I’m down at Likeminds this week, so I thought I’d follow up on the word cloud Jim shared yesterday with a cloud of the afternoon’s twitter discussions about Likeminds. A slight bit of self-interest, as I did my keynote in the afternoon ;) -but there were some great conversations and exchanges of ideas.

Last week we started to talk about the benefits of visualising your workload. Visual representations, because they are non-linear in nature, and because we can direct our eyes and focus, enable us to take in a huge amount of information quickly. It was interesting listening to Dan Boyd talking about his films this morning, and the challenges of big screen, versus small screen, versus a stage. Seeing, rather than just hearing things, or seeing a linear presentation of data, it much more under control of the control of the viewer. You choose where your eyes go, although the producer is guiding your gaze in many subtle ways.

What catches your eye in the word cloud above? Everyone will pick out something different, but a single visualisation gives a focal point for discussion and exploration that helps us come to a shared understanding. When you walk away from a (great!) conference like Likeminds, or from watching a film (as many did last night), it is ok for everyone to walk away with a different perspective and understanding. When you walk out from a management meeting or a planning session, you want everyone to walk out with the same understanding, even if they have different perspectives. That’s why you should create and share visualisations of your plans (the export feature in Milestone Planner is there for good reason!), and provoke discussions around them. Conversations surface differences, which can then be explored and resolved. That’s how people come to a shared understanding, and the right things get done.