Here's How to Manage a Meeting When Some People Prefer Pictures to Text

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It took me a long time to realize that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, back in high school, I could study for hours for a chemistry test. But as much as I tried, my brain just wasn’t able to fully absorb the information in an easy way. When it comes to complex science, my brain often decides to shut down.

Many people feel the same way about presentations that include a lot of text. For a lot of working individuals, that information is just hard to digest. They may feel weird to admit it openly, but they probably prefer pictures to text. Pictures can often get the point across much faster and serve as a great way to remind employees of the data you were presenting.

If you’re in a situation where you feel like your employees might not be getting the most out of your meetings, it’s possible that it’s due to the way you’re dispensing the information. Here are good ways to manage a meeting that include more pictures and visuals.

If you’re making a PowerPoint, make sure all slides include at least one picture.

You might wonder whether or not this is “professional.” As far as consuming information goes, that’s not the point. Focus less on how you look, and more on how productive and responsive your team is. It’s just more effective to have all of your employees on the same page, especially in regards to a new idea or a new product launch. That said, there are certain things you’ll want to avoid.

Make sure your photos are consistent per slide.

You don’t want to have three images of varying sizes on one slide since then you risk your photos becoming more of a distraction than an educational aid. Presentation Process also believes that grouping images by type is also important. “Whenever you use shadows for images, make sure they are consistent,” they said. “Decide on a single light source and let your shadows be as per the direction of the light source.”

Remote employees can benefit from using a Vibe board.

Whiteboarding is a big part of meetings, and when you sign up for Vibe, remote employees everywhere will have access to draw, doodle, or brainstorm using a shared visual. For employees who aren’t great with verbalizing their ideas, a tool like this may be the best way for your company to plan and grow.

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When pictures aren’t available, help people visualize with descriptions.

A good alternative is to supply a lot of examples and mental imagery. Even if you ask your employees to close their eyes and imagine, it may help individuals think outside the box. This type of guided meditation may actually be beneficial for a bunch of different reasons. Aside from putting employees at ease, it’ll also help them with decision-making. Total Wellness believes that “practicing mindfulness teaches the brain to better focus and concentrate on the present moment – which can help them make more rational decisions.”

Bring some art supplies for your next meeting.

It’s not childish — it’s creative. All you need are some markers, crayons, and paper. Ask your employees to visualize and draw a product that they’ve always envisioned. Or, ask them to sketch out something that’d make their working environment even better. You can have remote employees also partake in this exercise, either with a digital whiteboard or by asking them to doodle at home and take a photo. Even if your session ends up with some laughter, it’s at the very least a good way to bring your employees together.

If a current project is being completed in stages, think about creating a visual timeline for employees to view.

This is much better than finding out about progress from a long and complicated email chain. Make your timeline colorful, and put it in a place where everyone has access. This is also something that can go on a digital whiteboard to help connect remote workers. Make sure to constantly update it, so that you’re presenting up-to-date information.

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Try to color-code your meeting itinerary.

Colors technically count as visuals, and they can also help your employees break down the meeting topic. Perhaps all time-sensitive information is highlighted in a light red, while the fun activities are in blue. Yes, your employees and coworkers should be paying attention to the whole meeting — but, the colors may help them recognize the most important parts to focus on.

Even small changes can make a big difference. Just remember, when you approach meetings differently, sometimes you may hit a few snags before getting a home run. There are so many different approaches that you can take, so don’t be scared to mix it up and see what works best for your team.

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