Meeting Facilitation & Better Trainings

Fishbowl: "Worst Meeting Ever . . . "

Groups can love sharing stories of their worst meetings! Here participants get to act out the worst meeting ever, and then what a good meeting looks like. It's light and playful, and a great way to get into a discussion about how to make group meetings work well.

Meeting Facilitation: The No-Magic Method

Back by popular demand, Berit Lakey's "No Magic Method": guidelines that will go a long way toward helping your group to meet both joyfully and productively.

Step In: Step Out - using comfort zones

Now a kinesthetic way of getting into the concept of comfort zones: step in and step out. This tool can be placed early in a workshop as a way of concretizing the concept of comfort zones -- as a bonus, this tool is a way to both talk about comfort zones and simultaneously builds the container as people actually step outside of their comfort zones through personal self-disclosure.

Closing Circles

Looking for fresh ideas for your closing circles? Here are some of our favorites that we have used with different groups! E-mail us with new closing circle favorites.

Water Glasses Exercise

This activity we learned from Ouyporn Khuankeaw, a trainer in Thailand who most often works with village development workers, women leaders, monks and nuns, and NGO staff. She finds that popular education/experiential education is easier for participants to get the most out of if they understand that it is actually a different model from the prevailing teacher-centered model.

Maximize & Minimize Learning

A favorite tool! Maximize/Minimize Learning is a powerful tool to help participants take responsibility for their own learning and identify personal strategies for them to make the most of the training. Given that people have been taught not to take ownership of their own learning, this tool helps people take that ownership back.

Closed-Eye Group Process

Here's an alternative to lecturing about a topic when you want important information to be transmitted: have people find their own successful experience! This tool uses individual work, small groups and then large group to help the group access its own wisdom about a particular topic (you decide the topic based on the elicitive questions you use: fundraising, carrying out a successful protest, leading a group, overcoming a challenge).

Dynamicas / Games

What's a workshop without some games? Well.... anyways, here are some of our favorites gathered from training around the world.(also known as ice breakers, light and livelies)

Buddy System

If your workshop is going to invite people out of their comfort zones where real learning takes place, participants often need support to take risks. The buddy system is one support tool.


How to set up many simultaneous one-on-one interactions in your training group; great for skill-building, for applying a principle you've just taught, for community-building, or for raising individual awareness.

How to Lead Roleplays

A roleplay is an improvised dramatic enactment of a problem situation in order to find new and creative ways to respond. This may be done in preparation for an anticipated situation or for evaluating a past one.

Parallel Lines

A quick tool for skill-building and practice, where everyone is involved. It's an elegant role-play format, one of our favorites, known as parallel lines (sometimes referred to as "hassle lines").

People-Centered versus Curriculum-Centered Design

When putting together a workshop or meeting, there is much to consider. One consideration is the curriculum: does the content of each activity build on the previous in logical ways? Another is the people and their knowledge, situation, and preparation: does the design respond to the psychological needs of the participants in order to access the content?