We already wrote it here: dialogue is a party because everyone is invited this time! Your invitation already started well, and now we will move on to variants of closing your (open) questions. We have thus captured the first moment when you use language to connect with invitees, and now the last moment: the end of your dialogue questions. With open questions you show confidence and give direction to what you are looking for, without becoming directive, of course.

Request demo

We have designed many 1,000s of questions for wonderful organizations, with wonderful results, especially for participants. They also think it’s wonderful what you do, and score dialogues on average with a 4.3 on a scale of 5. Quite proud of that, because people are busy and apparently dialogues do something good with their pleasure, involvement and ability to solve your problem. . So a party! We have discovered 18 principles that you can use when designing strong, meaningful open questions.

Within our CircleLytics platform (and your own account in your corporate identity!) you can use the unique QuestionDesignLab to design questions together with our lab within minutes. You can ask open questions both with and without a closed scale. Just look what happens.

You used to ask these types of survey questions (it still happens unfortunately):

Score the confidence you have in the organization (between 1 and 10).
(the text field for your explanation may be enabled).

Maar in dialoog doe je dit:

Would you like to talk about your current confidence in the organization based on a score (between 1 and 10), but especially in your own words? We are curious what we can learn from this.

In the second round of the dialogue, participants see each other’s anonymous answers. They may then rate answers from others and make suggestions on how the organization can strengthen trust.

With CircleLytics you can even set that participants can revise their closed answers (between 1 and 10). Do you know that 60% do that? This makes surveys (one round) no longer reliable for decision-making.

That’s why participants appreciate it so much and it yields more for you than surveys. More reliability and, among other things, the top 5 answers that matter most. So take action: you have the best answers and suggestions for reinforcement.

The simple secret is to use language to connect with people through open questions, to stimulate people to think and really involve them. That is older than the road to Rome, but surveys have rather pushed open questions/answers into a corner, about 80 years ago. At CircleLytics we say very simply: if you are curious about what your partner, friends and family are doing and what they think about something, why not send surveys? Why then to employees, customers, residents, members and patients? Open questions are the most educational and from now on they will process the answers together in the second round. This gives them new thoughts so that you reliably learn how they really think about something and how they solve something together.

Below we share variations on the old-fashioned “Explanation”. Curious which one you use to learn more in dialogue with others from points of view that you did not think of but are useful to you. It will also come in handy for your workshops, interviews and other conversations!

For example, the end of your closed or open question could be like this:

.. and why do you see it this way?

…and how did you come up with this suggestion?

…and would you like to clarify this with an example?

…and can you explain in your own words why you score it this way?

…and what obstacle do you encounter?

…and what obstacle do you think we should and can overcome?

…and would you like to tell us something about that, so that others can learn from it?

…and what makes you choose that?

…and what is your tip in that case?

… and do you want to focus your explanation on what is most feasible?

…and what now?

…and why do you think that is?

…and what is your tip for the first action we can take?

…and above all: why?

… and above all: how do we do that?

…and what do you imagine?

…and what should we not try again?

…and should we keep it that way?

… and what does that mean for our organization and people?

…and how does that distinguish us from the competition?

…and saves a lot of time?

…and thus helps colleagues to work with us more happily and for more years?


We’ll leave it at this for now. Hopefully it inspires you to get started with your dialogue and dialogue questions and get the party started! Preferably together with others, or together with us. Feel free to schedule a design session here.


Sometimes the sting has to be removed. We regularly experience this when new organizations start working with CircleLytics Dialogue. There are simply quite a few challenges (or sometimes old-fashioned real problems), sensitive issues or significant history that stir up emotions. While there is a pressing issue that is hindered by this. Or put differently: the issue exists because stakeholders were not seriously listened to and involved.

Request demo

If involvement is too weak, and the leadership to actively involve people has not yet developed in your organization (and by that we mean that you go a level further than sending surveys), serious bottlenecks can manifest. Absenteeism, mental breakdown, departure, low confidence are just a few problems, but see them mainly as symptoms.

You can then certainly offer a good deal of privacy, instead of hiring a moderator who starts by explaining that “you can tell everything safely with me”. It is often better to enter into dialogue, and in our way this takes place in several steps with each interval and therefore time for reflection. In the steps you go through with our dialogue, you as a participant have time and space, equal to those others have, to contribute something yourself, to share a perspective, to describe an experience. And in the next step you can see the perspectives of others, learn from them, and take the time again. They score between -3 (complete rejection) and +3 (complete support) and explain this with a recommendation, action point or something else if you request it. Participants learn that their perspective matters to others and other perspectives matter to them. Mutual, collaborative learning. So approach people as a network instead of as individualists. Together you are simply stronger and smarter: we need each other every day, even when there are problems.

This slowing down method, so to speak (intervention or just dialogue is also possible, whatever you want), gives space for any emotions, and then you can do something with them, or move on from there. This is necessary because getting stuck in emotions does not yield enough results. The Dutch-Portuguese philosopher Spinoza spoke about the three forms of human intelligence that he believes apply together and in context: emotions and images, reason and instinct. You need all three and that distinguishes humans from animals.

The power of dialogue therefore brings people a number of important benefits:

  • you get time, which makes you think better and react less primarily
  • others are given equal time, which guarantees equality
  • with complete privacy, keeping you safe and making yours and others’ content count
  • and you therefore have no incentive to ‘assert yourself’ (because it is anonymous)

And in the second round the benefits are:

  • you learn from the opinions and perspectives of others who think differently
  • without losing face you can score differing opinions positively (i.e. support them)
  • without hurting anyone you can score other opinions negatively (no support)
  • You can provide recommendations, tips or something else if requested

And if you do work with a moderator, or the manager, a coach, etc., the results are immediately and continuously visible and usable. So you can combine it with other working methods such as a meeting.

We would like to share a selection of a number of anonymous cases from recent times: strike, employment conditions, conflict between two locations, forced departure of manager and vacancy, angry residents, members who cancel, customers who leave and employees who leave within a year. Other non-anonymous cases can be found here.

Strike: this is how you break it (and how you prevent it)

The difficult thing is that as a director you have to deal with unions that often have a stronger seat at the negotiating table than the foundation for this of the supporters. In other words: unions too often do not know exactly what drives, wants, desires and demands their supporters. They use polls and surveys, and add a well-intentioned dose of ‘touring the country’. Those polls and surveys have now had their day: responses are disappointing and you simply cannot do anything with a polarizing approach to a poll. What does it mean if 70% are against in such a poll? The practice of CircleLytics Dialogue shows that if you do not use a double poll, but old-fashioned single polls, you are wrong by an average of 60%. That’s a painful amount.

CircleLytics’ double poll is one of the first features we offered. It works like this: you present one or more statements or choices and ask the target group what their position is, but immediately what their substantiation is in their own words. Did you know that on average 90% tell this in detail? Then there is a second round in which you present all answers to each participant in diverse groups of 15 each. They score this positively (support) or negatively (no support) and explain why. They then vote on your statements again, with 60% changing their position in that final poll. This way you prevent polarization, get a 2-10x higher response and increase the connection with your target group. Then you know what you’re talking about!

