Do You Need a Hired Listener? Absolutely. No one listens better!
Have you ever heard a wonderful, informative talk and later tried and failed to recall those ah-ha moments? The ideas that really grabbed you? The key concepts, questions and issues?
Your meeting participants will fail too—no matter how hard they work to take notes.
That’s because they’re doing what you want them to do! They’re processing the information, thinking about how it affects their work, surfacing their questions, engaging in the conversation, getting excited about possibilities, generating new ideas based on what they’re hearing, and more… They’re not just working to remember and recall everything later.
And that’s why it’s so valuable to have someone in the room who’s totally focused on listening for those high points, critical details and important decisions.
A chart or series of charts created by a capable, experienced Graphic Recorder will capture those valuable moments in your meeting, and do it for everyone’s benefit. Each chart is an Illustrated Executive Summary of what was said in the room—the most meaningful, impactful, essential things. It takes a unique kind of brain and total focus to do this!
The Graphic Recorder listens intently for the essence, the nugget, the handful of words that capture what might be a whole paragraph. And we don’t paraphrase or substitute our own words—we use the actual words we hear.
Different from what is usually termed “active listening”, this is HIGH FIDELITY LISTENING. People say what they mean, the way they want to say it, and the chart must be faithful to that. That creates engagement at the time and stimulates recall later. The illustrations and color enhance memory and capture emotional content and emphasis, but they’re not the point of the graphic record: the ideas—the words—are.
We have a unique role in the room—responsible for listening well and not adding our own “spin”—so we’re free to listen more intently than participants and leaders, who must interpret everything they hear according to their own individual roles, experiences and needs.
Different Graphic Recorders have different skills: some do a lot of images and few words, some are great artists and designers, and some capture lots of words and are hyper-focused on creating a meaningful record for both organizers and participants.
I fall squarely in the last category. Having facilitated and designed many meetings myself, I find it hard to let a good idea escape! Broad experience in the corporate world allows me to grasp what’s most important and what’s most meaningful and keep it from being lost. A Fortune 100 CEO had this to say:
“I’ve had this done before, and they totally missed the point. YOU GOT IT.”
Once chart is finished and the meeting concludes, the full-size original charts and digital versions can be made available to everyone. With just a few minutes of review, each chart will bring the meeting back to life and help short-term memories to become long-term ones. The science behind that is a topic for another day.
Do you have an important Meeting, Retreat or Conference in the works?
READY TO HIRE A LISTENER? Reach out today!