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The purpose of this activity is to experience and analyse how a group deals with personal and group priorities to make a decision.

Preparation: Print enough copies of the Consensus handout.   Time: 70 minutes      Materials: Flipchart, markers


Explain that we’ll now see how what happens when a group tries to make a decision.

Individually: You have a windfall of £3,000 for your holiday of a lifetime. Take a few minutes to decide where you’re going, and 3 reasons why. Check that everyone has decided and has their 3 reasons.   (5 min)

Form small groups of about 5 people

Announce that actually, there is a condition to the windfall: You have £3000 each, but you have to put it towards the same group holiday.

Decide as a group where you’re going and 3 reasons why. You’ll have 20 minutes


How was that? General responses, feelings. (5 min)

What happened?

Still in the groups: make a timeline of what happened.

What were the key events in the group discussion?

Go into detail from the beginning. Ask each person to name one event and place it on the line.

Scribe on flipsheet

Check in to see if anything obvious is missing (10 min)

Then ask each person to chart their personal highs and lows in relation to what’s on the line by dotting with coloured markers: eg green above and red below the line. How did I feel when that was said/ that happened?

Still in the groups, join the dots and discuss the outcomes (10 min). Things to highlight:

  • emerging agreement/disagreement
  • assumed agreement
  • confusion/different assumptions over process or content that weren’t dealt with
  • different perceptions of the same event
  • minority experience/marginalization

Each group share with whole group – briefly (5 min each group).
Pick out the headlines and scribe as necessary. Analyse (10 min)

  • What are we seeing here?
  • What are we learning from this?
  • What might we do different next time?


Consensus handout

Distribute the consensus handout and talk through the consensus process. Compare it with the processes in the activity.

You might want to re-run the activity to practise the process.


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