Give Gain toGether: A facilitation technique and three words for 2021

As the new year starts, I am enjoying social media posts by colleagues who choose one word as a focal point for 2021. I think that this approach is worthwhile and motivational. As a slight twist, I offer three words that describe a facilitation technique I have used for years during in-person sessions and recently adapted to online (virtual) facilitation. And, I also say how I will use the three words in the coming year.

The technique is called Give Gain toGether and it can be used to describe emotions, generate ideas and actions, and make decisions for many topics such as:

  • Teambuilding
  • Community asset identification
  • Goal setting
  • Strategic planning
  • Conflict resolution

The purpose of the technique is to help leaders and members in teams, organizations, and communities to quickly identify their strengths and assets, their needs, and ways they can work and act together. In 2010, I created the technique and used it with community leaders who were developing a recreation initiative. I named it Give Gain toGether (I love alliteration). Over the past few years, I have used it in many in-person sessions, particularly with teams. In December 2020, I adapted it for an online team building session with a group of 15 participants.

The process

Ask the participants three questions:

  1. What can I contribute (Give) … to our team? community? organization? situation?
  2. What do I need (Gain) … from our team? community? organization? situation?
  3. What can we do, individually and as a team (toGether) … to achieve our goals? Meet our needs? Better our team? Work together effectively?

In-person

  1. Place each question on a flipchart or large post-it note on a sticky wall. Use three flipcharts or areas on the wall; one for each question.
  2. Each person writes ideas on post-it notes (one idea per note) for each of the Give Gain toGether questions and places them in the appropriate flipchart or area.
  3. As a group, discuss the ideas for each question using an ORID Focussed Conversation such as:
    • What ideas stand out for you?
    • What are you pleased to see? Excites you?
    • What surprises you? Puzzles you?
    • What common themes do you see?
    • What unique messages do you see?
    • What is this telling us?
    • How might we use this information?
  4. Options:
    • Cluster the ideas under each question if time allows.
    • Start with Give and Gain and then discuss as the entire group. Hold a second round of Give to allow participants to offer support for the needs (Gain)
    • Set priorities for the actions under toGether.
    • Assign lead roles for the main actions identified.

Online

Use an online collaboration platform that simulates flipcharts, sticky walls, and post-it notes. Examples are Jamboard, Mural, Miro, Padlet, Flinga, Google Slides. I choose the platform based on the topic, desired outcomes, participants’ experience with online technology, and available time. My mantra in choosing the platform is to “keep it simple”!

I recently used Jamboard for a session in December. 15 team members with little experience using online technology participated in a teambuilding session. We used Give Gain toGether for about 50 minutes as the last activity in a three-hour session.

  1. I created three Jamboards, one for each question. See screen captures below.
  2. Each participant wrote ideas for the Give question on post-it notes on Jamboard.
  3. We held a group ORID Conversation about the Give ideas.
  4. Each participant then wrote ideas for Gain and we held a group ORID Conversation.
  5. Each participant then wrote ideas for toGether and we held a group ORID Conversation.
  6. The group identified themes under the action ideas from toGether.
  7. Options
    • Cluster the ideas under each question if time allows.
    • Small groups in breakout rooms could discuss the answers under each of the questions and summarize for the entire group.
    • Set priorities for the actions from toGether.
    • Assign lead roles for the main actions identified.

Give Gain toGether is a useful discussion technique. As well, in 2021, I will use the three words as focal points for my facilitation work. I can Give by sharing ideas, activities, and tips. I can Gain by continuing to read excellent articles by my colleagues and clients and participating in networking sessions. I can work and act toGether by maintaining, expanding, and sharing with the amazing circle of individuals across the globe who are facilitators, trainers, consultants, and coaches, and from whom, I have learned so much.

Give Gain toGether: A facilitation technique and three words for 2021

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