Group Facilitation Methods

Introducing the foundations of the ToP approach, two powerful techniques for structuring effective conversations and building group consensus (2 days)

mg-top-2017-in-brusselsI am an ICA Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and a licensed provider and experienced lead trainer of this and other ICA:UK Technology of Participation (ToP) facilitation training courses – see how I work, and please contact me with any questions or for further details.

“Meetings are a key part of what we do. As a diverse, transnational, multilingual membership network, successful meetings are key to our internal and external successes. Many of our staff mentioned Martin’s training as a highlight in their end of year reviews – several said it was the most useful training they had ever attended, and there was a clear consensus that we should work with him again.”

Eve Geddie, Deputy Director at Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM)

Who this course is for

The course is for all those who want to be able to engage people more effectively to build shared understanding and consensus, including team leaders and managers within organisations, those working with Boards, management teams, partnerships and external stakeholders, youth and community workers and independent facilitators. This course has no pre-requisite, but is the pre-requisite for Participatory Strategic Planning. It is recommended both to newcomers to facilitation, and to experienced facilitators who are new to our approach.

Questions this course answers

“How can I have more purposeful & productive conversations, bring out the wisdom of a group, encourage feedback between people, and reach shared awareness in meetings? How can I generate and weave together a diverse range of ideas, develop creative solutions and build a group consensus?”

This course provides a structured introduction to the ToP Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods, which form the foundations of the ToP Action Planning method, Participatory Strategic Planning and other applications.

What you will gain

By the end of the course, you will

  • be able to identify when and how to use the Focused Conversation and Consensus Workshop methods
  • have gained confidence in the use of these methods
  • have recognised and explored elements of participation, creativity, teamwork and action
  • have built links with others to promote future collaboration and support in the use of the methods

ToP Focused Conversation methodThe Focused Conversation method provides a structured, four-level process for effective communication which ensures that everyone in a group has the opportunity to participate.

ToP Consensus Workshop method overviewThe Consensus Workshop method is a five stage process thatenables a facilitator to draw out and weave together everybody’s wisdom into a clear and practical consensus.

These methods have been featured in publications including:

Learning style

The course presents the two methods in a practical and participatory way. Each method is first demonstrated, then analysed and discussed, and then practiced in supportive small groups with guided reflection & feedback. Finally, participants plan how they will apply each method in their own situations.

What do participants say about this course?

93% of GFM participants rated the course 8/10 or higher. Comments from participants’ end-of-course evaluations included:

  • brilliant – a must-do if you want better, more effective meetings
  • provides two practical, easy-to-use methods to discover deep insights from diverse groups – useful tools for any group, organisation or community
  • benefits for experienced facilitator and novice alike
  • worth every penny – excellent content & great presentation

For further details

Please contact me with any questions or for further details – including how to commission a tailored course for your group and availability of scheduled public courses, in the UK and worldwide. See also ToP facilitation training at your place – and free places for you!

For more on my work, and what others have to say about it, please see how I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies – or view my profile and connect with me on LinkedIn.

You can connect with me also by joining my free facilitation webinars online, and IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups in London and elsewhere.


Walking through the Consensus Workshop method of ICA’s ‘Technology of Participation’, one session of the 2-day ToP Group Facilitation Methods course. Thanks to Michael Ambjorn of Alignyour.org and participants of the September 2015 ICA:UK course at NCVO in London.

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