I had a conference call with a client this afternoon to get greater clarity over the purpose and scope of an upcoming 1-day session. It was only my second interaction with this client team so I was still clarifying my own understanding whilst establishing their confidence in me as their facilitator.

In our first call, we had talked through a Google doc that had been created to develop ideas and plans for this second session. During the call I was listening carefully to their language: what words and phrases kept popping up? This helped me synthesise the conversation and play back my emerging understanding to the client. 

Days went by and I didn't revisit these notes until an hour before our second call, today (last minute, I know!).  I knew had to demonstrate that my thinking and understanding had evolved so I grabbed a trusty sharpie and some A3 paper and started modelling the system as I understood it. I dropped my second iteration (the more detailed one) into the shared Google doc and our conversation then revolved around this model.

You can see from the images that in the end I created three iterations of a model. The third is overlaid in red pen and reflects the notes I took during the actual client call. Having this model allowed me to test my own understanding and develop more precise levels of shared understanding and vision amongst the client team.

Before our next call, I'll create a fourth iteration of my model which will provide greater precision to our purpose, scope, content, participants and process.

I'll write other posts about modelling and about iteration but for now here's an example of what you might be able to do for your next meeting or workshop where you need greater shared vision and understanding. I'd love to see your examples!