as a reminder of what has already been said and agreed upon.
Tip: Easel on the Wall
I love to use flipchart paper and leave the easel behind as I tend to trip on the legs, or the easel collapses on me. Instead, I create an easel on the wall by taping a wad of flipcharts to the wall and then writing on the paper on the wall.
If you can purchase sticky easel pads and rip off three at a time and post them on the wall. If you have a “regular” easel pad without any stickiness on the top, place a piece of tape on each of the bottom outside edges. Lift up the sheet of easel paper. On the second sheet, place a piece of tape on the bottom edge, just inside of where you place the tape on the top sheet. Continue to place the tape so three to five sheets of paper can come down off the wall one at a time.
Take all sheets in hand and rip the sheets off the easel pad, all at one time. As a nice, neat stack, tape your “pad” on the wall!
Tape up several stacks of paper, depending on how much wall space you have. Or have extra stacks ready to go up when you need them.