Impromptu Networking


This Liberating Structures tool is a great way to generate energy at the beginning of a meeting. It provides an opportunity for everyone to speak early. It gets everyone up and moving so blood is flowing. It signals that this will not be a meeting like all others.

  1. Invite everyone to think individually about a provocative question that relates to the purpose of the meeting. Make it a question that levels the playing field. No right answer. Something everyone has an equal ability to talk about.

  2. Tell participants that when they hear the bell, they should find a partner - someone they know less well than they know others.

  3. After 5 minutes ring the bell and have them move to a different partner.

  4. They do this for a total of three rounds. One thing to notice about this process is that everyone gets to speak early in the meeting.

  5. There will be three rounds with 2-3 minutes per person to speak.


  • 1 minute Ask everyone to stand up and move into a space where there is some elbowroom. Ask them to leave all their “stuff” behind.

  • 1 minute Invite everyone to think about a question that relates to the purpose of the meeting - something everyone has an equal ability to talk about.

  • 5 minutes Tell participants that when the bell rings, they should find a partner - someone they know less well. Invite them to have a conversation about the suggested question for two minutes each.

  • 10 minutes Now, ring the bell and invite participants to find partner and have another conversation. Each round lasts five minutes. Between rounds, ask them to put a hand up if they are looking for a partner so they can see who else needs a partner.

  • 3 minutes After three “rounds” invite the group to sit back down and debrief them.

🌐 In an online setting

Introduce your guiding questions upfront, make sure to put them in chat so people can recall them easily. In the meantime your co-facilitator is setting up random breakout rooms with 2 people per room. Give them a 3 to 5 minute timer to talk about the question. Once the time is up - people turn up in the “main space”. Ask your participants how it was and let them share a couple of insights. Again - you co-facilitator is making new breakout rooms with different pairs (at random) during this time. We recommend doing a max of 3 rounds in total.

*tip: if you want to capture people's answers or insights regarding the introduced questions put up a whiteboard and ask a couple of people to share out loud while you write down their answers on the board.

impromptu networking mischief makers workshop conversations


Original source: Liberating Structures; licenced under Creative Commons CC BY-NC 3.0


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