Presentations don’t get people excited.

Conversations do.

How do you create a conversation people will want to participate in?

Conversations change lives and move organizations. Here are some examples, including some we’ve worked on.

Open Space/Unconference

People self-organize into the topics that are most of interest to them. Creates knowledge sharing and action around topics that participants care about most; easy to start.

Case study: AT&T

World Cafe

A series of rotating small group table conversations in response to a question or questions of importance to the group, followed by a whole group “harvest” to identify patterns, insights, and/or action steps. Particularly effective with very large groups because it draws out the collective intelligence and wisdom of the group on a subject they care about.

Case study: National Science Foundation

Mastermind Group

Regular (e.g. weekly/monthly) meetings with the same committed subgroup / breakout. Thought leaders with similar goals can learn from each other, meet their goals, create accountability and work through material.

Example: Individuals use Mastermind Groups to accomplish their goals, from growing a business to losing weight to getting a book published or getting over fear of public speaking.


Participants get in small groups and share their “Asks” and “Offers” and connections. Enables people to build connections quickly, like coffee chats at an in-person conference (and it’s fun).

Example: Businesses use networking sessions in an interactive online format to reduce cost and travel time in training sales teams, bring together different groups of employees or prospective customers and sales teams.

Future Search

People from different backgrounds learn from each other, which catalyzes forms of cooperation that last. More effective planning meetings help people transform their capability for action very quickly.

Case study: Ikea

Live Crowdsourcing

People source ideas both individually and in multiple parallel small groups. This format pushes forward on ideas, reduces groupthink (which happens in traditional brainstorming), gets people excited, and shows them you’re listening.

Case study: Unilever

Social voting

People discuss topics and move towards agreement after deliberating to move past partisan gridlock or polarized issues and get creative solutions.

Case study: AmericaSpeaks

Fan Club

Discussion group for people who care about a topic to enable your organization or brand to connect with customers and prospects.

Example: Organizations can use Fan Clubs to engage current and prospective customers around new product features in the pipeline, build excitement before major launches, and more.

Design Thinking

Combining empathy, creativity, and rationality to solve multi-dimensional problems to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and viable in business

Example: Organizations have used Design Thinking to better understand their users, completely reinvent products to better serve customers, and prototype new solutions to many challenges quickly.

Movement Accelerator

This format is an in-depth, participant-focused “Unconference” series of events that builds engagement, relationships, and action around a specific movement. People who convene these event series help increase their impact in the world by leveraging their network to accelerate a movement. The format is self-organized by participants, and participants share knowledge and commit to action around topics they care about. Easy to start.

Example: Kaiser Permanente is working with transportation industry professionals convened by VoiceVoice to spur innovative thinking and action around active transportation, which promotes health.

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