MEANING MAP
Overview

The Hold and Seek process is a way to explore complex issues in a conversation and surface awarenesses that are usually inaccessible through normal dialogue.

Concept

The Hold and Seek concept is based on the understanding that a powerful conversation is not simply a two-way exchange of information. Humans often think more profoundly through the action of speaking. When asked the question, we usually think we have to provide an expert and certain response straight away, rather than observing what thoughts and feelings are emerging into awareness.

Purpose

The purpose of Hold and Seek is to create a safe conversation space for unexplored and unspoken ideas to emerge. This helps participants to go deeper and wider rather than simply replying with entrained and habitual responses. Participants can also use Hold and Seek to work with normally unspoken tensions and to resolve interpersonal conflicts. It can also be used to learn how to create and hold conversation space.

Uses
  • To explore and surface ideas
  • To move beyond transmit-only conversations
  • To help participants realise that they don’t always have to know everything
  • To move beyond the limitations of conventional expertise
Resources

1 set of Human Hold and Seek Cards per participant

Set Up

Ask the participants the question ‘Who here knows how to ask a question?’
Typically, all participants will respond affirmatively but a seed of doubt will have been planted that there is perhaps more than one way to ask a question.
Then ask the question ‘What is the most important thing to do after asking a question?’
Usually, the answer will be to listen or to pay attention to the answer. Tell the participants that the most important thing to do is to create and hold the space for thoughts and feelings to emerge from the person answering the question.
Give each participant a set of the 3 Hold and Seek Cards Give them a minute to play around with the cards and to read the instructions on the cards. There may be some questions, so reassure participants that you are just about to explain the Hold and Seek process.

Process

Invite participants to choose a conversation partner, so they can work in pairs.
Invite each pair to choose one of them to be a Holder and the other to be a Seeker
The Holder will ask a question and the Seeker will surface thoughts and feelings in response to that question. After asking the question, the holder holds up the Hold Card facing the Seeker. The Holder simply keeps quiet and holds space for the Seeker.
The Seeker holds up the Seek Card facing the Holder and seeks out answers by simply letting them emerge from thoughts and feelings.
As the Seeker opens up to a flow of thoughts and feelings, they will naturally begin to illuminate the answer that is emerging for them. When they feel that they have surfaced a meaningful answer, the Seeker holds up the Illuminate Card to show the Holder that the question has illuminated an awareness for them. As the Seeker does so, they share their illumination with the Holder.
The Holder acknowledges the Seeker’s illumination by holding up their Illuminate Card as well.

HOLDER
Ask Question
Keep Quiet
Hold Space
Listen
Listen
Listen
Acknowledge The Illumination

SEEKER
Seek Answer
Don’t Over Analyse
Trust The Space
Engage With Uncertainty
Let Your Feelings Flow
Listen To What You Hear Emerging
Share Your Illumination

This can be a timed process, typically allowing three minutes for the question to be asked and the answer to be a illuminated. The Holder and the Seeker then swap roles, with the Holder becoming the Seeker, and the Seeker becoming the Holder. The process is then repeated.
If a particular issue is being explored in depth, the Hold and Seek process can be used to illuminate the answers to a series of questions. If there are multiple participants in the process, it is good practice to swap partners after each pair of questions and illuminations.
A typical question sequence might be
Question 1 – What matters most to you about this situation?
Both participants Hold and Seek in sequence and then swap partners.
Question 2 – What Did You Learn From The Previous Question?
Both participants Hold and Seek in sequence and then swap partners.
Question 3 – What Action Will You Now Take?

Guidance

Be quite strict in ensuring that the Holder simply holds space and does not talk over or interrupt the Seeker.
If the Seekers feel uncomfortable saying nothing, just reassure them that it’s OK to be silent until thoughts and feelings can be expressed.
Although the Hold and Seek process is usually time boxed, typically for three minutes, it may be that some powerful issues are surfacing. If appropriate, and with agreement from the participants, timings can be extended to explore deeper and wider.

Example
Connections

Hold and Seek can be connected and used with other Human processes, such as Name It. Claim It. Game It. Tame It., Human Amplifiers, Risk A Version.

References

Human Associates Foundation Course