Go to main content

The Glossary of Meeting Terms describes terminology and acronyms related to meetings and all the activities we do in those meetings. We've gathered this information from far and wide, so enjoy! And hey — if you have corrections or additions, please don't hesitate to contact us!

1 | 2 | 4 | 5 | 6 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | V | W

Showing 106 matches (clear all filters)


The 1-2-All is a facilitation technique that allows larger groups to generate questions, suggestions, and solutions all at the same time, making sure all participants have an opportunity to contribute.

The meeting leader poses a question, then asks each participant to consider the answer silently on their own. The group then breaks into pairs to discuss the topic, and perhaps then foursomes. Finally, the discussion moves to the entire group.

This technique is also known as...

read more


The 2x2 Matrix is a decision support technique where the team plots options on a two-by-two matrix. Known also as a four blocker or magic quadrant, the matrix diagram is a simple square divided into four equal quadrants. Each axis represents a decision criterion, such as cost or effort. Each axis is divided into two sections (example: low cost/high cost and easy/difficult). The matrix is drawn on a whiteboard, then the team plots the options along the axes. This makes it easy to visualize...

read more


The 4 Question Meeting is a technique for clarifying and communicating the meeting purpose. Attributed to American Express, people using this technique will answer these questions in the meeting invitation.

What is the purpose -- decision, information sharing or brainstorming? What is the issue…in five words or less? Who has already weighed in and what did they have to say about it? What will surprise me in this meeting?

The 4Ls technique is a brainstorming technique for collecting feedback on a recently completed project or piece of work. People in the meeting are asked to brainstorm feedback in four categories: things they Liked, things they Learned, resources they Lacked, and things they Longed For.


The 5 Second Rule (as it's used in meetings) is a facilitation technique where you ask a question then wait a full 5 seconds before moving on. Once you get to 4 seconds, the silence becomes a little uncomfortable. It's just long enough for people to realize that you actually expect a response, and then think it through in their heads. At 5 seconds, people will start to speak up.

For example, when you ask "Are there any more questions?", wait silently for at least 5 seconds before...

read more

The 5 Whys is a technique used to determine the root cause of an issue. By repeatedly asking the question “Why” (five is a good rule of thumb), you can discover symptoms which may lead to the reason a problem exists.

Liberating Structures defines a similar technique called Nine Whys. It's literally more of the same.



Activity modeling is a method used to illustrate how a system works. In an activity modeling workshop, the group works together to outline a sequence of steps and the component pieces involved in creating a behavior or result. Groups use activity models to visually represent the sequence of events that trigger a behavior. There are many types of activity models known by names specific to the type of process or system that they describe, such as Value Stream Maps, Architecture System Maps (...

read more

An affinity diagram organizes a large number of ideas into related sets. Groups often create an affinity diagram as the second step in a brainstorming session. After everyone adds their ideas, the team looks at the ideas and organizes them, either into pre-determined categories or, more commonly, into clusters of like items which the team then labels.

Offering appreciations, or acknowledgments, is a popular and positive addition to the opening or close of a meeting. Leaders who introduce appreciations into their regular team meetings find these benefits.

Team members feel better about each other.
Increased trust, an increased sense of personal value and worth, mutual caring: all the benefits you might expect when we remember to acknowledge and thank each other for the good we do. Fewer "meetings after the meeting".
Some... read more

Appreciative Inquiry techniques seek to build on the positive outcomes, successes, and highlights in a situation instead of focusing on how to counteract negative forces. Practitioners recognize that people are naturally predisposed to focus on things which are broken or inadequate, and they seek to combat this bias by intentionally pursuing possibilities that build on strengths. Appreciate Inquiry techniques are often used in problem solving and strategy meetings.

Argument Mapping is a technique for graphically breaking down and showing the reasoning (or argument) behind a statement. In a meeting, groups can use Argument Mapping to explore the underlying assumptions behind a request and uncover other possible explanations for why they face the challenge before them.

Around the Horn


Braindumping refers to brainstorming written down. The term can be used to describe a solo activity, where one person writes down all the ideas they can think of individually, or a group activity where one person writes down ideas as they're expressed by the group.

