Does your society or association convene regular members’ meetings for which you’re constantly seeking ways to engage them as the organizer? Here are four simple methods you can use to engage your group, drawn from a collection of activities known as Liberating Structures.

Liberating Structures are a set of facilitation techniques designed to empower groups by enabling everyone to contribute and shape the conversation, fostering inclusive and creative collaboration. Put simply, Liberating Structures can help you encourage more participation in your meetings, and you don’t have to think of yourself as a ‘facilitator’ to use them!

Here are four of our favourite LS activities you could try. Each title is linked through to the Liberating Structures site where you can find more detailed instructions. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions or download our free Introduction to Liberating Structures resource to learn more.

1-2-4-All

In this activity, you invite everyone to successively think alone, work in pairs, combine into groups of four, and then debrief with the whole group. It only takes 12 minutes! Run it twice in a row if you want people to think more deeply about a topic or chat with another set of people.

Impromptu Networking

In this activity, you invite the group to gather into pairs and have quick conversations for 4 minutes each about two prompting questions you’ve given. Then you run two more rounds, asking people to switch partners each time. Simple!

25/10 Crowdsourcing

In this activity, you give everyone a Sharpie and an index card and ask them to write down their best idea. Then you lead them through several ‘passing and voting’ rounds to sift the 10 best ideas to the top. It’s so fun.

User Experience Fishbowl

In this activity, you invite a small number of people to act as ‘fish’ in the bowl to talk about a certain topic together. The rest of the group observes around the outside and then formulates questions to pose to the people in the bowl. Or, you can invite people from outside to swap in for someone in the bowl if they have something verbal to contribute.

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