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Facilitation Glossary

Welcome to our glossary of common meeting, workshop, and facilitation terms and definitions.

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Active Listening

Active listening is the practice of actively demonstrating attention to the speaker. It involves being fully attentive to non-verbal messages as well as verbal ones.


Agile is a methodology in project management and software development that involves teams that work in short cycles, fix problems, and add new features as the project progresses.

Asynchronous Meeting

Asynchronous meetings are meetings that don't happen in real-time. Instead, participants contribute thoughts and ideas when they have time. Usually through writing or video/voice recordings.


Blamestorming is a meeting during which a group of people discusses who or what to blame for a specific problem.


A bottleneck is a point in a process or project that slows down the flow of tasks.


Brainstorming is a problem-solving method for groups, that involves the spontaneous contribution of ideas from all participants.


Brainwriting is an ideation method where everyone writes down an idea, which they then pass to their neighbor, who further develops the original idea. This usually repeats for a number of rounds.

Breakout Session

A breakout session, or breakout, allows participants to break away from the main meeting and to chat and collaborate in smaller groups.

Chatham House Rule

The Chatham House Rule is a meeting ground rule under which everything that has been said in the meeting may be carried outside, but without attributing it to a specific speaker.


A check-in is a simple, casual activity to gather insights into the thoughts, feelings, and concerns of participants at the beginning of a meeting.


A check-out activity takes place at the end of a meeting and allows participants to review their experience, share what they learned and offer feedback.


Clustering is grouping a set of sticky notes (e.g ideas) in such a way that the sticky notes in the same group (called a cluster) are more similar to each other than to those in other groups (clusters).

Cognitive Bias

A cognitive bias is a flaw in reasoning that leads to faulty decisions and judgments.

Concept Map

A concept map is a diagram that visually expresses the relationship of concepts and ideas through logical connections.


Content is "what" is being covered in a meeting. (e.g topics, ideas)

Convergent Thinking

Convergent thinking is a thought process to come up with a single well-stated answer or solution by using logical reasoning.


A decider is a chosen person with the granted authority to make a final decision.

Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a methodology for creative problem solving. It involves to understand a problem, create ideas, prototype solutions, gather feedback and iterate.

Devil's Advocate

A devil's advocate is a person who continuously says something contrary to the beliefs of others in order to spark a discussion or debate.

Divergent Thinking

Divergent thinking is a thought process to generate creative ideas by exploring multiple solutions.

Dot Voting

Dot Voting is a method where a group makes a decision or expresses an opinion through collective decision-making using colored dots.


E.L.M.O stands for "Enough, let's move on" and is a technique that can be used to cut unnecessary discussions and to move to the next topic.

Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a decision-making method where tasks or ideas are prioritized by urgency and importance.

Elephant in the room

The phrase “elephant in the room” is used to describe a problem or issue that everyone knows about but is unwilling to address.


A meeting energizer is a fun and quick activity to energize and engage a group.

Face-to-face Meeting

A face-to-face meeting is one where all participants gather in the same physical location.


Facilitation describes the use of techniques and methods to help a group of people to work better together.


A facilitator is someone that supports and makes it easier for a group of people to work towards a common goal.

Fishbowl Discussion

Fishbowl is a discussion method, where a small group of people discusses a given topic, while the rest of the group listens carefully and may step into the "Fishbowl" anytime. If that happens, another person must leave the discussion so the group always stays at the same size.

Five Whys

Five Whys is a facilitation method used to drill down and understand the root cause of a problem by asking "Why?" five times.


Framing means setting the purpose of a meeting or group activity. Framing relieves participants of the question “Why are we doing this?”.

Go Around

Go around is a meeting activity that allows participants to speak in turn, without interruption. Also known as a Round Robin, it ensures that everyone can contribute their thoughts and comments.

Ground Rules

Ground rules are all the guidelines that are set up before a meeting and that participants should follow so everyone feels comfortable and can work effectively.


A group is a collection of individuals who share, but who otherwise pursue their own goals and work independently.

