Michael Herman
Opening Space for Business Agility

OpenSpaceTechnology/InvitationWriting | OpenSpaceTechnology/SampleOpeningScript

Writing Invitations and Opening Remarks

The following, adapted by Michael Herman from a piece by Harrison Owen, offers some possible language for the written invitation and the opening remarks by the chief leader or sponsor. Nothing magic about this language, but it does cover many of the right bases. The trick is to cover the same bases in language that fits the person speaking and the people gathered. This is usually accomplished by the chief leader simply telling the story of "how we got here and where we hope to go now." Then the facilitator is introduced and steps forward to open the space. That said, the following may be a helpful starting point and a reminder that simple is usually best.

Possible Themes

Possible Language

Please join us for... Our purpose is simple and important...

We need your deep engagement in the issues and opportunities surrounding the present and future of... toward the resolution of current issues and realization of untapped potential...

We have done well and we must do better... to serve ourselves, our organization(s), and our communities...

The work of this session will contribute/lead toward...

Because you care about... you have the skills, experiences and insights that are essential to make it better.

Differences of opinion do exist, but it is out of this rich diversity that powerful new futures can be formed now.

...hope that each of you will put it all on the table... no sacred cows... no undiscussables... the only caveats and boundaries are...

...hope to mix past experience, present realities and all our hopes and dreams for the future into new...

Where there is agreement, we can move forward. Where there is difference we can seek understanding, common ground, and workable compromise.

None of this can happen without open, honest conversation and caring from each and every one of us.

...promises to you... 1) Before we leave every issue of concern to anybody will be on the table, if they choose to put it there. 2) All issues will receive as full a discussion as you choose to give them. 3) You will receive a written record of the discussions and recommendations before you leave. 4) All issues will be ranked in the priority order determined by this group. 5) And finally, that we will identify working groups and immediate next steps for all of the large group's most important issues and any other issue that you want to pursue. Thatís a promise. ...if you walk out of here muttering to yourself that we never talked about the really important issues that you cared about, please notice that the person responsible for that is you.

It's time to get to work... what are the issues and opportunities for... that you care about? ...what are your ideas, questions, recommendations, concerns, needs and desires for resolution and future directions... right down to the the level of implementation?

Please join us! ...let's go! ...and good luck!