Energizer: Appreciation Awards

Appreciation Awards are a great way for participants to celebrate and openly recognize each other.


Have participants mentally select someone they'd like to call out for a particular act or attribute. Then, they can either make a trophy (by hocking together whatever they can find around the room) or draw up a certificate of appreciation. 

Facilitate an awards ceremony, where participants say a few words of appreciation then present one another with their trophy or certificate.  

Have materials for trophies handy and graphic elements for certificates visible. Have a few blank certificates on hand to fill out and present in case anyone gets overlooked.  

Appreciation Awards are often the highlight of the event. 


One way to avoid anyone getting overlooked is to prepopulate awards with all the participants’ names and posting them for others to select from. 

Journey Maps

Mapping the customer 's journey is a popular design thinking method. Journey maps show the steps that a customer goes through as they interact with a product or service from start to end. As a graphic facilitation activity, journey maps are great ways to build empathy, achieve a beginner's mindset, identify opportunities, and harvest the knowledge of the group. They are a great way to help see other sides of the beachball. There are plenty of journey map templates available, but all you really need to design a journey map are stickies and markers.

A journey map has five major elements: 

  • Major steps: the six to ten categorical steps a customer takes as she interacts with a product or service,
  • Sub steps: six or less parts of each major step,
  • Pain points: moments of customer dissatisfaction in the journey,
  • Pleasure points: moments of customer satisfaction in the journey, and
  • Moments of truth: the three or fewer make-or-break sub steps that can color how a customer sees the entire journey.

Start by showing an example of a journey map. My favorite example is going out to eat.

Example of a journey map. Major steps at the top, sub steps below. Pain points, pleasure points, and moments of truth are tagged throughout. 

Example of a journey map. Major steps at the top, sub steps below. Pain points, pleasure points, and moments of truth are tagged throughout. 

Then, in groups of four to six, have participants practice designing a journey map of their own from a shared experience. Air travel is a good experience to bring up pains and pleasures.

Coach participants to not capture every possible variation of what a customer MIGHT do, but rather what they MOST LIKELY would do. For example, although it's possible that someone MIGHT book a flight through a travel agent, it's MOST LIKELY they would book online, so participants should choose online booking as a step. A journey map is not a comprehensive process diagram.

After participants are comfortable creating a journey map from a shared experience, they are ready to design a journey map relevant to their own business. The real richness of a journey map occurs as participants discover insights from examining the steps from the customer's perspective. 

As they work, there will be a temptation to include "behind the curtain" processes, that is, the parts of the process that are invisible to the participant. In the case of air travel, behind the curtain processes are air traffic control, or aircraft maintenance, or the database that holds your personal information as a traveler. Don't include behind the curtain process. Although participants may spend their entire careers thinking about these processes, the purpose of a journey map is to experience the journey from the customer's perspective. If participants really can't let go of behind the curtain processes, draw a line below the lowest sub step, have them capture the behind the curtain process at a high level below that line, then move on. 

A journey map is a great starting point for process improvement. In addition to resolving pain points, maximize pleasure points, and make sure that moments of truth don't sour the whole experience. In addition to identifying opportunities, a good follow up is to design a to-be journey map that improves upon the as-is journey map.

I first saw journey mapping from Jeneanne Rae of Motiv Strategies at a DC:DT meetup in January 2016. Since then, I've seen journey mapping methods shared by the LUMA Institute, Ideo, and at design studios around the world. 

Energizer: Graphic Jam

A Graphic Jam is a great Energizer that has the tremendous added benefit of building participants' visual literacy. 


Graphic Jam with the Chesapeake Organizational Development Network (CBODN), March 22, 2017.

Have each participant hang a sheet of flipchart around the room, then write a word at the top. The word should be something relevant to the event or their organization. For example, for a strategic planning offsite, look for words like "Objectives," "Values," and "Vision." Words should be abstract concepts, not concrete objects.

Start a timer. Participants have one minute to draw a simple picture that represents their word. Then, they rotate on to their neighbor's flipchart and have one minute to draw the new word on their neighbor's flipchart. No redrawing allowed: if someone's already drawn a bridge to represent "Connection," no one else can draw a bridge on that chart. Read the energy of the group to know when to end the activity, but generally, 10-15 minutes with just as many rotations is a good timeframe for most groups.* 

By drawing the words, participants will develop their mental models of the concepts beneath them. They'll also have dented their own armor around performance anxiety and judgment apprehension. 