Group Dynamics

Group dynamics describe the behaviors and patterns of groups that influence the group's overall effectiveness.


Groupthink refers to the tendency of individuals in a group to make irrational or similar decisions based on the urge to conform with the group.


H.A.L.T is a reminder to be aware of the group and to pause when the group feels hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.


HiPPO stands for "highest-paid person's opinion" and describes the tendency of a group to give more weight to the opinions of those with greater authority.

Hybrid Meeting

A hybrid meeting is a type of meeting that involves both in-person and remote participants.


An icebreaker is a fun and casual activity to help members of a group to warm up and get to know each other.


Ideation is a creative process of developing and coming up with new and original ideas.


An intervention is an action taken by the facilitator to improve the functioning of the group. (e.g stopping an off-topic discussion)

Kickoff Meeting

A kickoff meeting is the first meeting where a group or team comes together to start a shared project or effort.


Lean is a methodology to create needed value with fewer resources by continuously minimising waste.

Lean Coffee

Lean Coffee is an agenda-less meeting where participants gather and build the agenda together democratically before they begin talking.

Liberating Structures

Liberating Structures is a collection of methods to "liberate" a group and enhance their collective engagement, creativity, and relationships.


A meeting is a gathering of one or more people that share a common purpose.


A method is a structured approach to accomplishing a goal. (e.g brainstorm ideas)


A methodology is a system of methods and principles to guide work processes and improve their outcome.

Mind Map

A mind map is a diagram where ideas and concepts are visually arranged and linked around a central topic.


MoSCoW stands for "Must Have, Should Have, Could Have, Won't Have" and is a prioritization method to decide on the importance of requirements.


Paraphrasing means formulating ideas and opinions in your own words. This allows you to test for clarity, acknowledge participant ideas and synthesize what has been said during a meeting.

Parking Lot

Parking Lot is a meeting method where off-topic ideas and questions are written down (or "parked") on a separate list to keep the discussion focused.

Popcorn Style

Popcorn style refers to a technique to mix the order of speakers in a meeting by letting the current speaker choose the one who will speak next. Think about it like "passing the mic".


Process is "how" things are being covered in a meeting. (e.g methods, and tools used)


A project is a collaborative, temporary effort to achieve a specific outcome.

Psychological Safety

Psychological safety is a group's shared feeling that they can express themself freely without the fear of negative consequences.


RSVP comes from the French expression 'Repondez, s'il vous plaît', and means "Respond, if you please". By including "RSVP" in a meeting invitation, the organizer can express that the receiver should respond if they plan to attend or not.


A retrospective is the process of reflecting on past projects, events, or topics and collecting what went well and what needs to be improved.


Scope refers to the combined objectives and tasks that need to be completed to finish a meeting or project.

Scope Creep

Scope creep refers to unplanned changes and growth that continuously add to the scope of a project or meeting.


A person, group, or organization that isn't a formal member of the group or team, but shares a vested interest in the outcome of a meeting or project.

Standup Meeting

A stand-up meeting is a short meeting, often held standing, in which members of the group share status updates with each other.

Subtraction Neglect

Subtraction Neglect is the tendency to improve something by adding to it, instead of subtracting and simplifying it.


A team is a group of people, that work together to achieve a common goal.

Team Alignment

Team Alignment describes the state when all members of a group understand and support the same context and goals.


A technique is a way of guiding and conducting a meeting. (e.g delegating roles, setting ground rules)


Timeboxing means defining a period of time in which a person, group or team can work on completing a task.


A tool refers to a device or software used to carry out a particular function. (e.g physical or digital whiteboard)

Visual Thinking

Visual thinking means using visual elements and tools to help explain complex concepts, connect ideas and gain a higher understanding.


A workshop is a type of meeting often with a facilitator to solve a problem by going through a series of activities.

World Café

World Café is a method for knowledge sharing where groups of people discuss a topic at several small tables (like those in cafés) or virtual breakout rooms.