Good gathering: expanding our kit and broadening our goals for good group sessions

Marc Rettig, Fit Associates



Any significant work requires groups of people to work together. Despite its importance, most organizations have a limited palette of things people do when they’re in the same room together: presentations, open discussion, brainstorming, facilitated discussion, status reports. The way we conduct group sessions often reinforces and repeats established patterns of thought and conversation. We feel trapped in meetings, audience members disengage, expertise remains in isolated pools, and projects yield little surprise.

In this seminar, Marc Rettig opens the door to a world of methods, frameworks, and practices that create new possibilities and expand the set of potential outcomes for group sessions. Through examples, project stories, frameworks and a wee bit of theory, you’ll learn a handful of methods you can try right away and get pointers to resources for continued learning.

Gain a fresh perspective on the potential for group sessions

Learn the five microstructures of which all group sessions are composed

Look at group conversation through the lens of basic dialogue theory: “the fork in the road”

See how our palette of group methods covers only a small part of what’s possible

Learn some of the building blocks of great group sessions

Methods for using group size as a “material”

Externalizing: making things together changes the conversation

Getting out of our chairs: how movement can help, and doesn’t have to be weird

Ways to level power and engage all voices

Learn seven nearly facilitation-free methods, and resources for finding more

Activities that quickly turn a collection of individuals into a working group

An alternative to lengthy presentations for information dissemination

A way to help people see one another across differences, silos, and labels

A framework that encourages any conversation to go deeper


If you or your team runs workshops, presents plans and reports, and gathers people to work in meetings and workshops, you will gain new perspective and practical methods from this seminar. If your work depends on collaboration, sponsorship, and participation from people outside your team, you’ll come away with fresh ideas for what can happen when people get together.