It's possible that two or more people could choose the same word. Here's two ways around that. 

1. Have them create and select from a common marketplace of words. (For more on the marketplace, check out the methods behind Open Space Technology by Harrison Owen.) 

2. Have participants call out their words, one at a time, as soon as they think of them to "reserve" their word. There's an incentive to choose quickly, so someone else doesn't take your preferred word.

If possible, try to redraw the participants' drawings over the course of the day in your own graphic chart. You'll take advantage of the strong mental models they're building around that concept.

The earliest mention of the Graphic Jam I could find is in the book "Graphic Facilitation" by the Grove Consultants. https://grovetools-inc.com/collections/books/products/graphic-facilitation-w-dvd

*The longest graphic jam I ever saw was facilitated by Stephanie Brown for the DC:GF Meetup group. It lasted nearly two hours... and we could've kept going! 


Principle: Practice Where It's Safe

The first time I went scuba diving, a stingray* got between me and my oxygen hose and popped my regulator out of my mouth about 25 feet below the surface of the water. It sounds scary, but all I did was reach my arm back, sweep forward to catch my regulator, put it back in my mouth, and push a button to clear the water out. I didn't even have to think about it. It was muscle memory, because I'd practiced it dozens of times on dry land. 

The principle of Practice Where It's Safe is a way to give participants permission to try using the tools and techniques they're learning in the safety of the facilitation, before they go back to the real world. It's a chance to try something out, fail safely, and learn so that when they need it, it's muscle memory. 

*Sharks are easier to draw than stingrays. But it was a stingray:


Opener: World Café

The World Café is one of the best Opening methods for harvesting ideas and bringing diverse stakeholders together. More structured than Open Space, the World Café directs the power of simultaneous diverse group discussions towards set questions. Participants break into small groups and have a chance to answer the questions and build on the ideas of others by rotating from one question to the next. A table host/scribe stays behind to orient the next group as to what the preceding groups discussed. After the rotations are complete, the ideas are reported back to the plenary. 

Prepare for a World Café by working with the client to develop a list of open-ended questions you'd like participants to answer. Questions can be two-parters, such as, "Who are the key stakeholders" and "What do we believe their greatest needs are?" Avoid closed-ended questions, which can be answered with a one-word response.

The time to allot to the World Café is governed by the number of questions. Give participants about five minutes to discuss each question. For example, for four questions (one on each of four tables), a full rotation would require 20 minutes to discuss plus a little time to physically move from one table to the next. You may choose to allot an additional five minutes for participants to return to their original table and hear from the table host/scribe what everyone else added. 

Ideally, have four to six participants at each table. For large groups of 30 participants or more, consider running two simultaneous World Café cycles in the same space. Regardless, make sure you clearly understand the rotation cycle of the World Café. It may be helpful to map out the cycle of questions, tables, participants, and time intervals visually.  

Set up the room with a series of small tables, ideally hightop cocktail rounds, one table per each question. Place a sheet of flipchart paper on each table, or if possible, cut a piece of large chart paper to fit the size and shape of the table. Write one question in the center of each paper. Provide markers at each table for the table host/scribe to capture ideas from the participants.

Introduce the World Café by sharing the instructions below:

The flow of a World Café follows these instructions. 

The flow of a World Café follows these instructions. 

Answer any questions, then start the clock. After five minutes, call time, ask participants to wrap up any final thoughts, and move on to the next table. Allow about a minute for movement. Repeat until participants have had a chance to add their ideas to each question. Again, you may choose to also give participants time to return to their original question and orient around how others have added to their initial ideas. 

Each table should brief out a summary of the ideas against their questions. This could be the table host/scribe, but doesn't have to be. Graphic record highlights of each summary brief out. 

Make the completed paper tablecloths available to the participants to refer back to. 

The World Café comes from Juanita Brown and David Isaacs. For more on the World Café, see this Wikipedia article or Learning Map No.2: World Café by Neuland

Persona Profiles

Persona Profile EXAMPLE.jpg

Persona profiles come from user experience, human-centered design, and design thinking. They put a name and a face on stakeholder groups. They are fictionalized characterizations to help participants better empathize and understand the stakeholder groups. A good persona profile template looks like a dossier: it has a name, the customer group they belong to, likes, dislikes, career goals, frustrations, feelings towards your organization, needs that your organization can help provide for, preferred communications channels, and a memorable quote.

