Using your telephone or a separate camera to record and backup meeting output will help you avoid losing valuable information.  You will capture various benefits with very little time or resource required. A backup provides a strong sense of security from loss of information gathered during your meetings and workshops.

Backup Meeting Output from a Whiteboard or Easel for Later Transcription

When you backup meeting output from easel paper and white boards, you have made the information portable.  Photographic or video recordings also free up the whiteboard space for additional writing.  Recordings allow you to complete your transcriptions and meeting notes “off line.”

Backup Meeting Output

Backup Meeting Output

Photographic recording is particularly useful when meetings are impromptu and the whiteboard is the only practical tool for capturing notes.  Typically we always take digital pictures or video at the end of every session and at the end of each day during a multi-day workshop, regardless if we still have the paper rolled up or not.

Tips on How to Backup Meeting Output

  • Download the photos quickly to your PC so that the information is fresh, should any portion of the photos be illegible.
  • Use a camera with sufficient resolution. We recommend 3 megapixel pictures or larger.  Occasionally you may refer back to the photographs for details that may have been skipped over during the transcription to meeting notes.
  • Work in a room that is lit well enough to help you avoid the need of a camera flash. If you have the option of disabling the flash, and have sufficient natural lighting, turn the flash off to avoid the problem mentioned in the next point . . .
  • Be careful to avoid the distortion of an electronic flash. Take the photo at a slight angle. If you are using a flash (or it operates automatically), do not shoot your photo straight on at a perfect, perpendicular angle. Rather, skew your angle a few degrees to avoid the bounce of the flash back into the lens.
  • Be sure that the entire span of the whiteboard or easel paper is captured in the photo(s). Even if you intend to capture the board/easel in sections, the big view provides a valuable reference later.  Alternatively, use the panoramic setting or take a video of the entire room as well.
  • Having advised you to capture all of the writing in the room, zoom in on narrative sections so that you can record text that has legibility challenges. We suggest capturing photos of the board in sections—just in case—to assure legible images for later transcription.
  • If possible, preview the digital photos that you’ve just taken to assure yourself of:
    • the field of view that you intended,
    • the legibility of the sections of the board/easel that you’ve captured, and
    • that you’ve captured ALL the information you intended.

Please note that some cell phone cameras are insufficient for the task due to low picture resolution and lower quality lens, but they are improving with each new generation of handheld devices.

Become Part of the SolutionImprove Your Facilitation and Methodology Skills

To help you access our in-house resources, (e.g., annotated agendas, break timers and templates used in our FAST Professional Facilitation Training) go to the Facilitation Training Store

Furthermore, the FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics of an effective facilitator and methodologist. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual. Attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership-training workshop offered around the world. See MG Rush for a current schedule. FAST provides 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, 40 CDUs from IIBA, or 3.2 CEUs).

Finally, don’t forget to order Change or Die if you’re working on a business process improvement project. Change or Die provides detailed workshop agendas.  It also includes numerous tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective.

We are daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.


Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Monthly Facilitation blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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