Have you used our much loved 3-chair challenge facilitation tool?

Teams always seem to love it. It brings pace, excitement and a sense of building a solution or direction together.

The question is: how can you do it virtually with team members dispersed on different sites or even all in their own homes?

A quick reminder of what it is, and when to use it

Only two chairs can be filled – and must be filled – at any point in time. These two people have a conversation with each other that the team listens to – you can only speak if you occupy one of the 3-Chairs. If anyone steps up to occupy the third chair, then one of the existing two people must leave. Alternatively, one of the people in the two filled chairs can invite someone to replace them.

It’s a tool that can be used for many situations.

For example, I first used it for working through a conflict in a team with the chairs in the middle of a circle.

We now use it more often for developing vision and purpose for teams.

Recently, a client used it to develop a vision for the culture of their organisation with 40 people from a cross slice of the organisation jumping in to the chairs. The leadership team was hearing, seeing and feeling the passion their people had for change. Yes, I’d say it is powerful.

How can you replicate this virtually?

In red10 we believe anything in a physical meeting can be replicated virtually. It’s our Replication Rule, it sometimes needs a little more planning but its always possible.

Here are a few options for you to play with:

  1. In most video conference tools you can be in something called Gallery View where each person has a small picture of themselves on screen e.g. if it’s a team of 8 you can see all 8 faces.
    With this only the people in the 2 chairs have their cameras switched on. When you want to jump into the 3rd chair you switch your camera on.
  2. People are all sat down and can only stand up when they are in the 2 chairs and stand up when they want to be in the 3rd
  3. Another option a client came up with, and loved it, was to have both hands on your head when in the chair. It was fun!

There are many possibilities as a facilitator. My key learning is that you have to really keep an eye on who stands, opens their camera or puts their hands on their head first to be in the 3rd chair.

Enjoy and have some fun in your meetings 😊 – that’s one of our 7 1/2 rules of virtual meetings Making virtual meeting engaging reduces the risk of multi-tasking . It’s a great time to try something new.

Bag of Tools and Techniques

If you find this article useful, have you seen our Free Facilitator’s Kit for Virtual Meetings ?

Free Facilitator’s Kit for Virtual Meetings

This article is one of the Behaviours in our 3Bs Virtual Kit – Basecamp, Behaviours and Bag of Tools & Techniques to help leaders facilitate great virtual meetings. There are advanced tools that you may be interested in too, such as Breakout Rooms and Annotations for prioritizing