A great way to facilitate developing persona profiles is to use open space. As a large group, brainstorm a list of stakeholder groups, then select the top stakeholder groups to explore in more detail. Each top stakeholder group gets its own persona profile template. From there, participants are free to work on the persona or personas they have the most energy around. Don't dictate who has to develop which profile. And, if someone wants to leave a persona midway and join development of another, that's OK. The principles of open space say, whoever shows up are the right people, whatever conversations are had are the right ones to have, and whenever a conversation starts and ends is the right time for it to start and end. And there's one law: the law of two feet. That means, if a conversation isn't working for you, you can leave it and join another. 

Share a completed mock-up example so participants better understand what's expected. Give participants about an hour to develop the persona profiles. Then, invite participants to share the persona profiles they'd developed back to the large group. Graphic record highlights from that debrief.

I first saw persona profiles used by Dean Meyers in September 2013.

Here's a link to a free persona profile template.

Starter: Morning Percolations

Morning Percolations comes from Elise Yanker of Collaborative Consulting Inc. It's a great framing activity that gives participants time and space to empty their mental backpacks and be fully present and engaged for the day.  

Morning Percolations typically begin the morning of the second day of a multi-day event and repeat every following morning. You might begin by saying, "We had some good conversations yesterday. Last night and this morning, you may have been thinking about what we talked about. Let's begin today with an open conversation. Please share anything that's on your mind relevant to what you heard yesterday. What's percolating up for you?"

Morning Percolations only need a timebox (typically 30 - 45 minutes) and good open-ended questions. Resist the urge to answer questions or resolve doubts or concerns. Encourage participants to likewise simply listen to each other. 

You don't have to graphic record Morning Percolations, but it adds to the experience by acknowledging what participants share. Use a loose layout, like a word cloud, that supports the free-form nature of the conversation.  


Think With Ink: Graphic Facilitation Workshop, April 11-13 2017, Chantilly, VA

I'm very pleased to announce the launch of Think With Ink, Lizard Brain Solutions' 3-day flagship graphic facilitation training. Limited to 16 learners, this is an intensive workshop that covers the essentials of using visuals to facilitate a group process. The workshop covers three areas:

1.     Technique: Markers, paper handling, color use, lettering, drawing, forms, levels of information, listening for synthesis.

2.     Models, Methods, and Tools: visual energizers and icebreakers, meeting principles and ground rules, and visual tools for brainstorming ideas, comparing ideas, and collaboratively deciding the way forward.

3.     Experiential Practice: hands-on exercises with an experienced graphic facilitator.

This workshop is meant for:

  • The facilitator who wants to build a repertoire of visual tools,
  • The graphic recorder or sketchnoter who wants to expand into graphic facilitation,
  • The team member who wants to bring visual, participatory methods to the team,
  • The consultant who wants to help clients think through problems in a visual manner, or
  • The visual thinker, the whiteboard salesman, the data visualizer, or anyone that sits in the intersection of visuals and helping others solve problems.

You will receive: 

  • Book, Graphic Facilitation (includes DVD)
  • Book, Fundamentals of Graphic Language
  • Set of 8 Charters® Markers
  • Roll of twenty-five-yard paper
  • 5 pads of large yellow sticky notes

This hands-on, practice-driven workshop will give you everything you need to graphically facilitate groups through the toughest challenges.

To register and learn more, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/think-with-ink-graphic-facilitation-workshop-tickets-32108516437

Energizer: Build a Bridge

Build a Bridge comes from Interaction Associates. It's an energizer and team building activity that requires no special materials. It can teach the same lessons of prototyping and integration as the Marshmallow Challenge, but can be done on the fly without the need to bring marshmallows and spaghetti with you. Build a Bridge also brings awareness to group dynamics and interpersonal conflicts against a model of Results, Process, and Relationships.

The object is to use paper and tape to build a free-standing, four-foot long, two-foot tall bridge capable of supporting the weight of a rolling ball of paper. Break participants into groups, and give them 10 min to plan and 8 minutes to build. Tell them that as they plan, they must come to consensus on a design. After the groups have built their bridges, test them with a rolling ball of tape and paper. Then, ask open ended questions to draw people out and help them listen for a 10 minute debrief of the activity.

Success in results means the bridge was able to support the weight of the rolling ball. Success in process means that the approach and design was achieved by drawing on the best ideas of all the participants. Success in relationships means that there was full participation, mutual understanding, and inclusive decisions. Ask the groups how they did in each of these three areas.

