Facilitation Technique: Stacking

What Is Stacking

stacked rocksStacking is a facilitation technique which ensures that everyone’s voice is heard. The facilitator acknowledges each person who wants to contribute and establishes an order in which they will share. The result is that each person knows when their turn is and that they won’t be forgotten.

When To Use Stacking

Stacking is a way of creating order out of chaos. Use stacking when multiple people are vying for attention or trying to speak. Stacking is also useful when multiple people raise their hands to speak.


In this scenario, Season is facilitating a brainstorming session to generate product design ideas.

Season: Let’s move on to talking about the color scheme.

Everyone: Talking all at once!

Season: Hold on everyone! Let’s hear from Betty first followed by Tami and then we’ll hear from Oren.

Having a group of eager participants is not a bad problem to have. Our facilitator regained control of the flow of conversation and then used stacking to acknowledge each person and ensure that each person gets to be heard. This should create space for people to listen to each other, confident that they too will be heard.

The Agile Learning Labs Players Demonstrate Stacking


Form groups of three to five people. One person will take the role of facilitator, the others will be speakers.

The facilitator picks a discussion topic and lets the speakers know what it is so that they can prepare to all speak at the same time. Example topics:

  • Where should we go for lunch?
  • What are the best games to play on your phone?
  • What is the best artist, band, song, or sports team of all time?

Once everyone knows what the topic of discussion will be, the role play begins.

  1. The facilitator starts the role play by asking the question.
  2. All the speakers begin talking at the same time.
  3. The facilitator gets everyone’s attention and then lists each person’s name in the order they will share. “Let’s hear from Cindy, then Bob, then…”
  4. Each speaker briefly states their answer to the question.
  5. After everyone has shared, each speaker can give feedback to the facilitator and share how it felt being stacked.

Rotate roles to allow everyone to practice as facilitator.


Share it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *