Agenda Mapping

Agenda mapping is a tool used in Motivational Interviewing. It can help in keeping a focus and ensuring that the time you spend together is collaborative.

One of the common fears of helping professionals when they take a more conversational approach is that they may forget what they need to say or what the person they are alongside said. It seems like this must only happen in the workplace as I seem to be able to manage a conversation with a friend without pen and paper!

Citizens have said that they much prefer it when we put our pen and paper, or laptop down, and listen with presence, interest and acceptance. It helps to develop rapport and trust.

Agenda mapping can help though. If we start by listening to understand we can summarise what we hear and then agree together what we want to map on the agenda. Deciding what to talk about can then be decided collaboratively. ‘You want to talk about this, I need to talk about that. How shall we split the time.’

Some citizens say they like agenda mapping as it helps them to see what they are talking about and gives them something to look at if they are talking about something the first time, especially if it feels a bit difficult to talk about. Other citizens say a brew works just as well!


Agenda mapping can be useful in helping to agree and keep a focus.  It can help the helper to maintain presence. Sometimes it easy to stop listening when we are lost in thought thinking about what we have to do next, or what we need to say before we go.

Engage to Change Resources

Conversations for Change Resources

Developing Conversations Resources