Build a Bridge can quickly recreate powerful group dynamics and provide participants with an objective lens to judge their own strengths and weaknesses. Most groups make results their top priority, followed by process, then relationships. This exercise highlights the need to give all three equal importance. The three-part model of results, relationships, and process is a good principle to refer back to over the course of your event.

"How Do You Keep Meetings Moving?"

Participants will often ask about how they can keep their own meetings going after the facilitator has left. There are great resources out there. I usually recommend Sam Kaner's "Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision Making," "How to Make Meetings Work" by Michael Doyle and David Straus, and "How to Make Collaboration Work" by David Straus. But if someone just wants a quick fix, I share this story from "Switch" by Chip and Dan Heath.

Excerpt from “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard”

By Chip Heath and Dan Heath

General William "Gus" Pagonis led the logistics operation for the Gulf War under President George H. W. Bush. Pagonis was responsible for moving 550,000 troops halfway around the world, along with all of their equipment. His team made the arrangements to serve 122 million meals, pump 1.3 billion gallons of fuel, and deliver 32,000 tons of mail. Even a Wal-Mart executive would get spooked thinking about this.
Needless to say, clear and efficient communication was essential. Every morning, General Pagonis held a meeting that started at 8 a.m. and ended at 8:30. No great innovation there, but Pagonis made two changes to the routine. First, he allowed anyone to attend (and he required that at least one representative from each functional group be present). That way, he could ensure a free and open exchange of information across the organization. Second, he required everyone to stand up during the whole meeting.
Here's Pagonis on the benefits of the stand-up meeting:
"Early on, I discovered that making people stand up keeps the ball moving at a quicker pace. People speak their piece and then quickly yield the floor to the next person. On the rare occasion that someone starts to get long-winded or wax philosophic, an unmistakable kind of body language begins to sweep through the crowd. People shift from foot to foot, fidget, look at their watches - and pretty quickly, the conversation comes back into focus .... I can't recall the last time I had to crack the whip. The peer group has great power."
Pagonis was consciously creating a habit. Any meeting format he chose would have quickly become habitual. It would have been just as easy for him to enshrine a two-hour, seated blabfest. What's exciting here is not the existence of the habit, but rather the insight that the habit should serve the mission. When you've got 550,000 troops to relocate, you need focus and clarity and efficiency. A stand-up meeting won't guarantee any of that, but it will help, and it's "free"- it's not any harder to create than the blabfest would have been. (Similar stand-up meetings are used in Agile programming projects in Silicon Valley, which place a premium on quick collaboration.)

Principle: The Marathon

A group process is like a marathon. 

At the beginning, there's anticipation, excitement, energy, and a little fear. In the middle, there's exhaustion, fatigue, and doubt. Some may wonder how they'll ever make it to the end. At the finish, there's exhilaration and a sense of accomplishment.

People enter into a group process at different places. At a facilitated meeting, some participants may have already been dealing with the subject for weeks, while for others, it's the first time they're hearing about it. Those who have been a part of the process for sometime may have forgotten the fear and pain from earlier. The principle of the marathon reminds participants that others may need time to process what they're now a part of.

I first heard the principle of the marathon from Nancy Reuscher.

Design Pattern: Room as Agenda

Room as Agenda

Room as Agenda

Following the logical thread of a group process isn't easy. It's tough for participants to see how one facilitated activity will lead to another, and how the whole event will eventually get them where they want to be. Agendas alone fall short, especially if there are multiple, distinct objectives.

One way to help the group see the process is to immerse them in it. Arrange the templates, charts, chairs, and tables around the room so that the activities flow from one chart to the next, following the agenda. Whether the spaces are visual templates, blank charts for graphic recording, or stations for group or individual activities, the purpose is to help the group visualize how the day will unfold sequentially. The room becomes an assembly line for ideas. 

Introduce the process just like you would walk through an agenda: walk through the room, giving a light touch to each activity. Give a timeframe for each activity. Don't forget to mention where lunch, breaks, and other invisibles will fit in. Emphasize the logic of how ideas will flow from one activity to the next.

Using the room as the agenda helps big picture people see how it all fits together. It reassures detail people and process people that time, thought, and planning have gone into this. And it surfaces any challenges to the process early, so that participants can empty their backpacks and be more fully engaged. 

Click to view the room above interactively and in 360: http://360.io/BVBsZN

I've watched many graphic facilitators use this method. It's most directly inspired by the Grove Consultants' design pattern of Rooms as Memory Theaters.

