benefits of VTF


Teleconferencing is difficult. It's hard to fit complex ideas over little wires, even when you add talking heads (video), so therefore telegroups need all the help they can get for their communication process. VTF offers key benefits for telegroups.

Most importantly, the meeting map serves as an "explicit group memory" [Ball71]. The map is a live, persistent, and easily scanned record of the essential details of the discussion that provides a common frame of reference for the group. Because the map can be quickly comprehended, it can be used on the fly during the meeting by the group itself, helping the group to navigate through the issues.

In fact, the meeting map can become a focus of the conversation, letting the group members see where the discussion has been, where it is now, and where it is going. In this way the meeting map serves the working group in accomplishing its task by making sure all participants are "on the same page."

Another benefit of VTF is that it allows all members of the group to be heard. In most group discussions, whether face to face or remote, the statements of soft spoken or shy people are often overlooked. But it is the job of the telefacilitator to carefully listen to everyone in the meeting and record their contributions. Therefore a visually facilitated telemeeting can harvest far more of the total idea potential in a group than an audio only or audio+video telemeeting.

A final benefit of VTF is the archival function of the meeting map. When the telemeeting is over, each participant already has comprehensive high level meeting notes in his or her Web browser.

© 1997, 1999 PGC