Facilitation Tools: Multi-Voting

Earlier in this blog series, we looked at brainstorming. As a process tool, brainstorming is beneficial when ideas need to be generated en masse. Where do you go, however, when you have acquired an enormous list of potential ideas that need to be discussed? Multi-voting is the answer.

Multi-Voting is a facilitation tool that allows you to quickly rank ideas based on priority. In a group setting, multi-voting is an easy way to establish what topics participants feel are most important. Identifying clear priorities visually through multi-voting can help to demonstrate a degree of democratic participation and team agreement within a group.

To ensure that multi-voting is effective you need to:

  • Clarify what will be prioritised
  • Clearly set the voting criteria
  • Choose an efficient method, for example, assigning letters, a show of hands or sticker dots

How do you go about multi-voting? It’s pretty straightforward, really. Here’s an illustrative example of the 5 essential steps:

Step 1 Take a list of items gathered from a brainstorming session

Step 2 Assign a letter to each item to help avoid confusion when it comes to the vote

Step 3 Vote:

  • Encourage group participants to choose the most important third of items by listing the letters that have been assigned to them. For example, if there are 30 items, each participant should select the 10 items (one- third of the total) most important to them
  • Participants must cast all their votes and team member only cast one vote per idea
  • Voting may be done either by a show of hands or by paper ballot when the team chooses to preserve confidentiality. Alternatively, if flip-charts or posters are being used, group participants can vote with sticker dots

Step 4 Tally the votes. Mark each item for each vote it received and keep the items with the most votes for the next round of voting.

Step 5 Repeat! In the second round, each person again selects the top one-third of the items. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until a number of discussable items remain.

To read more about facilitation tools, check out our Infographic: Process Tools for Effective Meeting Facilitation

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Check out other posts from this blog series: