Rather than show a bunch of slides, I drew a simplified version of their current landscape on the white board and then went on to draw the potential future state with their guidance. This exercise of quickly painting a big picture of where we need to be on the wall, significantly improved the conversation through out the day. The exercise of drawing the current state and the end state took about 45 minutes.
In every subsequent session, almost every participant referred to the picture on the wall, while making decisions and recommendations. I believe the picture sped up decision making and improved clarity of thought in the room.
It reminded me of something my psychology professor taught me in college. She told the class that the most efficient way to do anything, say read an article for example, is to skim the whole article quickly to get a rough idea of what it is and then dive into the details to understand them and discuss them.
It sounds so simple. And yet, very few of us do it.
PS: I have noticed one thing. When ever I do such sessions, some of my colleagues who are not familiar with this approach watch me nervously. Once the session is over, most of them recognize the value and invite me to do the same in other sessions. Some may not be comfortable with this approach and may not invite me to participate in their pursuits. I am fine with it.