Lucid meeting templates frequently recommend using Silent Brainstorming, a form of Braindumping that works well in everyday meetings.

Brainstorming is a group technique formalized by Alex Osborn in 1939 as a way to generate a lot of ideas quickly in response to a specific problem or question. Traditional brainstorming involves multiple people calling out as many ideas as they can think of within a set timeframe. Brainstorming emphasizes quantity over quality, disallowing critique or limitations during the brainstorming session; "There are no bad ideas."

Research on Brainstorming over the past few decades has...

read more

Brainwriting is an idea generation technique where participants write down their ideas about a particular question for a few minutes without talking. Then, each person passes his or her ideas to the next person who uses them as a trigger for adding or refining their own ideas.

Breakout groups are used as a large group discussion technique designed to increase participation. During a large meeting or workshop, the facilitator may assign the group to work in smaller teams to answer a question or tackle a specific challenge. Breakout groups may be assigned randomly (by counting off or by simply having people break into smaller groups) or they may be divided based on the interests represented.

For example, the Future Backwards exercise works best when the group...

read more


The CAPPED Decision Framework is a set of stages and facilitative questions to help groups make decisions together, no matter what the scale, urgency, and complexity. Developed by Ben Crothers, this framework uses logic and progressive alignment to structure a discussion and reach a decision and alignment stage by stage, rather than trying to align on a decision right at the end.

Steps in the CAPPED Decision Making Framework

Causal Layered Analysis (abbreviated as CLA) is a group sense-making technique used to explore the underlying causes and worldviews contributing to a situation. Working together, groups made up of people representing different perspectives respond to a central question with:

Litany: how they "feel" about it Causes: what's creating the situation Worldview: the perspectives shaping it Myths: the underlying stories feed it

The results of a CLA exercise are often shown as an iceberg,...

read more

Challenging Assumptions is a sense-making technique designed to break apart a statement and discover where assumptions may be limiting your options. There are several ways of leading a group through an exercise designed to challenge assumptions.

In one approach, groups start by writing out the stated goal or problem, then underlining every word that implies an underlying assumption. For example:
We need to lay off 20 people this quarter.

Then, for every underlined word or...

read more

A check-in is a technique used at the beginning of a meeting to give everyone an opportunity to speak, and during meeting transitions to survey the group's current status. The simplest check-in is simply to ask each person how they are. There are many more specific check-in techniques, each developed for a specific meeting context.

All check-ins work to:

Increase participation: everyone starts by participating right up front, making it impossible to multi-task on other work... read more

Facilitators and meeting leaders use a meeting checkpoint to keep the group focused and on topic. To conduct a checkpoint at the end of an agenda item, the facilitator will quickly recap what the group just accomplished, where they are in the agenda, and what they will do next. Checkpoints increase engagement by providing a sense of incremental accomplishment and curtailing side discussions as the group focuses on completing the planned agenda.

Circles and Soup is an exercise teams use to the identify the parts of their work they can control directly, the factors they can influence, and those which are outside of their control. Once these factors are sorted, the team can then make better decisions about how to prioritize their efforts.

The technique, introduced by Diana Larsen and frequently used in action review meetings, works by drawing three large concentric circles on a whiteboard. The team then writes down the various...

read more

Circles of Influence

Concept mapping is a technique for graphically organizing and representing knowledge. The maps include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes, and relationships between the concepts indicated by a connecting line. Concept maps can be created collaboratively by a group during a meeting, a process more commonly known as Mind Mapping. Concept maps can also be used as a visually interesting way to present a meeting or workshop agenda. Finally, concept maps are often presented during...

read more

A consent agenda is a technique for addressing multiple topics in a single agenda item, such as committee reports, meeting minutes, and other items that don't require discussion. Boards and committees use a consent agenda to quickly manage all the items they are legally required to address during the meeting, but which should not take up any of the board's precious meeting time. Groups that use a consent agenda expect participants to have reviewed the items on the consent agenda prior to the...

read more

Creative Problem Solving (CPS) is a method that attempts to approach a problem or a challenge in an innovative way. The process helps redefine problems and opportunities to come up with new responses and solutions.