Kinetic Sculpture

I've always been drawn to new and different ways that groups can collaborate to build something that can help them better understand their organization and culture, whether it's kinesthetic modeling or abstract painting. Along those lines, I'd like to introduce you to Kevin Reese, an innovative artist with something exciting to offer. Kevin is a "collaborative artist" who works with arts centers, schools, and whole communities throughout the country to create “moving” works of art — high flying, colorful mobiles. In the past 15 years, Kevin's SchoolSculptures has created over 170 installations in 30 states.

This summer, he was the artist in residence at the IFVP conference and, with the participants, created a stunning mobile during the conference. 

From the moment he stepped up to introduce the concept to the final reveal and every creative-energy-infused moment in between, his passion and artistry truly created the sense of community we were hoping to drive.

He is now launching TeamSculptures to offer a corporate team-building experience like no other-- a week-long residency where Kevin becomes your corporate artist-in-residence.

He works with teams to: 
- Design and create a large-scale mobile that represents the goals and aspirations of your company.
- Install the mobile in your lobby, lunchroom, or conference room for daily inspiration.

Strengthen your team potential:
- Discover your visioning strengths through a new medium.
- Tackle novel challenges, rather than solve routine problems.
- Imagine multiple possibilities as you work toward a common goal.
- Find inspiration and motivation from an artist of singular passion and unique skill.

Kevin is looking for beta sites to test and develop his residency this spring. His fee will be significantly discounted, so get in on the ground floor of what will no doubt be a popular national offering. If you're interested, Kevin will personally visit your company to discuss how this residency can work for you.

Check out his website: www.teamsculptures.com. You can also contact him directly at SchoolSculptures@aol.com.

All the best,

Energizer: Changing Perspectives

Here's one that I'd forgotten about until seeing it again last week from a (non-visual) facilitator. It's a super-fast energizer that underscores the importance of perspective.

Ask participants to stand and point at the ceiling with their hands above their heads. Ask them to begin tracing a circle in a clockwise direction. Slowly, have them move their hands downwards below eye level. Keep the circle going. The effect is that the direction of the circle has changed to counter-clockwise. In fact, the direction of the circle hasn't changed: what's changed one's the perspective on the circle. 

This is a quick way to inject a little energy and remind participants of the Principle of the Beachball. 

Principle: The Beachball

The principle of the beachball is one of the most powerful principles on perspective taking that you can bring into a facilitation.

Here's a script to introduce the Principle of the Beachball:

"Imagine that there was a beachball in the center of the room. Based on my perspective, my senses, my experience, my expertise, everything that I am is telling me that this beachball is red. So what’s the first thing that someone on the other side of the room thinks when they hear me say that? That I’m wrong! How could that possibly be? From their perspective, the beachball is clearly blue.
"The principle of the beachball tells us to hold the space for all perspectives. No one can see an entire beachball from one perspective. It’s impossible. What we’re going to be working on today will be a lot more ambiguous than a beachball. No one will have the one perfect perspective. There’s no such thing. Trust in your colleagues, that when they share what they share, they’re giving you a glimpse of their perspective. And challenge yourself to say, “How might ALL these perspectives be true?” By bringing in all perspectives, we get a clearer picture of the whole."

I’ve heard the principle of the beachball used by many facilitators, including Elise Yanker and Nancy Reuscher, so I’m not sure where it originally came from. I use it so often that I actually carry a little inflatable beachball with me to help make the point. The little beachball also serves as a pretty good talking stick. 

Principle of the Beachball

Principle of the Beachball

Energizer: The Rope Puller / Strippen Zieher

The Rope Puller (or Strippen Zieher) is one of the best ways to energize a group. It's fun, challenging, gives the group something they can celebrate, and best of all, it quickly recreates the dynamics participants can experience while part of a group process. There are many uses for the Rope Puller as explained in the instructions (including using chalk, tracing patterns, drawing pictures, and following a track.) Here's my favorite use of the Rope Puller to mirror back to the group the emotions they may be experiencing in the larger process.

Participants use the Rope Puller for group writing.

Participants use the Rope Puller for group writing.


Prepare by taping a sheet of flipchart paper down on a small table. Make sure there's plenty of standing space around the table for your participants.  Draw three parallel lines along the length of the paper: solid, dotted, solid. Make any necessary allowances for participants with disabilities. Set up the Rope Puller with a No. One Neuland marker velcroed to the central peg and nylon cords looped through the disc's ten holes. Select a word for the group to write that's clearly relevant to them. For example, "Baltimore"  for the Baltimore City Council, or "Chemistry" for the American Chemical Society. The word should be about ten letters long. 

