On August 11 I attended the quarterly meeting of the Southeast Association of Facilitators (SEAF) in Atlanta. The program was a smorgasbord of interesting short presentations called The T3 Showcase: Tools, Techniques & Technology!, held at the very hip and elegant space known as ROAM Dunwoody.
There were several presenters on various topics centered around collaborating in teams. Each of the five mini-breakout sessions lasted 20-30 minutes each. I had my sketchbook with me and took visual notes of the presentations, which I share with you here.
Catalyst Cards: visual tools to explore deep thoughts and emotions
Rich Goidel introduced us to Catalyst Cards, which are a great jumping-off point for introducing creative, visual thinking into teambuilding exercises or maybe even brainstorming sessions. The cards feature strong characters and archetypal images, and are used to spark discussion and free association on the topic at hand. Originally the cards had suits and major arcana like the Tarot, but now the suits have been eliminated with only the hand-drawn images remaining. Many of the archetypes on the cards even have Jungian overtones, and should resonate deeply enough with people so that meaningful discussions can be embarked upon and mutual trust built.
presented by Rich Goidel of Dangerous Kitchen
Google Jamboard: the whiteboard reimagined
Mike Long and Joseph DeSouza of Leadership Strategies partnered with Google to demonstrate the new Google Jamboard. It's a digital whiteboard that looks like a flatscreen TV on wheels, although it can be mounted to a wall too. Touch-sensitive, they can be used like giant iPads for drawing on during videoconferences. The Jamboard was presented as a solution to avoiding plane tickets—an alternative way for teams in different parts of the world to be able to share all kinds of work material and collaborate from afar.
presented by Leadership Strategies and Google
The Jamboard seems to excel at making collages—teams can write directly on the whiteboard and pull in graphics from the web, use emoji-type stickers, and take and immediately share photos.
There is also a Jamboard app that you can use on your tablet, although it doesn’t seem to do much without direct access to a big Jamboard. They are quite spendy, the big Jamboards, though—they seem most likely to be used by teams at bigger corporations. It almost makes me wish I were employed at such a corporation, because I could totally see getting up for a brainstorming session or collaborative meeting with my teammies on the other side of the world if I had one of these babies to play with!
Prezi: bring your ideas to life with motion, zoom and spatial relationships Jackie Goldstein introduced the Prezi app, which is like a super-duper version of PowerPoint with pretty cool features for adding layers and zooming around within the presentation. Adding these levels of depth and dimension, along with the effects that can be employed while zooming, means that your content can be explored and presented in a really engaging fashion. You can also turn the presentation into a movie by adding audio.
presented by Jackie Goldstein
Your presentations can be made interactive, and tailored on the spot for certain viewers who might be interested in a deep-dive into some of the material without wanting to spend any time in other areas. They work best on a touch-sensitive tablet so you can pinch-zoom and scroll around with a swipe of the finger.
The free version of Prezi has full functionality, but everything that you create with it is public, so beware that you do not use it to present any sort of proprietary or confidential information. Jackie cautioned us that you must know your material very well in order to get the most out of using Prezi, and it is a good idea to be connected to the Internet while you're doing it.
Teambuilding in a Box: a self-guided team communication activity
with Leigh Ann Rodgers of BetterTeams
Our brief little breakout group got just a taste of what it would be like to actually do this activity in a team situation, but the Team Building in a Box exercise was really interesting and quite a lot of fun. Leigh Ann, who designed and produces this product, explained to us the personality types and the different communication styles this exercise was designed to identify and uncover. The activity helps teams work together through better understanding of what each type needs in order to communicate effectively as well as what personality and teamwork strengths they bring to the table.
I found that I related fairly strongly to three out of the four personality types—and when I asked Leanne how to interpret this, she explained that often we take on certain personalities in different situations in life, and it was best to imagine answering these questions from a work/team perspective in order to get the most out of the exercise.
I could see Teambuilding in a Box to be really useful for streamlining communication, especially in small teams who have to work closely together despite possibly having widely varying personality types or cultural backgrounds. It seems to foster a deeper understanding of why people might come from the place they do while teaching some skills in dealing with people who have opposite styles.
(Because this session was interactive, I was too busy interacting to be able to make a sketchnote of Leigh Ann's presentation! Sorry)!
Trello, Asana, Zoom
Trello, Asana, and ZOOM virtual team organizational tools McKenzie Wren and Martha McGinnis teamed up to give us a taste of several team organizational tools: Trello, Asana, and Zoom.
with McKenzie Wren of Wren Consulting and Martha McGinnis of Visual Logic
Asana was the only one of the three that I have not had personal experience with (although I did research it when I was going through a big organizational phase in my work life a couple of years ago). I ended up choosing Trello to organize my business because I liked the kanban style of organizing cards—this works very well for the Getting Things Done methodology that I personally use to organize my life as well as my workday. (I separate items into categories: to do Today, This Week, Next Week, and Someday/Maybe. The key to using this system is to review it regularly and move the Trello cards over from one column to the next—or to your Completed column, which is a satisfying feeling!) I love Trello and use it every day. (And did I mention it’s freeeeee? My favorite price!)
Trello allows various project boards that are interactive for teams to come in and collaborate on. Calendar plug-ins and checklists are very valuable in Trello, as is the ability to assign custom color labels to each card/list/board.
Asana is useful in showing graphs of progress made by the team. It lets you make team pages where everyone on the team can chat and see all of their projects at once. It will also give you a list of all your tasks no matter which projects or life areas they may be coming from.
The Zoom cloud meeting application was also discussed. It is a videoconferencing service that comes in a free version for desktop or mobile device, both of which are very effective; you can also opt to subscribe to access even more features. With the free version, you get 40 minutes of free meeting time, and the people that you invite to the videoconference don’t have to sign up for an account with Zoom in order to participate. You can see everybody in the web call, and there is even a screen-sharing function that is very useful. This is a great app!
Lastly, a shoutout to the Southeast Association of Facilitators! I was super-impressed with SEAF, and I've decided to become a member. (I had attended as a guest of Jenny Trautman of Same Page People.) The people were all very interesting and approachable, the meeting facility is absolutely gorgeous and state of the art, and the program was full of value and usefulness.
I'm quite looking forward to the next meeting, when author and coach Wendy Watkins will be speaking on November 10. If you think you might be interested in attending, click here for more details. It would be fun to see you there—be sure to say hello.