This is going to sound like a very obvious piece of advice, but here goes, always go prepared for your visual meetings. You might be wondering why this is worthy of a post. Is this really a problem? Based on over a decade of meeting facilitation and watching leaders in action, yes, I believe it is. 

There are thousands of meetings taking place around the globe everyday and I am ready to gamble that the majority of these are taking place without much, if any, thought to the materials and resources needed to make these conversations count. This omission, whilst appearing trivial, is making a significant impact on what could be achieved in these meetings.

Why does this matter?

Let’s look at this from a different angle, I could …

  • Give you a bicycle and ask you to cycle 3km. But what if I removed the pedals first?

  • Give you a rowing boat and ask you to row across a lake, but what if I gave you only one oar?

  • Ask you to generate powerful ideas to boost your business, and give you a used flip chart pad and some dried up marker pens.

When we hold meetings without considering the resources needed, we are making the going difficult both for ourselves and our meeting participants right from the start. Maybe we’re relying too much on what might be in the room when we get there (a definite gamble), or maybe we’re literally running from one meeting to the next without thinking about what we need with us? It really doesn’t take much to put it right.

Here are 5 simple tips for meeting leaders who want to go prepared:

  1. Always keep a set of marker pens that are yours and you take with you to your meetings. Treat yourself to a pen case to put them in, and know that these pens will travel with you to every meeting.

  2. Take one black pen for headings, two to three “cool” colours (blue, brown, green) for writing body text on flip charts, and one or two “hot” colours (red, orange) for bullets and underlining. Take a pencil too, so you can make light marks on the flip-chart paper for keeping your writing straight or making small notes for you as the meeting leader.

  3. Carry a role of artist tape so you can remove flip-chart paper from the easel and fix it to the walls. This ensures everyone can see the work without losing from sight when the page is turned. Write your name on the inside of the roll so everyone knows who it belongs to.

  4. Keep a stock of BIG paper, ready to use when BIG thinking is required from the whole team. Papering the tables is just as effective as the walls.

  5. Use stick-it notes in various sizes (not just those small ones) so you and your team can jump into action when idea generation is needed.

  6. Talk to your facilities colleagues about the materials you need in your meeting rooms to be ready for productive conversations.
Image of meeting room in Sandburn Hall, York

Paying attention to the kit you have ready will become a habit that pays dividends for the productivity of your meetings, and the engagement of participants. As a proud official UK re-seller for Neuland, Inky Thinking sell sustainable and high quality kit for dialogue orientated conversations within the UK. Follow @neulanduk via Twitter and Instagram and join the Neuland Fans UK group on LinkedIn.


Content taken from ‘The Visual Meeting Coach’ LinkedIn newsletter by Tom Russell. To subscribe to Tom’s newsletters visit

About Tom …

Tom is a facilitator, graphic recorder and founder of Inky Thinking, a creative agency specialising in bespoke visual communication, enabling leaders and organisations to communicate effectively. Tom works with leaders and teams in global organisations to design and facilitate conferences, meetings and workshops.