Table of Four: meeting recipe

How do you set it up?

Starting a ToF meeting
1. Can everyone see each other clearly?
Is the arrangement of chairs (and table) comfortable?
2. Make time agreements
What have you agreed so far?
•    One meeting? Or more?
     How much time does each person get for his / her topic?

•    Has each topic been allocated the time it needs?
     If not, then keep open the option to hold follow-up meetings.
3. Culture setting: agree on manners
Draw up a list together of what everyone needs to participate safely and engaged in the ToF.
1.    What do you need from the others to be able to share what is important to you of your topic?
2.    What can we do to make the speaker feel heard and understood?
3.    What can we do if someone does interrupt, criticize or talk out of turn?
When it is your turn with your topic
Step 1: You share your question or dilemma and/or you tell your story
You present your question or dilemma, preferably in the form of "How can I ...?", "How can we ...?".
E.g., How could I / we find more information? Whom could I contact about this? How could I handle this incident differently?
Step 2 (optional, but desirable): the summary question
It is important that as a speaker, you feel heard and understood:

1.    You ask if someone would like to give a summary:
“Would anyone like to summarise in their own way what I have said?
It doesn’t matter if your summary doesn't give a complete picture! Because it may be that only after hearing it will I notice that I have missed something out or not said something clearly enough!”

2.    The summarizer can ask questions for clarification and then gives his / her summary.

3.    Then you ask yourself:
"On a scale of 0-10, how much do I feel heard with my story?"
You then tell the summariser how well you feel heard by him/her.
This is important because it shows appreciation of the effort the summariser has made. It also helps the speaker to acknowledge what parts of his/her communication has been effective.  

4.    Then you ask yourself "What do I still feel is missing?" You tell the others.
Step 3: The others take turns at responding to your topic or questions in their own way
It is important NOT to discuss what is, or is not, an appropriate response, because a ToF is about a Both-And approach. After the ToF, the speaker decides for himself/herself which answers best fit his or her question. The answers may even trigger a new creative process, resulting in an approach that no one has thought of before.

If the responder seems to disappear a bit into his own story, you might ask, "How does your response address my question"…. "?
Optional: At the end of a ToF, summarise what it has yielded

This can be important when there are several ToFs and each will report afterwards to the whole group.