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At Mind, we use various methods to enable people to influence and participate in our work. The techniques you use will depend on the factors explored in the 'Planning influence and participation activities' section. For instance, you'll need to consider time and budget constraints, plus the number of experienced staff that can offer support.

It would help if you also thought about the activities you have already carried out concerning the project or topic. What worked, what didn't work, and why? If you need to involve people with specific experiences or from a particular demographic, consider what your audience will respond to best.

There are usually opportunities to use several different methods at various project stages. Using multiple approaches in your work benefits both sides, offering opportunities to participate for people at a most appropriate level, thereby allowing different voices to be heard. 

The critical thing to remember is that, whatever method you use, it's not the level of influence and participation that's most important. What's crucial is that you choose the best approach for the piece of work you're developing and one that's suitable for the people involved. We have explained various methods within the toolkit. Each has a different level of influence connected with our ladder of influence and participation.

Remote influence and participation




Digital technology and social media

Discussion and focus groups

Formal groups


Organic methods

Questionnaires and surveys

Service design


Working and steering groups

Other ways of involving people

Tools in this section

Creating a group agreement

If you're asking people to join a one-off focus group or discussion event, a group agreement lets everyone know where they stand and helps to create a safe space for openness and honesty. If you're setting up a regular forum, make sure you have some terms of reference in place to clear expectations.

With instructions | Without instructions

Defining and refining

You can use this tool to quickly and robustly focus your team around the priority questions and methods that you will take into your influencing activity.

With instructions | Without instructions

Facilitation plan

This tool helps ensure your activity/event runs as smoothly as possible, from presenting questions to participants and identifying what resources you will need.

With instructions | Without instructions

Managing risks

Use this tool to get five steps ahead of yourself and plan any risks that might present themselves.

With instructions | Without instructions

Setting a good agenda

This tool can help you structure your agenda so that all participants are clear on the topics being discussed and know what is expected of them.

With instructions | Without instructions

Setting a good agenda

This tool can help you structure your agenda so that all participants are clear on the topics you will be discussing and know what you expect of them.

With instructions | Without instructions

Other ways to get involved

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