Mad Tea – a powerful way to connect but be careful

In Collaboration, facilitation, Inspiring, Liberating Structures, Passion, Self-Organization by chuzzete2 Comments

During our first #LiberatingStructures workshop #MTL last week, we used Mad Tea to help participants share what they have learned during the workshop and make sense to the experience as a whole.

Before getting into it and inspired by the theme « change », we invited participants to experience 1-2-4-All, Impromtu Networking, Troika Consulting, Drawing Together to end up with a Snowball Fight.

What was surprising?

We started setting up the group by asking people to form two circles in a way that people from the inner circle faced people from the outer circle.

Then we told participants that we were about to show an incomplete phrase on the screen that needed to be completed within 45 seconds, starting with the person from the inner circle, followed by the person from the outer circle.

At the beginning, participants were curious and excited about the exercise, some were intrigued and impatient to know more.

Once we started shifting from phrase to phrase, the magic happened in front of our eyes. People were really engaged to openly share about their workshop experiences and surprisingly to me, 45 seconds was more than enough time to complete each phrase.

What was liberated?

This human clock, felt display a contiguous amount of attracting energy that I haven’t experienced that way before. Honestly, I was shocked and amused by this phenomenal moment that I was experiencing from outside.

I can describe it as a dynamic, energetic, respectful and powerful moment of humanity, deeply connected through love and care.

Take a look to the following video to have a better idea of how a Mad Tea conversation occured.

Wait a minute, Something is wrong

When we were at the end of the 9th round, someone from the outer circle raised its hand and said: “please stop, I can’t do this anymore…”

It’s intervention was so genuine and authentic that everyone listened and follow its request, it took less than a minute to get back to the person who asked for it, and the group stop.

We both intervene and invited the group to support the request and I personally validated with that person if it was alright to take a moment to pause. We did that and then I asked everyone’s permission to end up with the final activity planned to close the workshop.

Tips and tricks

The most important thing for me to be considered when working with a group of people, specially when using LS like Mad Tea, is people’s safety, in this case psychological safety.

Trick: take time to read the room, focus on holding the space open and observe what is happening and how are people behaving.

Tip: have courage to ask people how they feel and ask them open ended questions to know for example: how much time do they need to finish their conversations? Validate with them, the need to continue or not if the LS implies several rounds.

Other important thing, I would suggest here is to tell people in advance that it’s ok to raise their hands and ask for help.

Tip: being present, active listening and putting us in a proactive observation mode, would ease the process, help you increase psychological safety and empathize with people’s feelings and moods.

Call to action

  • Did you find what I wrote appealing and want to see more?
  • Would you like to experience the power of the #LiberatingStructures?

Here some options that I have prepared for you to keep us growing together:

All the best,



  1. Wow, quite an experience. Great aspects to take into consideration. Much appreciated.

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