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Small group conversations provide a more intimate setting. It is an effective space to go deeper faster and to get to know each other better. Triads allow us to witness each other, to share stories that bring us together, and begin to eliminate assumptions that we might be holding onto. This puts us on the path to do meaningful work together. 



1.Determine the need and purpose to gather people in small groups. 

2.Prepare a question for participants to explore. 

For Activity 

1.Divide the group into trios. If the number of participants does not allow for this, ask a facilitator/ host to step in as a participant. 

2.Each person in the trio will assume all three roles throughout the activity: 

    • The interviewer asks the question. Both the Harvester and the Interviewer listen attentively, without interrupting the speaker or asking any questions. Give space for the story to flow. 
    • The Speaker will have 2 minutes to share their reflection/ story. 
    • The Harvester listens and gather the information on a piece of paper highlighting what that person cares about. This can take the form of notes, a drawing, a poem, etc. After the Speaker has finished, the Harvester shares with them what they have heard and hands them the paper. This is the gift of being witnessed (~1 minute).

3.Participants switch roles and begin again, until everyone has assumed each role. 

4.Participants collectively prepare to share back around the question: What are connections you made or shared values from your triad? (5 minutes) 

5.Come back together as a larger group. Each triad takes turns reporting back the connections or shared values they discovered. 


  • Consider posing questions that will bring out a story, a moment that will help build connection to the purpose of the gathering and between the people that have come together. 


  • (2023). Leading Courageously in Higher Education: The Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter. Seattle, Washington. Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance.

Downloads & Links

Art of Hosting: Triads
Universal Methods of Design: Triads