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Meetings can be done differently: The Flipchart–Chat

July 22, 2015 | Blog-Admin1 | Learning Elsewhere, Methods & Tools |

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Corinne-SprecherMeetings can be fun, interactive and productive. The ‘flipchart-chat’ is a good way to really discuss a hot issue at your next staff meeting.

Corinne Sprecher, Agridea

I was asked to facilitate a discussion about a new salary system. The management would for the first time share the drafted system with the leading staff. The goal was to inform them about it, to take up their questions, clarify them and to receive their feedback and comments to further elaborate the draft. It was meant to be a first step in an iterative process.

We expected the issue to be quite emotional and controversial, and we wanted to provide enough time for all to get familiar with the proposed system and enough space for everyone to contribute their comments and questions.

How did I go about it?

The document about the new salary system was sent out to every participant one week ahead and it was clearly communicated that they were expected to read it beforehand. No detailed presentation was foreseen during the meeting.

In the meeting the CEO made a very brief presentation reminding the leading staff about the underlying purpose and principles of the new salary system.

I had then distributed flipcharts for every subsection of the salary system in the room and all participants were asked to move around the room and note their comments and questions on the respective flipchart. Talking to each other was allowed, but the essentials of these chats needed to be noted down on flipchart.

In a last step we had a look at each flipchart and I asked the CEO and the human resource manager to acknowledge the comments, to clarify the questions as far as they could and to underline what they would take with them for further elaboration or clarification.

Actually, the minute taker noted down all the questions and answers. This document became then the basis for a catalogue of “frequently asked questions”.

Flip chart chat

What for?

A flipchart-chat is a wonderful method to collect many ideas, or in this setting, comments and questions in a short time. It creates a particular atmosphere: quiet and relaxed, but at the same time very busy without pressure to contribute. Participants can wander around and let themselves get inspired by what others have written. Usually, everyone gets in a flow of contributing after some minutes. In this way important comments and questions by every participants are collected in the given time and not only the ones of the loudest and most confident participants. In oral discussions these get to talk first, and time is up before we get the whole picture of questions and comments by everyone.

Dare to think outside the box!

For the described meeting I have asked myself:

What does really need to be presented during the meeting?

How can we make best use of the time in the group?

What is the purpose of the discussion?

And I have challenged the CEO as my “contractor” with these questions before the meeting!

The described procedure was then the result that worked for us. There are many more ways to reach the goal. Let yourself be inspired, think outside the box and create your ways of meeting and reaching your goals!

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Comments to“Meetings can be done differently: The Flipchart–Chat”


  1. Nadia von Holzen says:

    Dear Corinne
    Thanks a lot for your post. What I like about formats like the flipchart chat is that it gets people out of their chairs. It makes people move. Moving is great for learning. Our brains are in better learning mood. Have a look at this phantastic MRI of the brain in two different ‘moods': http://explore.brainpickings.org/post/58068822469/fmri-scan-indicating-increased-brain-activity
    Best, Nadia
    PS. I love the little stick figures in your drawing; they seem quite enthusiastic not to miss a flip-chart chat…

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