We argue that a focus on practices can enrich the study of global governance by drawing attention to a wealth of informal processes and their politics. After explaining the usefulness of a practice approach, we examine four pervasive practices in contemporary world politics: hosting a global conference, accrediting NGOs, mandating a group of experts, and forming multistakeholder partnerships. For each of these established ‘ways of doing things,’ we provide a definition, decline its variations, and analyze its politics. Through our case studies, we show that global governance practices often generate competing social effects, by which inclusionary trends combine with more exclusionary tendencies. This common dialectic of inclusion and exclusion provides an analytical key to better understand the politics of global public policy making, including its power dynamics.