“How you enter a space and how you leave a space is as important as what happens in the space.”
― Emily M. Axelrod
This page is a growing library of free resources that you can use for facilitating conversations or circles within your organizations or communities. My intention is to contribute to your work as facilitator, holder of space and community convenor with tools and strategies that I have tried and tested.
Check-in and Check out Exercises
These are activities that can help you get people to "land in the space". You can read more about "The Power of Check-ins" in this blog post.
Inclusion is the intention of the diversity welcome. It can be long or short. The more parts or aspects of what is present are named, the more the participants are likely to feel welcome in their diversity. It is a ritual, so don't be bothered by the repetitive phrasing. Take your time with it!
To read more: Training for Change
CHECK-IN: HOW ARE EWE FEELING TODAY?
A check-in is a type of meeting ritual that sets the scene. It establishes that the meeting has started and helps orientate people in the group. Check-in drives both self and collective awareness. Knowing where everyone’s mind is at, drives clarity. Checking-in shouldn’t take too long. As a rule of thumb, aim for five minutes tops for a meeting with 8 to 10 participants.
Thanks to Geitsj a Dutch goat page for this fun survey.
To read more on checking in: Check in and Check Out Questions
HOW ARE YOU FEELING? USE THE EMOTIONS WHEELS
Having the vocabulary on what we are feeling at a given moment is crucial for our emotional quotient. You can download the Human Systems Emotion Wheels Needs Wheel to help your participants articulate their emotions.
Why I love using these emotion wheels is because it helps articulate the intensity and gradience of emotions.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST PRECIOUS GIFT
Engaging your participants through doodling can be a fun and thought-provoking experience. I use PICCLES as a virtual engagement tool to ask participants a prompt such as
Click on the link to draw and join the fun!
WHAT WOULD YOUR OCCUPATION BE IF...
This is a very interesting prompt to ask to get to know each other better.
"What would your occupation be if you had followed your childhood dreams?"
You can have a round of sharing, and also deepen it with a question of "What got in the way of you following your childhood dreams?"
2 TRUTHS AND A LIE MAD TEA
This is a short variation of the Mad Tea Liberating Structure. You can read more about the Mad Tea (Chat) online at Learning Moments.
For this shortened variation, ask the participants to write 2 truths and a lie statements. Let them write their answers in the chat BUT not to press enter. Once the facilitator says "GO" then everyone presses enter.
Provide some time sharing the statements in a big group or in small groups. Letting people guess what the truth or lie statements are.
LEAVE YOUR CAMERA OPEN IF...
Prepare a series of questions that reflect the diversity of the group. Questions like- "Leave your camera open if... you have worked abroad; ate an exotic animal; grew up with more than 5 people at home."
Ask the participants to cover their camera if the description DOES NOT apply to them.
ACKNOWLEDGING THE FUTURE
Acknowledging the Future is as simple as saying a short statement at the start of meetings or events to recognise future generations and those who have yet to be born. It borrows from Australia’s Welcome to and Acknowledgement of Country, where the country’s colonial past is recognised and respects are paid to the Traditional Owners and ongoing custodians of the land, the Aboriginal peoples.
To read more: Long Term Tools
INTRODUCING WITH A MIHI: A MAORI PRACTICE
A mihi (or mihimihi) is an introduction which can take place at the beginning of a gathering or meeting. It is used to establish links with other people present and let people know who you are, and where you come from. Mihimihi offer a good opportunity for people to connect with each other, by sharing their whakapapa (genealogy)
A simple way of doing a mihimihi is to share:
The mountain I affiliate with is...
The river I affiliate with is...
The people I am part of...
The tribe I am part of is...
I am from...
My ancestors are (naming grandparents, parents and to some to as far back as you can name)
My name is...
MOMENT OF SILENCE/ MEDITATIVE MUSIC
A moment of silence is a great way to start or end a deep session. You can use a sound bowl or a chime and ask the participants to just listen and sit in silence as the sound reverberates. Once the sound is done, they can leave the online room/space.
You can also choose a meditative music to play such as this "OM CHAKRA" from Wakes- Ada and Nathan
CHECK-OUT: PASS A WISH
This check out prompt offers another layer to the usual "what is it that you are taking away from this session?" It was introduced by circle way facilitator, Melinda Varfi in one of the community circles.
As a check-oput, as each person to share their biggest take away from the session and to think of a wish they would like for themselves that they then pass on to someone else, until it completes the circle. For example:
"My biggest take away from this session is to trust my instincts. My wish for you Carla is that you would claim your space and share your voice."
Then Carla takes her turn and passes it on. Until the last person shares and passes the wish to the person who started the check out.
READY, SET, FREEZE
This is a great way to capture the moment with your community.
Do a screen shot of the group but before asking them to pose, give a prompt that they can act out.
For example: "eating a lemon" or "meeting your favorite artist in person".
Let them act it out, freeze and take the shot!
You can download this energy bar image and use it for your Jamboard check-in exercise.
The "One-word" check-out image can also be used for wrapping up the session and also harvesting their words in one graphic. Please note that you might want to use more slides when you have more participants.
Use the Praise Jars image for your Jamboard check out exercise.
In the image there are 3 different praise jars:
About yourself- praise that participants of the session give to themselves (can be based on insights, participation, and or presence)
About the session- praise that participants can share about what they got from the activities, the presentation or the circle experience.
About the facilitator- praise that the participants give to the person who held the circle, hosted the gathering or facilitated the session.
At the start of a session, you can take a pulse check on where people are at on a given topic, skill or idea that you are presenting.
You can use the Four Corners as a Jamboard exercise to make visible where people are at.
Reflection Tools & Exercises
These are activities that can help you deepen awareness, shift mindsets and stir change.
IN OR OUT
How might we promote visibility around opinions or perspectives in an online space?
Draw a circle on the floor or if doing digitally in a Google Slide, Miro, Mural or Jamboard. Ask the parti-cipants to jump inside the circle or if digitally, to add a sticky note with their name if they find themselves in or out of a particular prompt. You can use the prompt
"I am most likely to..." to get them in or out of the circle.
Example of questions are:
I am most likely to work in the healthcare field.
I am most likely to live abroad.
I am most likely to say yes if I understand the why.
You can use this slide to help you do a pulse check on where participants are at in a given topic or a given polarity. This is perfect to surface the stance participants have around a debate or to initiate the conversation around a specific theme.
You can grab the slide along with 80 other tools in Online Monster Manual: A treasure trove of online interactive and participatory tools in one place
EXPLORING THE DEEPER MEANING OF PURPOSE
For most of us, exploring our purpose is a challenging process. These series of prompts can help you reflect on what Purpose means for you and help you connect it to your lived experiences. We will be taking in a systemic and intergenerational lens on what PURPOSE means.
To read more on the prompts check it out here
I created this tool at a time that I was undergoing chemotherapy. It was intended to identify who I wanted to spend time, energy and attention to (in a period of my life that I had very little of it).
Use this tool to surface relationships and proximity of connections.
To download the worksheet, check it out in this blogpost on Making Our Connections Visible.
ECOCYCLE PLANNING FOR ENTREPRENEURS
This tool is one of the liberating structures that can help you identify opportunities and obstacles for progress. The use of the Ecocyle Planning was modified for a group of individuals exploring where they are at with their business (or personal life). The invitation is to put a sticky note with their names in the phase that they see themselves in. Give a few minutes of processing and sharing.
Second part is write in the sticky: what is it you need to feel safe, grounded and settled in that space?" Do another round of harvesting.
When that is done, invite the participants to close their eyes and envision where they want to be in their business 3 months from now (you can also use longer)
After a few minutes of envisioning, ask add another sticky note to where they envision themselves in after 3 months. Allow some time to share insights and also strenghts that have surfaced from this exploration.
You can download a synthesis of the Ecocycle Planning in this page.
POWER OF ONE WORD INTENTIONS
An INTENTION is a guiding principle on how you want to live, show up, make yourself be visible. It’s an aim, a purpose or an attitude that you commit to. They are representations of your core values, perspectives in life and aspirations.
This FREE 6-page workbook can guide you in tuning in to yourself and connecting with a one-word intention that can guide you in your daily life.
THE 8 COMMITMENTS OF LEGACY LEADERS
How are you living and leading with your legacy?
Living and leading a legacy requires commitment to one's self, to one's ideals and to one's hopes for the future.
It requires weaving into our daily lives practices, mindsets and intentions to keep us in alignment to the legacy we want to live & lead.
This FREE WORKBOOK is intended to introduce you to the 8-Commitments of Legacy Leaders and to help you identify the commitments to strengthen and amplify in your daily life.
EXPLORING POSSIBILITIES TOGETHER: THE DESIRABLE DREAM
The Moonshot is a tool that helps to re-imagine what is possible. Moonshot according to Oxford Dictionary is" An extremely ambitious and innovative project."
In doing the Moonshot tool, the
question to ask first is "what does the community want to leave behind?". This provides a framing for what are the parts of the current status quo that stakeholders want to stay away from. This also provides a great framing for the next question which is "what is
the shared dream?". Allow as much
time as possible for this question.
Encourage stakeholders to be expan-sive and not to constrain themselves and their imagination.
What fascinates me the most in this
tool are the questions "what are the
forces working against the communi-ty?" and "what happens if the com-munity fail in its mission?"
You can read more and download this tool here