In working with multiple organization teams over the past few years, I see ALLLLLL kinds of team meeting dynamics. Teams that can’t address tough issues. Teams that resent each other. Teams that can’t communicate quickly, or at all for that matter.

In order to create a high-performing team, it starts with the ability to trust each other and communicate clearly and effectively. It’s not always easy to hash out issues within a meeting, but none of us are mind readers. Therefore, teams shouldn’t be expected to try and do such within meetings.

I was lucky enough recently to be working with a large international organization that actually taught ME an awesome and deadly effective technique for teams to begin using within their meetings if they’re having trouble getting things out and on the table, or if you maybe have a young and inexperienced team that holds back with words.

It’s deadly effective and allows everyone to quickly read the room in a matter of seconds.

They called it Fist to Five. And this is how it works…

When a team member is looking for level of agreement or similar from the team in a meeting, they merely say Fist to Five, meaning each team member immediately puts up where they are currently at with the issue or decision in terms of how far onboard they are with the idea.


Any team members putting a fist in the air means absolute and complete disagreement. It’s probably not worth trying to hash through the concept with this person as they will never be on board with it.


A one is somewhat along the lines of No, I don’t agree, buuuut you might be able to talk me through things and get me on board.


A two means a team member is leaning toward non-compliance or agreement. They have some major questions that need to be asked and discussed through.


Three in the air means that you’re fairly neutral, but not all that impressed. You definitely have some questions and need much further clarity before you’re willing to agree to the rules of engagement in moving forward. Threes demand further discussion in the meeting.


A four means a team member is in agreement, but they may have a minor question or two to get clarification and details around outside of the meeting.


A five means 100% agreement and that the team member is completely onboard. They don’t have any questions and are ready for next steps.

Hopefully using this technique will give you one more way to get your group talking and opening up during team meetings.


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