Back to the strike… Our first advice to managers, whether employers or trade unions, is to learn to work in an evidence-based manner. What exactly is it that the supporters want, not approximately. Do you have statistically reliable information, not just data, but informative data, information. Research such as surveys and polls with a low response rate, and a tour of a ‘number of people or locations’ is not sustainable, nor a foundation for an argument or position. So not for a demand at the negotiating table. In the case in question, management took back the initiative by asking all employees directly, during a strike that had already started:

“What are we overlooking that is really important to you and can you explain that?”

What did management learn from this?

  • don’t wait for HR’s (pulse) surveys to measure satisfaction, because they really don’t seem to know what’s really going on; a rather costly mistake that organizations, and especially HR, still make every day; Generic questions do not reveal specific insights
  • you make yourself as leadership immediately visible to all employees, not through a trade union, which does not use sufficient evidence-based research, with a limited support base (members only), with a low response rate
  • do not wait to listen specifically, regularly and qualitatively to your own employees; they share everything you are honestly open to with your open questions; This way you will learn everything you need to develop people and organization synchronously
  • it really prevents misery: financially, your reputation, relationship with employees, trust, loss of customers, etc.

How did this continue? The employer learned by listening that their grievances, wishes, dreams and demands were fundamentally different from what the unions were saying. The wage requirement even turned out to be lower because various other topics were more important to employees.

CircleLytics’ dialogue ensures that employees saw each other’s different answers after the first round. In the second round they could give scores (support, positive scores or rejection, negative scores) to each other’s answers. The employer therefore immediately measured the sentiment and therefore support in the same survey of employees.

They experienced that they were taken seriously, they were listened to, directly by the director, and they were allowed to help separate the wheat from the chaff. And the director took decisive action on it the same day. The strike was immediately ended with a significantly different package than the unions demanded. They simply had no insight into what employees wanted. Neither does HR, nor does the Works Council.

Dialogue and co-creation are also regularly used for employment conditions and collective labor agreements, primary and secondary, etc. Insight into what drives employees and what hinders them is indispensable for leading an organization. It is better to obtain advice from your 1,000 employees yourself in a week, based on your genuine curiosity, than via expensive external advice, generic HR surveys or vulnerable data from your trade union. There are more and more HR leaders, as well as trade unions, who use the power of collective intelligence and dialogue to stand strong and connect with the people who make or break the organization every day.

Conflict between branches or departments

Another organization with dozens of branches had been dealing with a major conflict for a long time. After many months, the damage to employees, reputation and customers was enormous, amounting to many €100,000. External parties had now made attempts to find out what was going on and how this could be broken. The working methods they chose were traditional and fell short: interviews, surveys, meetings.

The most difficult thing about these working methods is the following:

  • interviews: small-scale, lead time, subjective (processing of) data
  • survey: individualistic approach, no interaction, subjective processing
  • meeting: too many emotions, social pressure, risks of consequences (no privacy)

The moderator was put on the trail of CircleLytics Dialogue by management and asked the following questions within a few days:

“What can you do today to restore trust?”

In the second round they were asked which suggestions from others they support and what their significance will be for the customer.

“What have you done so far to find solutions?”

In the second round they were asked what they appreciated about what others had already tried and what their reflection is on how this could still work, or why they thought it had not worked so far.


“What obstacle is preventing solutions so far or even causing this situation?”

In the second round they were asked what they recognize or do not recognize about what others see, and what their concrete recommendation is to management to break this.


“What bothered you most in your work or private life because of this situation?”

In the second round they were asked what they recognize from what others say and what that means for themselves.


Numerous other questions were possible, and several subsequent interventions could also be deployed with new questions. Now that was not done, because the yield was already extremely high with these questions.

So everyone involved had complete privacy (anonymity) and days. To reflect yourself, but also to talk and think about this with others. That peace and privacy combines wonderfully and takes out the high emotion. It invites rest and – indeed – reflection. The invitation, i.e. the introduction and embedding of these questions, pays rather close attention. You invite people to think calmly, to be aware of a situation, and to achieve results together, as a collective: to express emotions and then think about what to do next.

The result was that the conflict ended and cooperation agreements were made, as well as a number of interventions in the distribution of costs and revenues, mutual recruitment and exchange of employees. The employees experienced an enormous relief: no one wants conflict and real space and time for emotion and reflection has never been offered – on this scale and in this way – until now. The organization now holds regular dialogues to jointly identify and improve challenges in a timely and positive manner, in any atmosphere or subject. They have stopped using the (pulse) surveys that HR used to send out.

Angry citizens because emergency post closes

A regional partnership of healthcare institutions was faced with the need to close the emergency room some time ago. The workload, the shortage of staff and the increasing flow of patients made this intervention necessary. Citizens have started making noise, complaining and protesting in various ways and through every channel available to them. Easy to understand from all kinds of emotions, considerations and needs. What now?

The partnership announced that it would hold a town hall: a physical room, with hundreds of residents, a story about the organization and passing around the microphone for questions. They asked us what they can do with dialogue & co-creation. With such high emotions (healthcare affects everyone’s body and mind) you must give space, time, but certainly also reason must be addressed, balance and a solution must be achieved. You don’t achieve enough if you only offer a limited percentage of residents a few hours to be angry and sad, without taking a step further than that.

The focus of the use of dialogue was to appeal to collective wisdom and consciousness, after giving space to emotion. How does that work?

  • An online, asynchronous (everyone at their own time and from their own place) dialogue was immediately started
  • with questions and a context to make people aware of the underlying bottlenecks with questions like the following and what smart thoughts or ideas they had
  • Access was widely communicated through many channels, so everyone could participate
  • This immediately provided many insights, (short) stories and experiences
  • of many, many more citizens than could fit in the room.


The meeting was then held, where attendees were immediately given the opportunity to participate if they had not already done so. This gave them an immediate outlet and they did not walk around with sky-high emotions. They were immediately taken seriously. They were then asked if people wanted to speak and quite a dozen did so. But just like a few hundred, a dozen inhabitants are completely inadequate to speak of representativeness. Then it is not surprising that directors cannot do much with such a meeting: it does not provide reliable information. The dialogue then started and residents could now participate in the second round on site, as well as those who were absent, from home or anywhere else.

In that second round they read stories, suggestions and ideas from others who thought differently than themselves. So many 1,000 residents went through many 1,000 opinions together, each with a set of 15, for approximately 4 questions. They score between -3 and +3 for the level of support. The 100s of residents in the room therefore also saw opinions from residents who had already participated in the days before. They were allowed to support each other’s opinions or not, and enrich them with their tips. In this way they could express emotion, but awareness of the problem was increased, they were made co-owners of ‘what to do next’ and management was prevented from having to base itself on the small group of ‘angry group of attendees’.

Questions were something like this:

“What do you already know, have you heard, read or learned about the problem, as mentioned in the introduction, and why the emergency room has to close several days a week?”

In the second round: what do you recognize about what others say or don’t say, and what thoughts does that evoke in you?


“What affects you most about the emergency post closing (several days a week) and why?”

In the second round: what do you recognize about what others say or don’t say, and what thoughts does that evoke in you?


“We mentioned above in the introduction how hard we are working on solutions and what they are now, but all of you together probably also have solutions that we have not yet thought of. Our question is therefore: which solution direction do we still need to explore? Why that ?”

In the second round: would you like to positively score the solutions of others who receive your support and explain how this can be successful? you may score solutions that you do not support negatively.

Prevention is better than cure. Our advice is to take your stakeholders seriously, engage in regular dialogue and identify emotions and bottlenecks in a timely manner. And above all: solve together, faster, better. This prevents problems from worsening, where situations can get out of hand and solutions are further from home. In that respect, healthcare has many difficult challenges for which the brainpower of large groups is important.

New manager after departure

The last case is a common one. Managers who leave the field, due to an insufficient match with their role or team, poor performance or otherwise (such as simply another job). For employees, their manager is incredibly important for the enjoyment they experience at work and how long they remain motivated at your organization. Research varies, but dissatisfaction with the direct manager is not self-evident and is one of the most important reasons employees give when they leave somewhere.

Considering – i.e. – departure, but also absenteeism (increasingly mental), low confidence and lack of involvement, you can say that this is a very charged and also emotional theme. The strange thing is that a new manager or director, especially in large departments or organizations, certainly does not speak to everyone during the first 100 days and learn what matters to them. Strange, what they become is the driving force behind the success… or the failure.

That is why we would like to share these cases, and especially examples of questions, which were asked to groups of 100s to 10,000s. In just a few days, with two rounds, which allowed for prioritization, but also made support/sentiment visible for what was given low priority. The design of your questions depends on how many degrees of freedom can be offered to employees:

There is already a well-defined profile for whatever reasons. Organizations then submit these types of questions:

“Take a close look at the attached profile. What is most important for the [department, organization, … ] and our multi-year plan, and why?”

In the second round you can ask what employees support (score positively) or do not support from what others said in the first round, and how that relates to that plan.


“And about that same profile. What is the most important thing for the people and the culture we have here?”

In the second round you can ask what they support (positive score) or not (negative score) and ask what tip they give to the new manager/director on this point.


If there is already a draft profile, this question can be added:


“What do you think is missing from the draft profile and, above all, why do you think it is so important to want to add?”

In the second round, you ask again about what is supported or not, and ask them to explain their scores.

In these cases, the outcome was a ranked, valued list with which the profile is tested and enriched. The qualitative results were used to prepare the recruitment and selection interviews. Immediately upon appointment, the manager/director was presented with the complete result, which gives him/her a detailed view of how all employees see their role, expectations and the relationship with the people who work here and the plans that are in place.

Of course, if there were no plans yet, additional questions were asked:

“What do you want to give the new manager/director as a priority and, above all: why this point?”

If nothing is yet on paper, the following was (is) asked:

“What is the most important thing we look for in the new manager/board for the [department, organization, …] and our multi-year plan, and why?”

In the second round you can ask what employees support (score positively) or do not support from what others said in the first round, and how that relates to that plan.

“And what is the most important thing we look for in him/her for the people who work here and the culture we have here?”

In the second round you can ask what they support (positive score) or not (negative score) and ask what tip they give to the new manager/director on this point.


Those were the cases we wanted to share with you now, when emotions are running high. The striking, or even logical, thing is that employee engagement, trust and longevity are under considerable pressure in many organizations. Moreover, (mental) absenteeism is high. So you could say: there is a lot of emotion and tension in organizations and people and it is time for new leadership that pays attention to, knows about and prioritizes:

  • deep, high-quality listening: irreplaceable by surveys, hear-say and going for a walk
  • the power of people who work together asynchronously on (difficult) issues
  • reliability of collective intelligence and prioritization by the group (60% better)
  • high speed of decision-making, precisely due to delay via two rounds (90% faster)

We have seen or helped design 1,000 qualitative issues at more than 400+ organizations, so feel free to plan your introduction, demo or design session (if you are already a user). And again: prevention is better than cure. The time is long gone when residents, employees, members and patients quietly wait for decisions to be made top-down. They make themselves heard, want to be taken seriously and have a degree of participation and influence on what happens in ‘their’ organization and society. So: structure that listening, enter into dialogue and above all: stay in dialogue.

We already wrote about your most compelling opening line to start the dialogue. Dialogue is fun: you can invite as many people as you and your issue want and need. Everyone can join whenever they want and they have privacy if they want. They learn from each other and rate your dialogue with a big eight! For your question design we have a whitepaper with 18 design principles, designing your question with our unique QuestionDesignLab and inspiration for the best completion of your question.

Request demo

In addition, we share here some complete texts as an invitation to your dialogue. Some of these were literally or near-literally deployed by organizations in previous dialogues. This means that 100,000s of people were involved, challenged and activated to think along, solve the puzzle and initiate change, collectively! Real change and transformations are a people-centric activity: whether the change is small (new working methods, new schedules) or major (energy transition, reorganization). Leadership of teams, departments and the entire organization, municipality, healthcare institution or other type of company thus embrace the power of people thinking, reflecting and increasing each others’ opening up to change. Quite a bit different from listening to people delegate to HR who delegates it to a survey platform. Everyone now admits that surveys have not delivered what they promised (even the CEOs of these types of platforms), that follow-up hardly takes place, and involvement, trust and connection have become weaker. Gallup currently measures that in many countries only dozen(s) % of employees consider themselves actively engaged.

We all need to move towards a new model of ‘listening’. One that we believe should be based on trust, dialogue, connecting and performing together. Close to work, close to change, close to action and above all: together. Driven by managers and open questions, supported by HR, instead of driven by HR surveys, with reports sent to managers. This applies not only to government organizations, healthcare, education, but also to commercial organizations and governments. And not only with their internal people, but also with their external people: patients, customers, members and residents.

Back to your dialogue: how do you compose your invitation? What can you even learn from your regular opening of a team meeting for example, such as in this blog from INSEAD. What do you need and want to say in it? How do you involve and touch your target group? How do you provide context and inform them?

What do we say in CircleLytics itself, when you draw up your invitation for your dialogue:

  • What is the call to action? What do you ask them? So that opening line…
  • What is the context, what information do participants need?
  • Who else do you ask besides the invitee who reads your invitation?
  • What is your intention to do with the results?
  • What would you like to share about the follow-up after your previous dialogue with this group?
  • How does this working method work, online, asynchronously, via two rounds?
  • What is the power of privacy, i.e. anonymity for participants?

We share below some invitations for your next dialogue, for your inspiration. Are you inspired by what others have designed? What will you change about these texts? Does it help you compose your dialogues faster and better? Whether it concerns challenging your team and preparing it well for a meeting next week, or inviting 1,000s of employees to make a change process more successful.



“More and more people are combining their job with caring for a loved one. Usually things go well, but the combination of work and informal care can also be challenging. We therefore ask you four open questions anonymously, to learn from all of you. What are we going to do with it?

Your opinions will be sent back anonymously to the rest of the participants in a few days. You value the opinions of others and in this way we know what we together find most important within the theme of informal care, and what not, and what could be improved. We will immediately return these action points to all managers, with instructions.”



“We are switching from our periodic survey to this dialogue. Much more fun, because there are only a few questions, they are open, because we are open to your opinion. And: you will hear back immediately about the results: you will receive an invitation to the second round, in which you can appreciate answers from others and enrich them with your recommendation to realize it.

This way it becomes fun, action-oriented and you together indicate what is most important and what is not. This allows us to send each manager a to-do list on the same day the dialogue ends!

