Levels of Consensus Tool

How Do You Know When You've Reached a Consensus?

To measure consensus, ask for a show of hands. Participants hold up their hands, with fingers extended to demonstrate their level of support for the decision to be made.

Fingers Level of Consensus
5 I strongly support this decision
4 I support this decision
3 The decision is OK
2 I am uncomfortable with this decision, but I can live with it
1 I dislike this decision, but defer to the wisdom of the group and promise not to sabotage it
0 / fist I veto this decision. We definitely need to discuss the matter further


A proposal is accepted if greater than 75 percent of the potential votes (i.e., fingers) are cast, and if there are no fists held up.

Example

  • 14 people have 70 total votes (fingers)
  • 75 percent of this is 53 votes (fingers)
  • 53 fingers and no fists are needed to accept this proposal

Adapted From: Lessons from the Field: Real Strategies for Engaging and Informing the Public (8/2/2000)