Search form

Defining the Vision

Defining the vision is a technique we use to help participants articulate their visions of an ideal future in a particular situation. By painting a picture in their minds, they have an opportunity to "see" the details of what they want.

This tool can be used in many ways. Let's say, for example, that you are facilitating a discussion about building a new middle school. You have asked students, parents, community members, and staff to come to a session to define their vision of the new school. After reviewing the rules for brainstorming, explain that you will guide everyone in picturing their ideal school.

Being by inviting participants to close their eyes and imagine that it is now five years from today and the new middle school has been built just the way they wanted it. Create a scene for the group by suggesting that they imagine climbing into a hot air balloon and floating up above the site of the school. Then suggest that they have the power to see through walls and hear the conversations going on in the new school. Ask people what they see, hear, and feel

Key Points To Take Away

--- Use the "Defining the Vision" activity to create a specific image of the ideal.
--- Use "brainstorming rules" as participants define their visions.
--- Those uncomfortable with visualization can still join the discussion.
--- Respect and work with differences in vision that emerge.


If it is important to consider specific aspects of the future building, ask participants to look for those. For example:

  • "What sports facilities do you see?"
  • "What do you see that is state-of-the-art technology?"
  • "What are the students saying to one another?"

After a minute or two of visualization, give participants time to make notes about what they have seen. Then arrange participants into small groups. Give the groups 5-10 minutes to list on flipchart sheets all the things they saw, heard or felt.

NEXT WEEK IN GREAT MEETINGS: How to narrow down that list of ideas you have collected.


About Great Meetings

Pam Plumb and Dee Kelsey are your facilitators in charge of Education World's Great Meetings series. They are also authors of the popular guide to meeting facilitation, Great Meetings! Great Results. Together, Pam and Dee have more than 40 years' experience facilitating change and training meeting leaders.

Learn more by clicking the links below:

* Read biographies
Learn about Pam and Dee.

* Read a "backgrounder"
What will you learn from this series?

Great Meetings: Great Results Book on Amazon
Learn about the book on Amazon.

* See the Great Meetings archive
See past articles in the series.