Everything is anonymous and from now on we will do this every quarter on 3 to 5 topics maximum. From now on, we will involve you in topics that really matter and take action together. We are extremely curious about your ideas and solutions.”



“In our increasingly complex working environment with increasing workload, we, as HR want to continue to dialogue with you together and with the works council. In this way we learn together to know and pay attention to our energy, cooperation and the continued development of our organization, for our customers.

So no survey, because we work with open questions after which you can read the (differing) answers of others, learn from them and appreciate help. As a result, we know what really has support and we will discuss this result with the management in two weeks. We would like to emphasize that all contributions and results are anonymous. We want you to see the results concretely in your work. Thank you in advance.”



“Thank you for participating in this online dialogue for the new policy for ABC.

When creating this new policy, the patient is central and that is why we take your opinions into account when creating this new policy. By participating you directly contribute to improving care for people affected by ABC.

This dialogue consists of two rounds: in the first round you will be asked 3 open questions and 2 profile questions. Then you get to see the answers of others, then think differently than you. You can then respond to this; Do you agree with the others, do you agree with their ideas? Why, what is your advice on what we can do with this? As soon as round 2 starts, further explanation will follow in the invitation you will receive.

Privacy is well regulated with this working method: you participate from wherever you want, at your own time and it is anonymous.”



“Prior to our meeting next Friday, in which some of you will also participate, we would like to ask two questions to everyone who has to do with ABC. We have opted for this working method, anonymous and composed of two rounds. All answers from you and other participants are then selected and sorted using smart software and offered to you again. During the week, the second round starts and you can read and assess the answers of other participants. Which one do you think is best, what is your action point? Which one? If you don’t like it, why not?”



“In order to be able to have a concrete conversation with all managers during our quarterly day, we will also ask you this quarter to answer the open questions (and two closed) in this dialogue anonymously. This is possible until Thursday. After that you will be invited to to participate in round 2. You will then have the opportunity to respond to the answers of your colleagues and attach a score to them: what do you support and what do you not, and what is your specific suggestion? When the second round is concluded, a valuable ranking, with support!

The results are discussed in detail during the quarterly meeting. This way, managers can immediately start working on the best results and actions in their teams.”



“Your input as a new employee at ABC is very valuable. In this online dialogue we will look together for the best ideas to present and profile the organization as an attractive employer based on a unique set of values ​​that you find important.

We conduct this dialogue online, in an equal and anonymous manner. It will provide important ideas and insights into how ABC can better attract talent on the labor market and therefore be less affected by the staff shortage.

We have 5 questions ready that you can answer in no more than 10 minutes. Thank you again for making some time for this! In the second round you can learn from others again, and they from you. We are curious to see what will come of it. At the end, you will personally receive the results with the most highly rated contributions to our issue by email.”


And if they are used to this working method, you can limit your invitation to, for example:


“As you know, there is a major shortage of nurses. 20% more training places are needed to guarantee emergency care in the future. From September we will therefore train more students than now. We are very happy that many colleagues are have shown interest for our training. How great would it be if we kept them on board after their training.

Welcoming, coaching and inspiring these nurses-in-training is a task for all of us. We need your help too. We would love to hear what you need and what ideas you have to set this up properly together. The better we know what is needed, the better we can help each other. Will you participate again? Anonymous of course!”


Or even shorter:


“Many thanks again for our meeting last Wednesday. Not everyone could be there, and of course time was limited in such a meeting. That’s why now a few more questions for you and the entire Top 50. Anonymously and at your own time. After you have answered a few questions yourself, and the first round ends, you will be invited to the second round, in which you can appreciate and supplement the opinions of others. So listen, learn and formulate actions together.”


And if it is a follow-up dialogue to a previous one….


“Thanks to the previous dialogues, meetings and decision-making, we have implemented the new management structure. We are curious whether you are already noticing the effects of this change, both in a positive sense and in a critical sense and where you see improvement possible or necessary .

This time we will ask you three open questions through this online dialogue. In the first round you answer the questions and in the second round you can view and rate the answers of your colleagues. All responses are anonymous, so your input in the first round counts equally, and everyone’s support for others’ contributions in the second round counts equally. The results of the dialogue are immediately available and therefore immediately scheduled for the following week. This way we can quickly achieve improvement and action together. Thank you again!”


“We are curious about your opinion about the tasks of the role of ABC. In order to listen and understand you as front line employees in our region, we will regularly have these online, anonymous dialogue with you. Unlike a survey, you can read each other’s answers, learn from these and vote these up or down. Unlike a meeting, we offer privacy, time to think and we can all really participate and have influence.

So see this dialogue as an online way to work together smarter, securely. The results will be shared with you through your manager and this has already been planned and agreed upon. You can access the link to answer the questions from your laptop or phone, 24 hours a day. So choose your own moment. Thank you in advance for your contribution.”



“You have been working with the existing roster arrangement for several years. This is currently being evaluated and perhaps revised. We are curious about your input. How do you experience the rosters? What is good or could be improved. Tell us now anonymously, respond to the input from others and together, in this online way, show what the ‘new schedules’ project team should pay attention to. In this way we do our best to include as many wishes as possible. So please join us and tell us and tell us tell us what we should pay attention to?”



“As announced, you will receive the online dialogue with which you can give your opinion and ideas to make our team day a success. To get a good idea of ​​what we consider important together, we have four questions for you. In the first round you can you can give your response and in the second round you can view the contributions of colleagues and indicate to what extent you support or reject this idea or opinion. You can immediately give a recommendation so that we can take action together more quickly. This way a supported prioritization will be established, which we will further elaborate during our team day.”



“How is team-based working currently developing for you and for your team? We want to learn from your experiences in this new phase of team-based working. With this dialogue, as a change project team we want to hear from you through open questions how you view different aspects of team-based working and where you need more or different support. This allows teams to learn from each other and we learn how further implementation from teams can be relaxed and improved.

As after previous dialogues, the project team ensures that the results have a direct impact on the acceleration, deceleration and reinforcement that the teams need. This is how we build change together.”



And who also sees these types of extremely short texts, if this working method is used regularly? It therefore replaces a meeting, which is often expensive, more difficult to plan, not everyone comes, and usually does not offer time to listen to each other and reflect. Managers save a lot of time but also improve quality.

“I would like you to think about the following so that we can quickly solve and prevent this. You know how it works: two rounds, anonymously and I will come back to our choices based on the results on Monday.”



And if your issue is quite sensitive, or it is in a very early phase:

“We have started the ABC project, to achieve …. We want to understand in this early phase, what initial thoughts you have about this. Would you like to share them anonymously and then indicate what you think of others’ opinions, and why? We do this with this online dialogue, via two subsequent rounds. As a project team, we are curious about this first dialogue and do not yet know what we can do with it in concrete terms: first we want to listen! We may do it more often do with everyone involved at ABC.”


And if you want to go through decision-making with your target group:


Through previous dialogues and workshops with different groups, we have learned that there are four main topics. The dialogues also made it clear to us what we mean by these topics and what steps are required. This means we can now make decisions with you. Very nice to work together with so many people in this way!

For each decision we will ask whether you agree with it, together with your substantiation. If this is not the case, we would like to hear what objection or alternative you have. In the second round you see the reactions of others and you can support them with your scores or not. Everyone can then give a new and definitive answer to the question of whether you agree with the proposed decision. We will find out whether many supported objections can still be taken into account. Everything is anonymous, and in three weeks you will know the result. Thank you!


That’s it for now. We design hundreds of invitation texts this way every year, and so do our customers! Follow our blogs and posts on Linkedin and stay informed of new cases, inspiration and more about the power of people who think, experience, learn and solve together. Are you planning an appointment with us to get acquainted, for a demo or to help design your dialogue?

Dialoog feestje

A dialogue is a party! Especially online and especially asynchronously. Different from a workshop where most people are not invited. Because how many really fit in such a meeting room or Teams session? And unlike a survey or poll that does not offer any interaction between participants who think differently than themselves. There are more people and therefore more brainpower than a meeting allows, and we learn much more from each other than a survey tool understands. Online dialogue combines all that: any number of people, learn from each other and then tell them what you think about it again, and participate at your own time and from your own place. Collaboration at its best!

Request demo

Dialogue is fun!

At a party you have music, a drink and a snack. That connects, that invites. In dialogue, language is the music, time to think and learn from each other is the drink, and (privacy) anonymity is the bite!


How do you apply language to connect invitees to your subject, your challenge, your issue? What do you want to see answered, why, by whom and what are you going to do with it? This also feeds the unique QuestionDesignLab, which enables you to design strong, specific open questions, jointly with the CircleLytics platform.

You will have to delve deeper into these questions, into your issue, the context, the limitations, the degrees of freedom. And you have to think about the people you invite. Why do you do that, why do they participate, what, for what? You probably enter into online, asynchronous (any moment, any place) dialogue because other working methods do not do justice to your situation, your issue, nor your talented audience. Depth, importance, different perspectives, giving people time, showing trust, necessary anonymity, increasing awareness among participants: and there are even more reasons to choose online dialogue over other working methods such as surveys or meetings. If you list a limited number of keywords as to why you are inviting them, you have come a long way. Now that you have written down the why, you are ready for the next step.

Then write what you are inviting them to. To discover or analyze something together? Or to solve something, be creative or even innovative? Or to predict something, to think about something that still lies (partly) in the future? Or do they look back, do you want to evaluate something? Clearly connect to the phase your issue is in. Suppose you are working on a complex change process, and you are in the “knowledge” phase of, for example, the ADKAR model, then focus on that and be clear. Demarcate. A customer organization (that does not exactly follow a specific change model) recently deliberately asked questions that did not provide definition (such as the components of PDCA or ADKAR). They learned that different groups appeared to be in different phases of these models, and that these different groups could learn and accelerate from each other through each other’s experience. Or think of a very open question as to why employees would choose this organization again today. So the message is: know what you choose: how sharply you demarcate or not, what degrees of freedom you have to offer.

And then, on to the preparation of the party!


Where do people come from (mentally, intellectually, background of the company, etc), what is their context, what do they already know? What do they need to know from you about the issue before they can respond to your questions? And in addition to being able to do so, they must also want to do so. Are they busy, rushed, stressed, why? Are they loyal, absent, disinterested, committed, why? Fortunately, we are all curious and the participants share that they work at your organization, department or team, or live in the same city or district, or belong to the same association: there are always similarities, as well as differences. Write down in a number of key words what your target group ‘looks’ like. For example, you can describe a number of personas with keywords. Hold this up to a few colleagues: do they recognize these personas and descriptions?


What will you do afterwards with the results of the dialogue? Tell them, write it down in your concept dialogue! It may be that you don’t know that yet: then say so. You may have a management meeting two weeks later with the results and then you want to communicate what the follow-up actions are. You may use it as input for a meeting with a project group and come back later in the quarter. Make sure it matches reality, your reality. Under promise, over deliver. In other words, be precise about the expectations you create and don’t want to create. People want clarity about why they participate, and not just what and how. That’s why we say: when designing your new dialogue: start at the end. What is planned, or a concern, an ambition, a bottleneck, a duty or a goal? Reason back from there to give people clarity about what is being done with it.

You already notice it. A workshop with a group or a survey with roughly 20-30 questions is simply set up and carried out faster. But not better, usually worse. And the good news: you can learn to design a dialogue! And our opinion is: you should always make this preparation: for every working method or intervention, but those other working methods are chosen without thinking, and out of habit, while this is not always the case with dialogue. Always prepare well is our starting point: it takes time, but you will be rewarded in quality, visibility, engagement and in faster and more precise decision making.


It is important and necessary to think hard about all these things. Your brain delves into the other person and the issue and how you connect them together. The easy way simply yields less. The path of dialogue is more meaningful but tougher. That’s why we do it together 🙂


How will participants join this CircleLytics Dialogue? Tell them that you offer privacy (anonymity), give them some days of thinking time. And explain that they are rewarded by the second round, in which they will see answers from others who think differently than them. They will have meaningful influence this way.


And for the leaders among us (as far as we are concerned, we all are, because we open ourselves up to people who think differently!): people expect quite a bit from you! In fact, it can make them stay or leave. Or for your dialogue that you are now preparing: it can make them participate or drop out. This is the perfect opportunity to show that you listen and want to involve people in issues that are also theirs and that can be solved better together. Our reading tip is “How to Listen” by Oscar Trimboli or listen to the Deep Listening podcasts.

Now let’s share and experiment with language.


Opening lines:

We seriously need you to understand how […] came about and more importantly: what we can do about it together.

Or better yet: I need you for the following.

That’s even more personal. But you can also do it more informally:

How nice that you want to participate. Important too, because […] is about all of us.

or …

It’s great that you took the time and are interested in […]. Important too, because with this we ensure that … .


Alternatives, depending on context, where you and everyone come from (see our introduction above):

As you heard, we stopped doing surveys because we couldn’t do anything with them, although we tried. Measuring via surveys turns out not to be knowing nor learning. Now we are going to listen much better in an innovative way: through this online dialogue.

We finally want to get started on improving […] and we can do that more intelligently together.

We have been hired to guide the management and department to […] accelerate, and we want to do this by involving the entire department: all of you.

Do you know how […] it can be delivered to the customer in a shorter time, say in 10% less time? Then take part in this challenge now.

As MT, we want to know what we can feasibly tackle to reduce workload, while we want to maintain and achieve our commercial goals. That’s not easy, so join in!

What do you think about […] and what is needed to achieve […] within two years? Will you please help us figure this out together?

You can emphasize the help you need from people. That’s nice, because when you ask others for help, they are happy to offer it. This is reflected in their response, both quantitatively, qualitatively and in terms of diversity.

Other alternatives:

What are your thoughts about […] and would you like to share them anonymously and learn what others think about […]? Then we challenge you to participate in this online dialogue through two rounds.

This is not a survey: we really want to know what you think about it and therefore ask you open questions. There are only three, but serious questions about an equally serious subject that we all have an interest in: […].

Discussions we have had with various colleagues show that […] must be given priority. Together with you, we want to understand why and, above all, what this will mean for all of us, and especially: the customer.

What have you learned in recent months or years about […] that we can all learn from?

Be precise, keep your sentences short, and realize that you can place more or less emphasis on feeling, relationship, process, content, etc.

Just compare:

The management wants to understand your feelings and impressions about the newly announced cost savings and therefore anonymously asks you some open questions about it.

Versus this:

The management explained the need to save costs last Tuesday and this can be read via this link […]. What additional cost savings can you think of?

If you choose to enter into dialogue but also to stay in dialogue, you can beautifully refer to a previous dialogue:

Thank you for your suggestions and openness to the previous dialogue about […], which has allowed us to achieve […]. This month we once again present an important issue to you.

And how and where in your text do you talk about privacy, hence anonymity? Depending on the mood and confidence surrounding the issue, its context and the target group involved, you can dedicate different sentences to it, such as the following:

Your contribution to this dialogue is anonymous.

So, nice and clear. Short and sweet. Sometimes you have to start talking about that right away, in your first sentence.

And what if a breach of trust recently occurred? For example, because during an employee survey rumors spread that “managers knew who did and did not participate.” Unfortunately that happens. We hear it from the agencies themselves. Of course that’s morally wrong of them. Your text might need some extras, when turning to CircleLytics Dialogue as your new listening solution:

Your contribution to this dialogue is anonymous. Nothing can be technically traced back to you as an individual and this is established in contracts. If you have any questions about this, you can reach our privacy officer via this email address […].

Or in relation to the culture that exists in your organization:

We want you to be able to think completely freely and independently about […]. For that reason, this dialogue is anonymous: nothing can be traced back to a participant. Also, take your time.

In order to really include every colleague in the policy for […], in addition to meetings, we want to hold this online, anonymous dialogue. Every thought and contribution is good and this anonymous working method has been chosen to remove all barriers.

If people are under pressure and so is your issue, addressing the delay now through online dialogue is critical. Showing even more haste is not exactly what is needed. Slow down.

It is important to solve the problem together as quickly as possible and to understand how we can prevent this from happening in the future. Therefore, take a few days to think about it or discuss it with colleagues, for example.

We’ll leave it at this for now. Hopefully it inspires you to get started with your dialogue and start the party! Preferably together with others, or together with us. Feel free to schedule a design session here.

The essence of CircleLytics Dialogue is that you apply the power of language to connect people with each other, and to your challenge, through the power of open questions. This requires first of all your leadership, a clear context and compelling open questions, and last but not least, the best online solution to make this all happen. We have for this reason, now developed QuestionDesignLab (QDL), with many, many 1,000s of questions that are intelligently suggested, based on your preferences and on anything you’ve typed about your dialogue, such as an invitation, subject, etc. Below we explain how you can reveal and finetune these preferences, so that QDL continues to provide better suggestions.
Request demo

We also recommend that you read why you start designing your dialogue from the end and then go back: what do you want to see answered and what do you want to achieve or bring about with it? We published this earlier article at CHRO.nl about the power of people as one big brain.

Preferences: pay attention to the order

What are those preferences that are read and understood by QDL? When listing and briefly describing these preferences, you need to remember two things: they are in order of importance, and for that reason there is some kind of weighting factor behind them. So the first preference that we explain to you below counts more than the one that comes after, et cetera. We also apply an analysis of scarcity of words: some are more unique and relevant than other words. So, the best and fastest thing is that you do something with all those preferences! It gets you faster to the question you’ve always been looking for! Important, because it – to say it like that – forces you think hard, have doubt, try again, rethink and start writing. What is the context, why are you inviting them and what are you inviting them to? What is the specific thing you are inviting them to? What is your intention to do with it? We wrote about this earlier when designing the opening sentences in your invitation. We recommend that you read this through.

The text field for the question

When you are in your Question tab (see image), you immediately start formulating your question there, or at least put in a number of keywords in the text field for the question. The more specific and the more you type there, the better. What you type here will be remembered when you then click on the icon: the QDL icon is located to the left of your question field: that chemistry bottle! Then the lightbox opens. But first, these steps to clarify your preferences!


Subject of your dialogue

See the screenshot above. Don’t forget: you apply language in all these places to bridge the gap between your intention and dialogue purpose and your target group. The topic can be substantive such as: home work, training, diversity, reorganization, agile working, etc, etc. But it can also be a different angle, eg. Quarterly Dialogue, The Dialogue #1, Follow-up to Workshop, Question of the Month, etc. etc.

Specific context for a question

For each question, you may write a specific question, in addition to the general explanation (invitation). This helps the respondent to focus even more clearly on the precise purpose of your question, and also feeds into the QuestionDesignLab’s intelligence to suggest questions to help you in designing.

General explanation

In your Context tab you can then formulate your general explanation for your dialogue, for the first round. In that text field (see screenshot) we shared our advice about what you would like – or even should – to say there. This also really encourages you to think about what you want to achieve with your target group of invited people. And so it directly feeds the QuestionDesignLab to provide more intelligent suggestions.


Type or select words

If you click the QDL icon next to the question field in your Questions tab, you will end up in the QDL lightbox. If you have expressed one or more of the above preferences, you will immediately receive appropriate suggestions. You can then refresh these suggestions with the arrow icon (see screenshot), on the right side of the suggestion. You can click and select words that will appear in the text field above. That also feeds QDL for your new suggestions! You can also add a suggestion to your favorites list with the heart, which you also see in the screenshot (right side, tab). You can draw on this for subsequent questions or dialogues, and QDL will only show you a relevant selection of these favourites, depending again on all you’ve filled in in other text fields, such as context, question field, etc.








Interests and Models

In your dashboard, your homepage, you can activate Interests and Models, see the screenshot below. These preferences then feed the QuestionDesignLab to provide more intelligent suggestions. When you are in the QDL lightbox itself, you can also search very specifically for suggestions by clicking the Interests or Models tab (see screenshot below). You will then receive suggestions that already belong to those Interests or Models. If you stay at the suggestions tab in the QDL lightbox, we will ensure that the suggestions shown take your interests and clicked models into account. We are going to add many more models by the way.

And furthermore, good to know

  • if you often request new suggestions from QDL, we will show a message to specify some more preferences as described above, so that QDL can perform optimally with and for you
  • you can select a suitable suggestion with the button that appears next to it, and then click this Apply button and further edit it yourself: you can add closed scales, set the second round or not, etc; don’t forget to design a very strong ending to your question: just take a look at these tips
  • When you leave your QDL lightbox, make sure you click Apply so you don’t lose what is in your question field.

And: book a session with us to carry out or continue the design together. It’s probably included in your contract. There are no costs involved for partners.

Lots of fun and success with QuestionDesignLab and especially with the people with whom you will work on your problem. If you already have questions, book an appointment using this link.

The power of involving people with each other and in your organization’s challenges is needed everywhere. Issues concerning absenteeism, projects that are struggling, changes with the customer, your supply chain, achieving objectives, etc: you want to know quickly and thoroughly what is going on, how to solve it, and how to prevent it from happening again.
Request demo

Having been through one or more dialogues yourself, you know:

  • That you have to start with the end in sight,
  • How to move from themes to questions,
  • How to draft good questions and which principles are important,
  • How to keep response rates high,
  • You come to action through and after your dialogue
  • How to harness the diversity of everyone’s thinking.

Now is the time to share your experiences with others. Why? For some obvious reasons.

Reasons to further expand the use of dialogue

Firstly, problems that are not on your plate, but on the organization’s plate, are solved faster and better using CircleLytics Dialogue. Not only are you helping others; you are helping your organization.

Secondly, more employees are involved more often, in more relevant challenges and more issues. This is great, because it directly contributes to more commitment and more trust, in each other and in the organization. You bear the burden of issues together more easily and are you will be smarter and more creative together.

Thirdly, the organization’s agility increases because people are more aware, quicker and more willing to change and adapt. Employees are more forthcoming and see more (together). Using the multi-step dialogue approach, they understand each other’s different opinions and solutions and become more flexible in their thinking and the way they respond.

Fourthly, you realize a culture of dialogue, of learning and encourage connection between people and between people and the organization. This increasingly pushes the regular meeting or regular survey into the background (no more survey fatigue!). You save time and cost, and gain intelligence and engagement.

Fifthly, you get more meaning and value from the collaboration between your organization and CircleLytics. You usually already save costs with the initial dialogue (that’s our bet) but the value you get from better decision-making, faster and more sustainable change and more employee commitment is worth many times over. Sharing access to this platform and dialogues with your colleagues simply delivers more.

Finally, it prevents knowledge and skills to deploy dialogues, co-creation and collective intelligence from being lost the moment you leave the organization or change positions. Don’t underestimate what you bring about by reaching out to 100s or even 10,000s of employees, prompting them, engaging them, touching them and driving them to change. This, we believe, is at the heart of Future of Work and employee engagement; deploying technology, the power of people combined with the power of AI, or (re)engaging people, solving problems and creating value. Spread the possibilities of dialogue, co-creation and collective learning, your inspiration and experience will help others. How do you ensure continued onboarding?

Employees are ready. Your leadership too?

Onboarding new users within your organization goes a lot easier if the organization’s leadership is ready for it. After all, it requires quite a step in terms of leadership. Usually, leadership is used to:

  • taking the decisions and set the direction themselves; as far as we are concerned, this does not change and co-creation and dialogue does not mean giving up this role, it just means being able to execute in a better substantiated way, realizing changes with higher speed and greater chance of success
  • discussing and weighing options in small teams; however, that small team does not know what the larger team (the whole organization) knows, learns, sees and can solve; so in this case leadership makes a big step by inviting the entire organization ‘virtually’ instead of a small team
  • hiring a few external consultants and not 1,000s of internal ‘consultants’; usually, those external consultants go through interviews and an ‘old-fashioned’ survey to gather insights and data. This can now change; for complex, important challenges, you actually ‘turn on’ the collective of employees, gaining their commitment, and your external consultant can just get to work with CircleLytics Dialogue, of course.

If the leadership sees ‘collective intelligence and collective learning’, things will be a lot easier, but even without that, you can inspire others and make them co-users.

What is needed to get other colleagues to work with CircleLytics Dialogue?

The easiest thing to do is to contact us. We can let you know immediately whether your contract has agreed that other users can be allowed. CircleLytics usually allows an unlimited number of users in its contracts and would like to let your organization ‘use the dialogue widely’, although the contract regularly contains a limited number of dialogues versus group size. We can let you know if you have an unlimited contract, also in terms of the number of dialogues, and if the contract allows you to target external or only internal audiences, has a restriction as to the countries in which it can be used, or perhaps can only be used with a certain (legal) entity or component within your organization.

The Processor Agreement may need to be expanded (due to the GDPR and privacy/security requirements of your organization and ours) to include type of target group (e.g. for external, if it is now only for internal use), or the type of personal information processed in dialogues by other colleagues. Personal information concerns characteristics such as age category, department, function, etc. This often goes smoothly and your privacy/security officer can amend the annex to the Processor Agreement.

Data of participants such as their contributions are processed automatically, unless agreed otherwise in your contract and something can be traced back to a participant. We can ‘customize’ this technically, so that it legally matches the needs of the organisation and the privacy/security requirements of your privacy officer/organization. We can also turn that on/off for a specific user.

You can also very easily check the administrator of your account’s contract and options for you as a new user or for your colleague if you are already a user. You can find this user manager via the drop-down menu in your Dashboard button at the top right after you are logged in. In your Profile, you can see the user administrator for your account and their e-mail address. You can let your colleagues know or inform that person yourself and provide names of colleagues who also want to use CircleLytics. This administrator knows, as we do, whether the contract is flexible for additional dialogs and users. If necessary, an additional quote can be requested and sent, usually within 24 hours, for additional costs. We charge only once for fixed costs for a certain duration and organisation size.

For example, suppose your organization consists of 10,000 employees, but your current contract covers only one section, consisting of 2,500 employees, and the term is 6 months. If more users are desired, who want to use CircleLytics throughout the year with other or more than these 2,500 employees, we can extend the contract for the ‘excess’ of 12 minus 6 = 6 months and 10,000 minus 2,500 employees = 7,500 employees. This means that the fixed costs already paid are not charged again. We often renew the contract, and credit the remaining part of the already running contract.

The user administrator can now create new users and assign rights and you can get to work right away. If you are the user administrator, you can add a personal message to the automatically sent login details. This way, the new user can get started right away and knows that they can come to you for questions.

Dialogs can be branded with a house style each. This means that within one account of your organization, you can apply a logo because of an event, project or otherwise. We see this for example in organizations where HR, the Works Council as well as project teams use CircleLytics. They sometimes want their own look and feel.

A new user immediately receives initial instructions and guidance in their e-mail with the login credentials to quickly (self) start the first dialogue. After logging in, various tips and instructions are displayed in the dashboard, access to topics with ready-made sample questions, a white paper with principles to design questions and tutorial videos. In addition, contact details are offered to schedule an appointment for training, guidance on designing your dialogue or otherwise.

Finally, we recommend that organizations inform the internal communications department, colleagues from HR, works council, commerce and other key managers. Especially your communication colleagues can show through videos, case descriptions, infographics and in other ways that this organization connects its people, and brings about a culture of ‘learning, solving and doing together’.

Onboarding, in our view, is all about:

  • Leadership
  • Applications, cases and communicating the impact
  • Practical instructions and training for use.

With this blog for onboarding new users, we aim to ensure that the power of people combined with technology, is unlocked across your organization.

Contact us with your questions, a demo, training, introduction or just because you are curious!


We now know that, as employees, we are keen to be involved in the challenges facing the organization. We want to share our thoughts and participate. It is in us, in people. Terms like co-creation, dialogue and collective intelligence are already quite normal for modern organizations that embrace the future of work.

Yet for many organizations, too often, they think that employees do not want to participate, do not know, and they throw one (pulse) survey after another at them without truly engaging them to help understand and solve matters. HR and management take the poor response, absence of the real ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind the numbers, and survey fatigue for granted. We know that plenty of organizations let this happen, with genuine despondency or reasons such as ‘we stick to our survey approach’. Read more about how to deepen and continue the survey afterwards with the CircleLytics Dialogue here.

A poor or outdated employee survey leads to unnecessary loss of engagement and enthusiasm of people and therefore loss of performance of your organization. If your organization is in a constant state of change, as I’m sure it is, and people leave pretty quickly when they can, you need all your employees extra badly. Without them, nothing happens. So you want a high response rate on everything you do with them. Agree?

We are often asked about our golden tips for getting such a high response rate on our employee dialogue,s up to 84%. Besides this high quantity, we are increasingly famous for the high quality of the responses and the rich insights that management can immediately put to work. We base these golden tips on 1,000 deliberate open-ended questions asked by 300+ organizations to many 100,000s of employees. So they are actual experiences rather than tips.

Wonder which ones you recognize, apply or want to try?

First some serious tips, then a list of lighter, still useful, stuff.


Read here also our blog “We are already conducting employee surveys. Why do we need dialogue?”

From generic, closed questions to specific, open-ended questions

Nothing is general. No culture is the same. You serve a slightly different market. With different talented employees than your competitors. You set yourself apart as much as possible. You innovate and change constantly. Just as every person is unique, so is every team and organization. As a result, you have to deal with unique, specific situations that others simply do not know. You want to improve, strengthen and change your specific situation with us, the employees. Our first experience is that you have to let go of asking only general, closed questions. You may think you are safe with closed questions, because you asked them last time and others in your industry do the same. However, specific, open-ended questions will solve your specific problems and ensure that you take employees along in making change happen, embrace change.


Limit the number of questions and focus on relevance

If you want people to focus on answering your questions, you better make sure your questions are relevant. This is how you keep people’s attention. And that is what we want. We don’t want to respond to dozens of topics that don’t mean that much to us. It makes us tired, confused and irritated. Don’t just focus on one or two relevant topics at the most; focus on the essence. What is Einstein quote futurethe one question that makes the difference and triggers discussions and thoughts, and that people want to answer? Focus more on questions about the present and the future, instead of the past. Read our White Paper that includes 18 guiding principles to design your own rock-solid, open-ended questions that lots of people really want to answer.


Plan the follow-up in advance and … stick to it.

Deliberate open-ended questions deliver deliberate open answers. A goldmine for managers. When you ask for solutions and receive them, arranged and explained, you can take action. Immediately. Finally. And we, as employees, support these solutions because we helped come up with them ourselves. Open-ended questions make it so much easier to follow up on your employee survey. Ask questions that match your management agenda, or first examine with managers which topics, changes and challenges are the most important. Turn these into rock-solid open-ended questions and send them out. The answers roll in within the first few hours. And after a few days, you can ask the group to rate and prioritize their answers and comment to that. Just like that, in your dashboard and reports, without having to do anything. So in the invitation, already tell them that you will start working on the answers. And moreover, tell them when they will hear or see something of it. Rewarding too because the actions you can take now will be visible soon. Walk their talk. This way, you build up trust and credibility. And that trust will help you in your next dialogue, when you want to understand, solve and improve things together with people again.

Curious? Plan your demo or just an exchange of thoughts with the CircleLytics team here.

Use the power of dialogue: that second round, people are so curious!

Make sure that the open-ended questions you ask are followed by the built-in 2nd round of CircleLytics Dialogue. People can then indicate which ideas and answers of others they like or dislike. Each person takes on a different set of answers of 10-15. There are a number of reasons for this process; open answers are best processed by people. After all, they understand the context, the language of the workplace and they can read between the lines. No algorithm is capable of doing what a human being does: producing meaningful language and understanding what another person says and means. Another point of attention is that the second round of dialogue stimulates people to think again about your questions which leads to new thoughts. They usually score positively on answers that do not resemble their own! So you get truly unique, otherwise unobtainable, insights. 70% of the people even rate much more than 10-15! No wonder the CircleLytics Dialogue scores an 8 on a scale of 10; they simply find it a lot of fun to do! It often even attracts additional, unique participants who did not (yet) participate in round one!

Please state in your invitation that this is nót a survey

Surveys are simply not popular anymore. You have to do something new here. Employee surveys suffer from this even more: too often, an agency has let slip who did not respond, violating privacy and damaging reputations. Moreover, surveys do not explicitly ask for participants’ own open answers but tick off questions with smileys and scores. This does not do justice to the value of people, their experiences, their knowledge and their ideas. So announce immediately, if your organization has been working with surveys, that this is not one, and that their own opinions are now central. That will immediately wake people up and get them involved, which is exactly what you want. One of our clients Royal HaskoningDHV explains how CircleLytics Dialogue increases employee engagement.

Quality over quantity?

To validate the results of your research, you need a good response rate. Statistically considered and calculated, for a group of 2,500 people for example, this is easily a response of 300 people. In CircleLytics Dialogue, you will find the calculation module (see screenshot) and you can enter your population, required reliability (representativeness for the entire group) and error margin (how deviant the entire group would react).


In the case of difficult or very creative questions, it is possible that your response in the 1st round is lower than average, but of high quality. That is why the 2nd round is so valuable: people are delighted that others have completed the 1st round and they can contribute in the 2nd round. Reading dozens of ideas and contributions from others, reflecting on them and scoring them, selecting important words and explanations is unprecedentedly valuable. Your unique response after those two rounds (unique participants, i.e. de-doubled) will then increase considerably, often by 10-25%. Then promote the second round strongly, with a good, appealing invitation to the second round. With the tips and experiences from this blog and our White Paper for rock-solid open-ended questions, we will help you to maximize the response rate, even for difficult subjects or subjects that require creativity. In your dashboard, we keep track of your unique response across all your dialogs. It is very useful to see that over time you have reached most of your organization once or more!


Next to the above tips and experiences, we have compiled the attached list of all kinds of tips. We will take these and other experiences with us to make your dialogues and employee surveys smarter and richer too!


Extra tips:

  • Keep your language simple but don’t simplify the subject
  • Give advance notice of the upcoming dialogue through a known channel and show and tell what is to come
  • In your invitation (email/announcement), tell people that you need them and value their opinions.
  • Immediately tell them it is anonymous and repeat that word often.
  • Tell them what’s in it for them: learning from other opinions is hugely valuable, as is a measure of influence on decision-making.
  • Be transparent and show vulnerability: tell them that you do not understand something and what that is as an introduction
  • Announce the 2nd round and choose your language; ask them to prioritize? vote? choose?

Some more tips:

  • Use 1 or 2 reminders per round and make them appealing and challenging
  • Use different (trusted) communication channels, in addition to their e-mail, to reach them
  • Recruit the largest possible, relevant group of participants so that your issue resonates even more
  • In your invitation, explain what you have been able to do with the previous dialogue output: show that they have influence
  • Use images to recruit people on intra/internet
  • In the invitation of the 2nd round, repeat the reason for asking them again
  • Make sure your salutation is appropriate for the target group and the subject, so choose your tone and words well
  • Add a video in which someone explains the importance of participation and what is being done with it.


Quite a bit of work right?

Yes, questioning people is quite a bit of work. Designing a handful of deliberate open-ended questions can be a challenge. But after that, everything rolls in by itself! Because of the dialogue form of CircleLytics, the difficult work is done by participants, and they love it and execute that task collectively. They are taken seriously, they value, prioritize, and enrich, and – with some help of our AI / language processing and reporting – instant results are available. But you have to think about your questions cleverly and recruit as many people as possible. Remember: people love the dialogue and your open-ended questions. With that, the hardest part is behind you and most of the question ‘how do I recruit people’ is answered and you are up for a high response.

You can always ask us for help in designing and recruiting for your dialogues!


Contact us today to get started tomorrow.



Back to top
Close Offcanvas Sidebar