There are many variations on the basic Creative Problem Solving process, some of which work nicely in group meetings. The simplest form of the process includes these steps:

Clarify (the objectives, the problem, the facts, the opportunity) Generate Ideas (come up with... read more

A criteria matrix is a valuable decision-making tool that is used to assess and rank a list of options based on specific criteria. For example, the simplest criteria matrix will compare the Pros and Cons of each option.

More involved decisions benefit from establishing criteria or factors for evaluating each option in advance, such as cost, time to implement, expected impact, alignment with core values, etc. Each alternative is then rated on each criterion and compared to the others...

read more


DeBono's Six Thinking Hats is a dialogue technique for looking at a decision from multiple angles. Individual group members take on an assigned perspective (or "Thinking Hat") for the duration of the discussion. For example, when talking about how to handle a situation, one person will take responsibility for pointing out any needs for more information, another will highlight all the exciting possibilities, and another will point out all the problems. Six Thinking Hats was created by Edward...

read more

A decision log is, literally, a log of decisions that have been made. The purpose of a decision log is to make information available to people who were not present when the decision was made, and also to provide easy access to key information about past decisions when questions arise. (In particular, the question “Didn’t we already decide that?”)

The summary of a decision should include:

What was decided What alternatives were considered Why this choice was made Who was involved... read more

A decision tree is a decision-making aid that compares options by projecting what the expected outcome of each choice might be. Teams that use a decision tree often draft the tree together in a meeting on a whiteboard. First, they add a circle or box for each option under consideration. Then, they add "branches" from the first option that show the results they expect if they choose that option. Then, they add a matching set of branches coming from the next option with the results they...

read more

Decision making technique designed to combat groupthink. One or more people in the group takes the "devil's advocate" role, and works to point out all the flaws and risks with an option under consideration.

Dialetical inquiry is a group decision-making technique that attempts to combat group think. The practice reportedly originated with Plato, who asked his students to consider both the thesis and antithesis to any idea. Groups using this technique divide into two camps: those advocating for an idea and those advocating against it. Both sides highlight the advantages of their assigned decision and outline the disadvantages of the opposing idea.

Dot voting is a fast and easy polling system used to bring out a group's opinions regarding the highest priority items on a list. The technique is called “Dot Voting” because, in face-to-face meetings, votes are cast by placing a sticky-dot or using markers to make a dot next to an item posted on the wall. Each meeting participant gets a fixed number of votes (or dots) that they can cast however they want; they can place all their votes on the same item if they wish, or vote for several...

read more


Emotional Seismograph

Environment scanning is a sense-making exercise teams use to uncover the outside trends that they should consider during the strategic planning process. Teams research and brainstorm the trends they see in their political environment, economic climate, community, and industry, then discuss how these changes in their operating environment create new risks and opportunities. Environmental scans can be completed in one or more meetings.


A fishbone diagram is a visual technique that teams use to organize their thinking and identify causes for a problem. The diagram starts with a process or problem written at the right center of the board, with a long horizontal line and an arrow leading to it. Then, diagonal lines are drawn connecting to the horizontal line, or spine, of the diagram. Each diagonal line represents a possible cause of the problem, or a set of inputs into the process.

The Fist to Five is a technique for quickly getting feedback or gauging consensus during a meeting. The leader makes a statement, then asks everyone to show their level of agreement with the statement by holding up a number of fingers, from 5 for wild enthusiasm (Jazz hands!) down to a clenched fist for vehement opposition.

One way to define the Fist to Five scale. Make sure to clarify what 0 to 5 mean for your group.

