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Boost Collaboration and Engagement in Meetings with Liberating Structure's 1-2-4-All Technique

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

This is a culture micro-practices - small, sometimes unconventional ideas to improve company culture, inspire new behaviours and ways of working, and promote psychological safety, collaboration, employee experience, and engagement.

Meetings are a critical part of any organization and play a huge role in getting things done. However, let's face it - meetings can also be a total drag. Endless talking heads, aimless discussions, and no real action being taken - sound familiar? But what if I told you that there's a simple solution to breathe new life into your meetings? Introducing the 1-2-4-All technique from Liberating Structures.

What is the 1-2-4-All technique?

The 1-2-4-All technique is a structured method for facilitating meetings that encourages full participation from all attendees. The process is simple - participants break into groups of four and take turns playing the role of speaker, listener, reporter, and observer. By rotating through these roles, everyone has an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas.

Benefits of the 1-2-4-All technique

One of the biggest advantages of the 1-2-4-All technique is that it levels the playing field. In traditional meetings, only a few voices tend to dominate the conversation. But with 1-2-4-All, everyone gets a turn to speak, fostering a more inclusive and collaborative environment. Plus, the structure of the technique helps to keep the conversation focused and on track, leading to more productive meetings.

How to use the 1-2-4-All technique in meetings

Incorporating the 1-2-4-All technique into your meetings is straightforward. Simply follow these steps:

  • Step 1 (1 min)

Ask participants to take 1 minute for silent self-reflection, considering the question and jotting down their own thoughts and ideas

  • Step 2 (2 min)

Put people in pairs and build on each other's ideas from the self-reflection and generate new ideas together, using their paper and writing materials.

  • Step 3 (4 min)

Join the pairs into fours to share and develop the ideas generated in pairs, taking note of similarities and differences in their ideas

  • Step 4 (5 min)

As a group ask ‘What is one idea that stood out in your conversation?’ Each group shares one important idea with all (repeat cycle as needed)


The 1-2-4-All method from Liberating Structures is a fantastic way to crank up collaboration and participation during meetings. It gives everyone a chance to chime in and present their thoughts, leading to more innovative and effective outcomes. By breaking down the usual power dynamics and creating an even playing field, meetings become more inclusive and dynamic. So, the next time you're struggling with a dull or unproductive meeting, try bringing in the 1-2-4-All technique. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results!

Give it a whirl. Let me know how it goes by sharing and tagging me on LinkedIn (#micropractice).

Download the Culture Micro-Practice PDF

CMP #13_ 1-2-4-All
Download PDF • 36KB



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