There’s an art to choosing the right people to attend your workshop. Most issues have more stakeholders than fit in the room. Learning to choose guests based on their power and interest delivers more insights, builds trust, and creates buy in. Here’s my 10 minute strategy:

Step 1: Generate a list of as many stakeholders you can name Go broad. Add any individual, group, role, or org that can influence the issue/process/focus of your workshop, or will be impacted by decisions you make about the issue/process/focus of your workshop.

Step 2: Consider each party’s degree of agency and interest Once your list feels done, locate each stakeholder on a 2×2 based on their level of interest in the workshop topic, and their degree of agency to enable, prevent, or otherwise shape what comes next.

Step 3: Choose a mix of guests that represent 3 groups There are different reasons to invite each group.

Players: High agency, high interest. Able and willing to make decisions. You want players in the room so they can gain new perspectives on the issue from the subjects and context setters. Pick players who need to hear other perspectives AND will be receptive to them.

Subjects: Low agency, high interest. These folk are impacted by decisions made about the issue, and provide a view of the issue that players may not often see. Get as many diverse subjects on the guest list as you can manage.

Context setters: High agency, low interest. Able to shape the outcome but not motivated to. Invite 1-2 that with a strengthened interest could help you move towards your goal. (7/9) Bystanders: Low agency, low interest, low benefit as participants. Do not invite.

Taking 10 minutes to run through this process when planning your invites will avoid the trap of only including the obvious names, and generate greater insights, energy, and buy in for the change ahead.