Here's a script to introduce the Rope Puller:

"We're going to take a minute and do a quick energizer, to shed light on the dynamics that you might experience as you take part in the group process going forward. Has anyone ever been done one of those creative, think-outside-the-box puzzles? This isn't one of those. No grabbing the marker in the middle of the disc! You can only touch the Rope Puller by hooking your index finger through the loop at the end of the string. Go ahead and find a free loop and hook it with your finger now. Everyone got one?"
"OK, now on to the task. Remember back in grade school, when you were learning to write, and you had those big sheets of paper with the solid and dotted lines? The paper on the table is one of those sheets. Your task, as a group, is to write the word '_____.' Go!"

Give no other instruction. Get out of their way. Make as many observations as you can that parallel a group process. What do they do first? Did they orient to where the top of the page is? Did they choose capitals or lower case? Did a natural leader emerge? Did they celebrate? At what point? What was communication like at beginning? The middle? The end? Was everyone actively engaged? Did anyone resist the process? Take notes for yourself, observing as much as a possible.

When the group finishes, ask them open-ended questions about the process, for example:

  • How was that?
  • What did you notice about the process?
  • What did you notice other people were doing?
  • What was going on at the very beginning? What happened? What emotions were you feeling? 
  • What happened in the middle? How did it feel?
  • How about the end? How did that feel?

Add your own observations where appropriate, but always follow up with a question after your own observation: Who else noticed that? What does that mean for a group? How do you see that show up in your day-to-day work? How could it show up today?

Close the energizer by drawing an analogy to the group process that participants are about to go through. Here's a script you could use:

"Just like the Rope Puller, at the beginning, there's uncertainty, lack of clarity of direction, doubt, and anxiety. You get through the beginning by being open to the process. At the middle, speed picks up. Intuition takes over. Less instruction is necessary. You get through by going with the flow and being sensitive to the push and pull of the people around you. At the end, the process closes. There's celebration. There's a sense of accomplishment. Doubt and anxiety are replaced with pride and relief. You get through it by honoring each other's efforts."
"At certain points in the group process we're about to go through, you'll experience the same emotions. At those times, it's important to remember that this is an intuitive process, and that further you get into it, the more comfortable it'll be."

Throughout the course of the day, point back to the resulting word chart as a check in: "What letter would you say you're on right now? What does it feel like?" 

As a model for group dynamics, the Rope Puller works well as a complement to the Principle of the Roller Coaster. 

Variation: +10 participants

Lately, I've experimented with using the Rope Puller with groups larger than the standard 10. So far, the largest group has been 32. To accommodate larger groups, make additional lengths of nylon cord with tied loops at both ends. Hand these additional lengths of cord out, one to each participant. Their first task is to make a "human network" by passing their cords through other loops, until everyone has a single loop. Not every length of of cord will be necessary. Ask the group to try to ensure that their are no runaway offshoots, where a branch splits significantly more times than any of the others. This is to ensure that the distribution is even, and everyone is relatively the same distance from the marker. Once the network is complete, proceed with the instructions as above.

The Rope Puller is available at Neuland.com.



Principle: Balcony and Dancefloor

The principle of the Balcony and the Dancefloor comes from Ron Heifetz.  

It's easy for participants to get tunnel vision on their perspectives, losing focus on what else is happening in the room. By introducing the principle of the Balcony and the Dancefloor, you (or anyone) can call a balcony moment to pause the conversation and shed light on the human behaviors.  

Draw this simple poster: 


Explain that the Dancefloor represents the content of the conversation we're having. It's WHAT we're talking about. The Balcony, by contrast, is a place from which to make objective observations about the human dynamics. It's HOW we're engaging with each other. 

Ask, "What are people noticing about what's happening in the room? What would you say the dynamic is? How are people showing up? What could we do to make this conversation more inclusive of others' views?" 

The Balcony and the Dancefloor is one of the best ways to keep emotions cool and minds open.  


Closer: Action Plans

One of the most basic takeaways from a facilitated session is an action plan. This can be as simple as a bulleted list on a flipchart synthesizing all the decisions from the event. For higher engagement and accountability, you can put recording the actions in the hands of the participants.

Here's two templates for participants to record actions:

In both cases, participants use the left side to brainstorm out their own goals. Then, they break  down those goals into actions and give themselves due dates for achieving the actions. Checking in with an assigned accountability partner or peer coach is often the first action.