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Visual meetings

Tom Wujec gave a short  TED talk: 3 Ways the Brain Creates Meaning. His point is, “We make meaning by seeing.” Here is a summary of how the brain makes meaning with the brain subsystem activated in parentheses:

  1. Use images to clarify ideas. (ventral)
  2. Interact with images to create engagement. (dorsal)
  3. Augment memory with persistent and evolving views. (limbic) 

Using images to create shared mental models leads to better communication, learning, thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. He uses Visual Strategic Planning as an organizational example of the idea that we are all visual developers and learners.

As I consider what this information means for organization development, I go beyond his example to considering how we run meetings, communicate information, and deliver training. How can we increase the visual component of what we do in order to increase the building of shared mental models and shared meaning?

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Interesting – I guess this is why video clips are so popular (YouTube) for getting a short message out there. Image plus words – much stronger than just a paragraph on a website.

    Often I ask participants in a retreat or meeting to draw images to introduce themselves, or a concept or idea. I guess with technology becoming so more cheaper, we could incorporate video cameras to each small group and let them make a short clip……

    A few times when I’ve facilitated meetings – one involved the discussion of appropriate dress for the workplace – I brought a bunch of magazines – all kinds of topics – and asked the participants to look for examples of what they would consider appropriate and inapproprite dress. That worked very well to give everyone the same image as the person was talking about the pros and cons of the style with all of them viewing the picture ripped from the magazine.

    Usually when I do training, I do try to incorporate a training video as often as I can to get everyone thinking about the same examples of the behavior we are trying to modify.

    I’m curious about how a conversation might be changed if we asked the person to describe or illustrate their point of view?????

    October 5, 2010
    • friesengroup #

      Thank you for sharing practical ideas about how to incorporate this work into meetings and training.

      I’m intrigued by your idea of asking each person to illustrate their point of view. It seems that not only would it be more memorable, but for the person creating the image, it would cause them to integrate more of their experiences and information by requiring right- and left-brain activity.

      Kathleen

      October 5, 2010

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