With more and more of our business critical conversations moving to the online environment, it’s critical that these meetings be designed to deliver on what everyone needs right now – connection, learning and clarity. We recently wrote about how to run a successful online event and wanted to share more of what we’ve learned in just the past few weeks.
Our goal at XCHANGE is to create online meetings and events that are more impactful, more productive, more engaging and even more human than ever before! Based on feedback we’ve received from the events we’ve run since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, we’d say we’re delivering on that commitment!
The good news is that you can also create and deliver the same types of engaging experiences and have the same strong results. Attending the Online XCHANGE Experience is the best, most efficient way to learn the different frameworks and choreographies to design and deliver powerful experiences online.
In this post, I will break down exactly what you learn in the Online XCHANGE Experience, why it’s so powerful and how it can be used to create connection, engagement and results!
The Six Foundational Questions
The XCHANGE approach is a multi-disciplinary methodology and built on the foundation of Appreciative Inquiry. We strongly believe that human systems, organizations, teams and individuals move in the direction of what they study. In other words, what you focus on expands. For this reason, we focus in on what is already working well and the strengths that exist within a system. Then we help clients build upon and from those strengths to deliver even more powerful outcomes.
The six foundational questions allow us to explore the best of what was, what is and what could be with the organizations we serve. Each of these questions would normally be customized to the specific group we are serving and the outcome we are working to deliver. These questions serve as the starting point for the group dialogues and activities which create the connection, inclusion and engagement that we’ve found to be so valuable. There is an art and science to question design and the right questions can unlock strengths, amplify learning and create solutions. The six foundational questions we leverage to accomplish this are:
- Purpose Questions (why)– invite us to connect with a deeper purpose, meaning, or fulfillment, sometimes in general or at times specifically to the meeting, event or task at hand. Purpose questions invite us to explore why something is important and what is the purpose of coming together?
- High Point Moment Questions (past) – explore peak experiences, moments of excellence or when an organization, community, individual have been at their best. It may be in general or specifically related to the meeting, event or task at hand.
- Continuity Questions (present) – uncover and clarify the strengths, values or qualities that we value most. A way of finding what is already working well and honoring the elements of the community’s or organization’s fabric that no matter how we change or evolve, should stay the same, be nurtured and protected.
- Future Image Questions (future) – invite us to imagine and see the future that we most desire and what it may look like.
- How Might We Questions (design) – precede a traditional design thinking approach to create prototypes or solutions to the most important opportunities or challenges, that would bring to reality the ideal future.
- Action / Commitment Questions (what’s next) – invite action and commitments toward the next steps of the future possibilities and often define the necessary resources for success.
The Three Steps to a Powerful Conversation
Every conversation and human interaction has the potential to create powerful change, deep learning and community. The Online XCHANGE Experience teaches a simple 3-step process that creates engagement every time.
- Introduction and Enrollment – How to effectively prepare participants for the activity they’re about to engage in, both psychologically and physically. This part of the process also obtains buy-in from people on why the question and activity are important, while making sure the activity is generative, relevant and accessible.
- During the Conversation – Making sure the participants are very clear on the steps and outcomes of the activity they are being asked to complete. We also design our activities to ensure that everyone who participates has an equal voice and opportunity to contribute their ideas.
- Conclusion and Results – We teach how to surface the most powerful ideas from the group, create meaning and closure, while transitioning effectively to the next phase of the event.
The Four XCHANGE Conversational Choreographies
The Four XCHANGE choreographies create the interaction patterns that allow any group to accelerate learning, connection and belonging simultaneously, at speed and scale. The four foundational choreographies taught are:
- Purposeful Connecting – Allowing individuals to connect with each other, in small groups, to have a meaningful conversation around a relevant and thought provoking question. The insight shared in the small groups is then brought into the large group conversation, so all may benefit.
- 1-on-1 Interviews – An extremely powerful experience where participants connect in pairs to interview each other around topics inspired by the six foundational questions. These interviews allow all participants to speak their voice and be heard. It often allows people to rapidly create shared purpose and understanding with colleagues that may never have occurred otherwise.
- Crowdsourcing – We believe “the wisdom that emerges from the room is often more than enough”. This activity is designed to create a powerfully creative environment where participants share their most powerful ideas with each other and then the highest energy ideas are amplified for everyone’s benefit. This activity focuses energy around a single topic or question and creates rapid ideation.
- Wisdom Circles – This choreography enables participants to tap into the experience, wisdom and support of colleagues in a real time coaching activity. The most pressing challenges and opportunities are shared and insight is offered by those with experience. Often times, this serves as the beginning of powerful relationships that develop over time to enable long term support.