Teams conduct a force field analysis when they need to make go/no-go decisions. Teams start by writing the proposed change down the center of the diagram. To the left, they list the forces driving change, with an arrow pointing to the proposed change. To the right, they draw the forces pushing back against the change. Then, they assign relative strengths to each force and add the totals on each side. This is a subjective yet helpful way for groups to think through the forces working for and...

read more

Four Blocker


The gallery method is a way of generating and building on ideas in a group. To begin, the group reviews a problem statement or challenge. Then, everyone takes 30 minutes or so to sketch 2 or 3 solution ideas. These are posted on the wall where everyone can see them, just like they were looking at art in a gallery. After this review, people retrieve their sketches and refine ideas as inspired by the work in other people's sketches.

The Go Around gives each person a brief turn to speak to the topic, without interruption. Everyone else listens. Also known as a Round Robin, Structured Go Around, or as going “Around the Horn”, this foundational meeting tool ensures that everyone can contribute their thoughts and comments.

For example, invitations at the beginning of meetings typically use a go around. The go around also works well to increase engagement in the middle of a meeting, and to create an opportunity for...

read more

The Gradients of Agreement is a group decision support tool described in The Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision Making. It spells out an 8-point scale for expressing support for a decision.

Whole-hearted Endorsement - “I really like it!” Agreement with a Minor Point of Contention - “Not perfect, but it’s good enough.” Support with Reservations - “I can live with it.” Abstain - “This issue does not affect me.” More Discussion Needed - “I don’t understand the issues well enough... read more


Hummed consensus is a technique championed by IETF committees to quickly determine if the group has reached an agreement. Before the committee takes a formal vote on a decision, the meeting leaders will ask the group to indicate their support by humming for their preferred option.

This short video shows the humming technique in action during an IETF committee meeting.

Nerd Alert: Did you know that the IETF uses collective humming to gauge consensus for...

read more


An ice breaker is an activity, game, or event that is used to welcome and warm up the conversation among participants in a meeting. Ice breakers range wildly, from simple one-question answers to elaborate team games. All ice breakers are designed to help the participants get to know one another and build rapport, but that doesn't mean they can't also be work and results focused.

The Lucid bookshelves include three full volumes covering different ice breaker techniques. The vast...

read more

An Influence Diagram is a compact, graphical way to look at the factors involved in making a decision. Influence diagrams show how the decisions, variables at work, and desired outcomes relate to one another, which is useful for making it easy to see the main factors involved and how each factor impacts the others. Influence diagrams can be created before a meeting, or drawn on-the-fly to illustrate the ideas under discussion. The diagram is reviewed and refined in the meeting, then used to...

read more


The Johari window was developed by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham as a technique for people to better understand how a person perceives themselves and is perceived by others.

A Johari window organizes information into four quadrants based on these criteria:

What I know What others know

The basic process for using a Johari window works like this.

You and others make private lists of what you know or believe. The original Johari window technique asked... read more


The KJ-Method or KJ Technique, is an idea generating and prioritizing technique named after its inventor, Jiro Kawakita. This technique is one of the most popular brainstorming variations for design, team, retrospective, and project meetings. The KJ Technique includes these steps:

Individual brainstorming:
Everyone silently writes down ideas. Each idea goes on a separate note. Sharing ideas:
People take turns sharing the ideas they've written and posting them to the group space... read more


LEAN Coffee is one way to build an agenda on the fly. Groups using this structured meeting technique brainstorm then decide the topics to be discussed at the start of the meeting. This meeting technique works for smaller meetings where the entire group will decide on a single set of topics to discuss. Open Space events, or Unconferences, apply similar ideas to larger events.

The Lean Coffee technique is also a fast collaborative way to create workable meeting structure when facing an...

read more

The Lotus Blossom Technique is a structured brainstorming exercise used to expand on a central idea or problem. Teams place the original problem statement in the center box in a 3x3 matrix, then add related themes or elements of the problem in the 8 boxes surrounding it. After filling out this central box, 8 new grids are created with an idea from the first grid in the center. The process repeats, with the team adding 8 ideas for each of the 8 initial aspects from the first grid.


read more


Magic Quadrant

Mind Mapping is a visual way to represent a central idea and related themes. The central idea is written in the center, and related ideas are placed surrounding the central idea with lines connecting them, like branches coming from a central trunk. Mind maps can be created on paper, a whiteboard, or by using mind mapping software. Mind maps have several uses in meetings.

