Dialogue Mapping

Bringing Order to Chaotic Meetings

Dialogue Mapping

Capture the discussion as you go along.

© iStockphoto/Yuri_Accurs

Many meetings take place to explore issues or solve problems, and many of these meetings are successful.

However some meetings can grow complex and disorganized, and are frustrating to attend. There are so many perspectives, so many competing voices – and so many ways to get off track. The original problem or question often gets lost in the discussion. Valuable contributions are ignored. And after a decision is made, it's often hard to remember the sequence of thoughts that led to it.

We run into this difficulty because problem solving is often not a linear process. As our thoughts and ideas jump all over the place, so does the conversation. Some individuals may "grandstand" on favorite topics, others may wander onto less relevant (but more interesting) subjects, and the conversation can seem to go around and around – until you either forget where you started, or get so frustrated that you just stay with things as they are because it's easier.

So how can you combat this frustration and keep communication in meetings on track in the situations? Consider using a simple and effective technique called Dialogue Mapping.

A Dialogue Example

Consider the following dialogue among four colleagues in a meeting:

Access the Full Article

This resource is only available in full within the Mind Tools Club.

Learn More and Join Today

Already a Club member? Log in to finish this article.
Add this article to My Learning Plan

Where to go from here:

Join the Mind Tools Club

Click to join Mind Tools
Printer-friendly version
Return to the top of the page

Your Score
Create a Login to Save Your Learning Plan

This ensures that you don’t lose your plan.

Connect with…

Or create a Mind Tools login. Existing user? Log in here.
Log in with your existing Mind Tools details
Lost Username or Password
You are now logged in…

Lost username or password?

Please enter your username or email address and we'll send you a reminder.

Thank You!

Your log in details have been sent to the email account you registered with. Please check your email to reset your login details.

Create a Mind Tools Login
Your plan has been created.

While you're here, subscribe to our FREE newsletter?

Learn a new career skill every week, and get our Personal Development Plan workbook (worth $19.99) when you subscribe.

Thank You!

Please check your Inbox, and click on the link in the email from us. We can then send you the newsletter.