From Monolog to Dialog to Multilog

Increased productivity in the meeting: through Visual Selling® to the Multilog

Translated by William Boletta

Yet another conference, a workshop, a meeting. Many people think this is just a waste of time and is unproductive, as several studies have shown (MatchWare GmbH, 2013). Knauss (2013) even shows that too many meetings can lead to mental illness.

Poor Meeting Preparation

The problem: Often, a meeting will be poorly prepared, which is one reason why the participants will not take part in conversations with the right attitude needed for success (Willmroth, 2012).

As a result, people will often do other tasks on the side, engage in cross-talk, or just use the time for chit-chat. Monologs dominate conferences. There are no clear goals, no exact time frames, and minutes are not kept properly (Kolowich, 2014; Knauss, 2013).This leads to stress, and that can make you sick.

And although much has been written and said about such mistakes in meetings, even as early as 2012-2014, and the effect they have on increased costs, wasted time, and health has been pointed out, not much has changed up till now. And at the same time, meetings are extremely important. During the course of meetings, ideas are exchanged, innovations are hatched, and they become reality (Willmroth, 2012).

But to accomplish this, genuine dialogue is needed. Participants must actively exchange ideas. The results must be documented so that at a later date everyone involved will be able to understands the results and continue working with them.

Conducting meetings efficiently and profitably

We have developed a meeting template to assist you in conducting future meetings in an efficient and profitable way, and thus enable you to increase productivity in conversations with your staff. You can use it to prepare your meetings in advance so that they will move along smoothly and stay on message by documenting the next steps.

Expert Tip: This template will be available in the summer of 2019 for the Montblanc® Augmented Paper. An online workshop on how to use these and other templates will also be available every third Thursday of the month from July 2019.

We also recommend that you keep keep a visual record of what it discussed. This will guard against misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is really talking about the same thing and has the same image of what was said.

Doing this will save energy for all the participants because they will no longer need to generate their own images for what was said and then have to change them later. They can simply follow the image on the screen and develop their own ideas and talking points faster.

Dialogs will morph into multilogs since a variety of thoughts can be linked and displayed visually. This will increase productivity during your meetings and improve the quality of your results.

How to use the template

Professionally prepare meetings, and conferences with the Visual Selling® Meeting Template, Step 1: Meeting DataBefore the meeting, start at the top left and enter the key data for your meeting. This is important so that you can have an accurate idea of what kind of meeting you are expecting.

Which topics should be clarified or discussed? Who will participate? What talking points will come up? What issues should be considered?

Professional Preparation of Meetings and Conferences, Step 2: GoalsIn the next step, fill in your goal for the meeting. What should be achieved at the end? Or what should be accomplished with the topics discussed? In order to run an effective meeting, having a goal is essential. Visualize your target as accurately as possible. A meaningful image will make it much easier to achieve your goal.

Professional Preparation of Meetings and Conferences, Step 3: Key TopicsNow fill in the “to be considered” space. What do you need to remember? Visualize everything that absolutely has to be discussed. Here you can also make notes on the opinions of participants on the topic so that you can prepare in advance for any questions.

Professional Preparation of Meetings and Conferences, Step 4: Meeting CoreNow we get to the heart of the meeting. What issues need to be discussed? Write in a topic in every space in the center of the template. Visualize an icon for each one and write a title next to it. If you need more than 4 topics, just add more lines. During the meeting, add all the notes and visualizations for your topics in this space. Feel free to leave any spaces blank. Sometimes a meeting will develop in new directions. If so, you still have enough room to add to these topics.

Is everything clear? If so, then you can start your meeting. During the meeting in the “to be considered” section, check off the points that have already been clarified and add more if other important thoughts come to mind.

In “the core” space, go through each topic and visualize the dialog results. Project this space onto the wall as well so that all the participants can agree with the results or suggest changes.

Professional Preparation of Meetings and Conferences, Step 5: Open PointsIf any factors have still not been discussed, maybe because time is too short, then make a note of them and visualize them in the lower part of your template under “open items”.

Professionally conducting meetings and conferences, step 6: next stepsIn any case, set aside 10 minutes at the end to determine what the next steps will be. What needs to be done in order to achieve the goal that was discussed in the meeting?

Works Cited

Knauß, F. (5. Juni 2013). Meetings machen krank. Abgerufen am Februar 2019 von Zeit Online: https://www.zeit.de/karriere/beruf/2013-05/meetings-stress-kommunikation

Kolowich, L. (25. August 2014). The Ugly Truth About Meetings: Why They Are Such a Time Suck [Infographic]. Abgerufen am Februar 2019 von Hubspot: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/ugly-truth-about-meetings-infographic

MatchWare GmbH. (16. Oktober 2013). In Zahlen: Meeting Statistiken. Abgerufen am Februar 2019 von MeetingBooster® - Professionelle Meeting Management-Software: https://www.meetingbooster.com/de/blog/in-zahlen-meeting-statistiken/

Willmroth, J. (23. Oktober 2012). Meetings, die keine Zeit rauben. Abgerufen am Februar 2019 von Zeit Online: https://www.zeit.de/karriere/beruf/2012-09/buero-meetings-fuehrungskraefte

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