Visual note taking: where the main topic of the meeting sits in the middle, and the main points of the discussion are... read more

Multivoting is a technique used to take a long list of possible solutions and either narrow it to a smaller list by priority or reduce it to a final selection. Each person in the group gets a set number of votes, and ranks the options they prefer in order from most preferred (the high) to least preferred (the low). When all votes are cast, the votes for each option are tallied and will either reveal a clear winner or provide information for further discussion.

Mute mapping is an affinity diagramming approach designed to encourage equal participation and reduce bias. Mute mapping follows brainstorming. When all the ideas have been added, the team works to organize the ideas into clusters of related ideas without speaking. The entire process must be completed in total silence. The groups (or clusters) are considered complete once every participant stops moving ideas around and signals their satisfaction with the groupings.


Nine Whys

See: 5 Whys

The Nominal Group Technique is a structured process for generating ideas and prioritizing the preferred options. First, the leader asks an open-ended question. Everyone silently writes down replies on individual notes (see Silent Brainstorming). After a set time, the group then shares ideas one at a time. All ideas are posted, then everyone in the group ranks their top 5 (or another predetermined number) independently. The rankings are then shared...

read more


The one-phrase close is a technique used to end team meetings. Before the group leaves the meeting, each person takes a turn sharing one word or phrase about how they're feeling regarding the work completed during the meeting. Popularized by Verne Harnish, this technique is intended to give everyone a chance to express either frustration or appreciation and bring closure to the discussion. It also helps the team leader identify who might have unresolved issues that they should follow-up on...

read more

ORID is an acronym describing the 4 stages of questions that facilitators can use to focus a conversation towards a useful result. ORID stands for:

Objective: questions about facts, about what is. Reflective: questions about how people react to and feel about the facts. Interpretive: questions to figure our what it means, and the implications. Decisional: questions to figure out what to do and what happens next.

ORID is a foundation of the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA)...

read more


PALPaR is a technique used by presenters to create an effective exchange in response to a proposal. The name of the technique is an acronym for:

Present Ask Listen Pause and Reply

To ensure the exchange will be effective, the presenter should prepare specific questions in advance and give the group an opportunity to discuss these questions together before they reply to the presenter. Then, during the Listen step, the presenter should request answers to each...

read more

A Pareto Analysis is a decision-making technique used to choose a limited number of actions to take that will result in a significant impact. The analysis uses the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule), which states for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

A meeting parking lot helps keep track of important items that may not be useful to discuss in the current meeting. As subjects come up that don't relate directly to the topic under discussion, they are added to the group's parking lot.

The parking lot should be reviewed as part of closing the meeting. For each item on the parking lot, the leader checks whether the topic still needs to be discussed. If not, the item is removed. If the group feels it does need to be addressed, they...

read more

The Peaks and Valleys exercise gives groups a simple visual way to share each person's unique view on the highs and lows of an experience. Groups use this exercise to help visualize events over time and see how each person's experience differs.

To use this technique, teams draw a timeline representing the event they're evaluating on a whiteboard. Then, individuals take turns drawing a line that charts their personal highpoints and low points during the event.

You can use this...

read more

A PEST analysis is a sense-making technique used in strategic planning and situational analysis. Participants brainstorm and map out what's changing in their operating environment, then brainstorm the opportunities and threats they can now see may arise from these changes. PEST is an acronym for Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural, and Technological, the four types of change the team lists during this activity. There are several variations on this technique with similar acronyms.

PESTLE... read more

PMI is a brainstorming technique for gathering feedback on an idea, concept, or when a team takes a retrospective look at a recently completed set of work. After introducing the idea, the group is asked to write individual notes about what they found positive (plus), negative (minus), and what they thought was neither good nor bad but interesting. Feedback is shared and charted in the three categories, then discussed by the group.

