Fist to Five

A technique for achieving group consensus


When a group comes to a consensus on a matter, it means that everyone in the group can support the decision; they don’t have to think it’s the best decision, but they all agree they can live with it. Whenever a group is discussing a possible solution or coming to a decision on any matter, fist-to-five is a good tool to determine what each person’s opinion is at any given time.

What to do

To use this technique the leader restates a proposal that has been made and asks everyone to show their level of support. Each person responds by showing a fist or a number of fingers that correspond to their opinion.


A no vote – a way to block consensus. “I need to talk more on the proposal and require changes for it to pass.”

1 Finger:
“I still need to discuss certain issues and suggest changes that should be made.”

2 Fingers:
“I am more comfortable with the proposal but would like to discuss some minor issues.”

3 Fingers:
“I am not in total agreement but feel comfortable to let this decision or proposal pass without further discussion.”

4 Fingers:
“I think it’s a good idea / decision and will work for it.”

5 Fingers:
“It’s a great idea and I will be one of the leaders in implementing it.”


If anyone holds up fewer than 3 fingers, they should be given the opportunity to state their objections and the group should address their concerns. Continue the fist-to-five process until consensus is achieved (a minimum of three fingers or higher from everyone) or determine they must move on to the next issue.

Take it Further

If you want to think more about democracy, take a look at Vote Vote Vote!

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