There are many ways to make a group or an organisation more participatory, getting people engaged and involved in a project or transformation, or even just to make the day-to-day more effective and fun. Participation is a quality you can work with, an opening which you can choose where and how to offer. Having an open meaningful dialogue does not translate to power in decision making, but changes the organisational culture.
A simple Check In round at the beginning of a meeting will allow people to take a minute to actually arrive, and lets others around you know were you are, which enhances their ability to communicate and work together.
Framing a structure, starting a meeting by explaining what you are going to do and how its going to be done will help people feel more secure and able to better participate, and make sure you all have similar expectations, and so on.
Such "small" elements can really change the energy in the room and how we feel about what we are doing.
Along with these there are the bigger events or processes that can give a voice to the unspoken, channel collective intelligence or create a new idea.
When volunteering at Elpida Refugee Camp i was asked to help facilitate the weekly meeting between the residents of the camp and the management. Working together we designed a structure nominating different people to hold different elements of the meeting. The structure we built kept running long after I myself left the refugee camp, which is always the best outcome.
photo by The Ink Collective for ISHHR
Maya Rimer planned the weekly meetings in a wonderful way that made all the volunteers and residents interact better.
This kind of work throughout Elpida refugee camp helped us become more creative, and made us trust in ourselves and our abilities once again.
— Ali, former Elpida Home Refugee Camp Resident