There are several related techniques that use...

read more
+ / Δ

Plus-Delta provides a quick way to gather feedback at the end of an exercise or meeting. The questions are designed to encourage candid feedback by using “improvement” language rather than language that might be considered too negative for some participants. People share the pluses from the event—what went well and should be continued or taken further going forward—and the deltas, or what they would recommend changing for future meetings.

Here's how it works.

Set up... read more

Teams use the Polarity Map® technique in meetings to explore the benefits and problems with opposing factors, or poles, that play against each other when making a decision, especially when both alternatives have relatively equal validity. For example, teams may struggle with the need to innovate vs the need to manage risk, or a focus on fresh voices vs a reliance on experience. During the meeting, the facilitator draws a two-by-two grid and places the "poles" at the sides. In the top...

read more

A Powerful Starting Question is a question or set of questions that help a group visualize their answers. The questions fill a blank slate in each person’s mind with a detailed picture. The powerful starting question is a great example of the appropriate use of framing to increase meeting productivity.

A PDPC is used to understand the steps related to reaching a goal then find ways to increase the chances that the plan will work as desired. During the meeting, the team reviews the project plan, looking specifically at the tasks required along the way. For each, they discuss things that could go wrong and develop countermeasures to prevent those problems from occurring.

Progressive questioning is a technique for fully exploring a topic by asking a series of related questions. There are several progressive questioning techniques designed to fit different situations.

Using 5 Whys helps a group find the root cause of a problem. When conducting discovery for a new product or project, interviewers will ask questions... read more


RAID stands for Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies. Teams may conduct a RAID analysis as part of their project planning meeting, then produce a RAID board which they can review, update, and revisit during project status meetings.

The Rational Decision-Making Model describes the steps a group would take when making a logical decision. The steps are designed to reduce the impact of biases, logical fallacies, and knee-jerk reactions on the decision to increase decision quality. These steps include:

Identifying a problem or opportunity Gathering information Analyzing the situation Developing options Evaluating alternatives Selecting a preferred alternative Acting on the decision

Many decision-making meetings use...

read more

The real-time agenda is a process for co-creating, prioritizing and discussing a list of topics in real time.

A real-time agenda isn’t a type of meeting. It’s a technique that you can use in many different types of meetings. We consider this one of the master techniques, because it’s useful, extremely adaptable, widely loved, and it pops up all the time. You’ll find variations of real-time agendas by many names: examples include Lean CoffeeTM, IDS, Open Space, and Unconference. You’...

read more

Reverse Brainstorming is a technique that builds on our natural ability to more easily see problems than solutions. Instead of asking a group to brainstorm ideas that would work, the group brainstorms all the ways that they could cause a plan to fail. This technique is used because it can be easier to criticize and see gaps in a plan than to outline a strategy for success. Once the group has this list, they can look at these specific examples and come up with ways to achieve the opposite...

read more

Ritual dissent is a workshop technique designed to overcome taboos against publicly critiquing ideas. The goal is for the presenter to hear candid, useful feedback.

During a workshop, a presenter shares their idea with a group that listens silently throughout the presentation. Dialogue or questions are not allowed. Then, the presenter turns his or her back to the group, symbolizing having "left the room" and listens in while the group discusses either what they didn't like (ritual...

read more

Robert's Rules of Order is the most widely-used manual of parliamentary procedure in America. It governs the meetings of a diverse range of organizations—including church groups, county commissions, homeowners associations, nonprofit associations, professional societies, school boards, and trade unions—that have adopted it as their parliamentary authority.

ROTI stands for Return on Time Invested. This is a quick and easy method to gauge whether participants feel that the time they spent in a meeting was worthwhile. The meeting leader asks everyone to rate the meeting from a 0 to 5, with 0 meaning it was a complete waste of time and 5 signifying an excellent use of time. Anyone who rates the meeting a 3 or lower is then invited to share what one thing could have been done differently that would have increased their rating by one point. read more

The term Round Robin is used to refer to two distinct techniques.

For some, a "round robin" is just another name for a go around.

