Supercharge your facilitation skills with better voting controls

Clayton Lengel-Zigich
By Clayton Lengel-Zigich • February, 21st 2022

With specialized controls, the voting phase of a flowtopic meeting makes it easy to see who's voted and how many votes are left.

Voting in Lean Coffee style meetings

In a Lean Coffee meeting, the voting phase is where the group determines which topics are most important and which topics they will discuss first.

The facilitator’s job is to keep track of who has voted, how many votes are left, and how much time the group needs to vote.

But in a meeting with a lot of topics, or a lot of participants, it can be hard to tell how voting is progressing. The group might be struggling to use all of their votes, participants might be distracted, or it’s just too hard for participants to decide which topics to vote for.

Facilitator tools for voting in flowtopic

A flowtopic facilitator has three different ways to view the progress of voting:

  • The topic view
  • The participant view
  • The group view

The topic view

This is the standard Lean Coffee “dot voting” perspective. It shows the facilitators (and participants) how many votes a particular topic has, as indicated by a dot with a checkmark.

A flowtopic meeting highlighting a topic with votes

Facilitation tip: Take note of the topics that are getting a disproportionate number votes and plan for a lopsided discussion phase later on.

The participant view

As a facilitator, you’re often wondering who has or has not voted. With the participant view, it’s easy to see how many votes each participant has and how many they have used.

A flowtopic meeting highlighting a meeting participant and their votes

Facilitation tip: Nudge participants who aren’t voting to use their votes. Remind participants that this is their opportunity to shape the agenda of the meeting.

The group view

In some groups, once the voting phase of the meeting starts, everyone dives right in and starts voting. However, when there are a lot of interesting topics and it’s hard to decide, voting can drag out and require more time.

The group view shows the facilitator a progress bar style indication of how many votes have been cast across all topics and all participants. It’s an easy way to see if the group needs more time for voting.

A flowtopic meeting highlighting total votes cast in the facilitator controls

Facilitation tip: As the progress bar becomes mostly full, prompt the group to finish up voting and make more time for the discussion phase.

How votes are calculated in flowtopic

Since flowtopic helps take the guesswork out of facilitating a Lean Coffee meeting and make you a better facilitator, we use a formula for calculating the number of available votes in a meeting.

It’s a simple formula based on the number of topics in the meeting:

√(number of topics) * 1.5

This provides an adequate number of votes for each meeting and is one less thing for the facilitator to worry about.