For others, a round robin is a specialized brainwriting technique in which everyone takes a turn generating and developing ideas in a group. The process relies on each team member building off previous contributions by adding clarifications, challenges, and improving upon the...

read more


SCAMPER is a creative thinking and problem-solving technique that guides groups to evaluate an idea by exploring similar or related ideas. SCAMPER stands for:

Substitute: looking at what can be switched out in the current idea Combine: asking how steps in the process or disparate elements could merge Adapt: how do tweak the idea to get a better result or work in a new context Modify: asking what could be possible with major changes Put to another use: asking what... read more

Self-portrait introductions are an icebreaker/opener technique used in workshops. This technique works for any workshop where the group will need to collaboratively engage, including workshops where all the participants regularly work together and "know" each other. The goal is to get everyone engaged in a safe, friendly way and establish a supportive environment for the work at hand.

How It Works Everyone draws themselves on a sticky note in no more than 60 seconds. The drawing should... read more

You may recognize the sentence completion technique from market research studies and standardized academic tests. It works by providing the first part of a sentence, then asking people to complete the sentence in their own words. In a meeting, this technique can also be used as a sense-making or idea generation technique. After reflecting on the beginning phrase, each person would then take a moment to complete the sentence silently. Going around the room, the group would then take turns...

read more

A silent brainstorm is a technique for generating ideas while everyone remains quiet. This allows participants to think without distractions or influence from other members of the group, and helps combat problems with groupthink and social loafing common to traditional brainstorming sessions.

Silent Meetings

The simple consensus workshop method includes four steps.

A group brainstorms ideas or responses, which are shared one at a time and posted to a shared space. The group clusters the ideas by related themes or concepts. The group names each of the clusters. The group reflects on what they now see.

This technique works in many situations to help create a shared understanding of a space and build consensus around priorities. It is very similar to the KJ...

read more

Six Serving Men is a team exercise that examines an issue from twelve different viewpoints. It is based on the words of the poem by Rudyard Kipling:

I keep six honest serving men, they taught me all I knew.
Their names are What and Why and When
and How and Where and Who.

To use this technique in a meeting, provide 12 areas for answering questions related to the central topic and ask meeting participants to provide answers to each question. For example, if the...

read more

The SOAR analysis technique is used by teams as part of the planning process. SOAR stands for Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results. SOAR was developed by Appreciative Inquiry practitioners looking for an alternative to the traditional SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).

To run a SOAR analysis, ask teams to brainstorm ideas in each of the four categories. Responses are typically posted to a 2x2 matrix then discussed.

A meeting where everyone stands up rather than sits down is called a standing meeting. Standing is meant to help keep the meeting short, as no one gets too comfortable. Daily Huddles are often conducted as standing meetings.

Agile practitioners hold a Stand-Up every day at the same time. The meeting purpose to bring everyone up to date on information that is necessary for coordination. Each team member gives an update on the work they've completed, what they plan to do next, and any...

read more

Stop, Start, Continue is an exercise used to evaluate a group's activities and make decisions about which ones to prioritize going forward. Steps include:

Step 1: Setup
Create three blank lists labeled Start, Stop, and Continue. Start: Brand new initiatives or activities Stop: things the group is currently doing that aren't delivering value or that no longer align with the current priorities. Continue: things that are working and should be carried forward on the new plan.... read more

The Stinky Fish technique was developed by Åsa Silfverberg at Hyper Island as way to unleash group collaboration. The purpose of the technique is to surface hidden (stinky!) issues that may block true collaboration by putting them on the table as early in the collaboration process as practically possible. The group learns to open up and communicate with increased trust in one another, reduce pretense, and generally become more receptive to new...

read more

A meeting storyboard is a document containing a multi-column table used by organizers and facilitators to design the content flow for a meeting. The left column lists the key messages. The right column includes the slides or other visuals to be shown for each message. Additional columns can be added to capture timing or other details.

The Strategic War Room, contributed by Krister Forsberg, provides a way for leadership teams to come to a common understanding of insights about the organization. When complete, leaders get a comprehensive view (both mentally and pictorially) of the organization's strategies, goals, key stakeholders and delivery milestones. The Strategic War Room is metaphorical; a virtual "room" built by the leadership team over the course of several facilitated strategic workshops. When complete, the...

read more

A straw poll is an ad-hoc or unofficial vote. Straw polls can be useful in meetings to quickly determine consensus. For example, if a conversation runs long, the leader may call a straw poll asking the group if most of them already agree, or if they should continue the discussion. Straw polls work by judging majority opinion using a quick show of hands or online yes/no vote.

Structured Go Around

A swim lane diagram is a type of flowchart. The diagram usually shows a process, and steps are divided into categories to distinguish which departments or employees are responsible for a certain set of actions. Swimlanes may be displayed either horizontally or vertically.

A SWOT Analysis is an analysis of a group's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis may be conducted as part of an Environmental Scan in preparation for strategic planning. Strengths and weaknesses are usually internal, while opportunities and threats concern factors outside of your organization. The SWOT analysis includes steps for brainstorming, grouping, and prioritizing ideas in each category.


Team-building activities include group activities and exercises designed to help people get to know one another and build trust. Many longer workshops and multi-day planning sessions begin with short team-building activities.

An analogy is a comparison that points out the similarity between the like features of two different things. The Analogies and Metaphors technique in meetings helps participants clarify their understanding of an issue. This technique is especially helpful when information is difficult to understand.

During the meeting, the leader asks the group to think of several analogies for the current problem or situation. For example, if the group is trying to start an online community but they...

read more

Think, Pair, Share

See: 1-2-All

Teams may create a timeline of events together in a meeting as a sense-making exercise that helps everyone understand both what happened to lead to the current situation, learn aspects of the situation that may have been known only by some group members, and see how other people remember each event. To create a timeline, the facilitator adds one or two key events on a horizontal line. For example, they may add a project start date at one end and the current date at the other. Then,...

read more

There are multiple meeting and thinking techniques called TRIZ.

Liberating Structures describes TRIZ as meeting exercise designed to help groups identify counterproductive things they may be doing and find ways to stop (let go) the unhelpful activities. TRIZ operates on the same underlying principles of a Pre-Mortem and Reverse Brainstorming, all of which make it possible for a group to bring up uncomfortable but important negative challenges in their work in a fun, supportive...

read more


Virtual icebreakers are team-building exercises conducted during a meeting with attendees that are not in the same location. They help your team make a human connection, and can be especially useful when you run online meetings with people who are located in different geographical areas.

The vote-discuss-revote technique helps a group understand differences and discuss them to achieve consensus. Unlike single-round voting, this technique gives everyone an opportunity to advocate for an option they feel strongly about, and for others to change their mind after learning more from others.

At the start of the vote-discuss-revote technique, the group very briefly discusses the options then casts votes for their preferred option. If the group votes unanimously on this first...

read more


A weather report is a way to run meeting check-ins and check-outs developed by Diana Larsen for teams who meet on weekly basis.

During the check-in, each person gives their weather report for the previous week’s work.

Check-in Example

Welcome! Let’s start with a weather report for last week. We’ll go around the room, and when it’s your turn, share what the weather was like for your work this past week and why....

read more

Who, What and When are the three key questions answered when documenting an action item or task in a meeting. Every action item should clearly state What needs to be done, Who needs to do it, and When it should be done. Every task management and productivity tool will capture this information for tasks, often labeling the information the Assigned Owner, Task Description, and Due Date.

World Cafe is a large group discussion technique designed to encourage the kind of intimate small group discussions one might have at a cafe on a selected topic. Participants sit at small tables with 5 or fewer other people. After a brief introduction, the group discusses a series of questions at their table. The discussion period for each question is timed, and people are encouraged to move to new tables between each discussion round. At the end of the small group discussion rounds,...

read more

The Write, Read, Discuss technique was popularized by Amazon as a way to replace PowerPoint presentations in meetings.a Here's what it looks like:

Written Briefings: Provide detailed written reports and proposals before the meeting. Silent Reading: Give everyone a few silent minutes to read the briefings and take notes during the meeting. Structured Dialogue: Everyone gets an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.

Written Brainstorming