Continuing our short series on quick facilitation hacks I use all the time:
If you notice a group is getting a bit mired in binary thinking (i.e. “We have to choose this or that,” or “The world looks like this or that”), I find it helpful to draw a line on a whiteboard, with their two options at either end. Then I ask them:
- To identify options that lie between the two ends, or perhaps a third way that takes a detour off the path I’ve drawn; and/or
- To plot where they sit, individually, on that continuum between the options (usually by inviting them to put an X on the line itself so that everyone can see the spread of the group’s opinions).
This invitation tends to draw the group into more nuanced, creative thinking.
It also gives them new shared, shorthand vocabulary for the positions they are holding. I often label them “position A” and “position B” and then ask the group if there might be a C or a D. Making the positions visible provides an easy way to talk about various options quite quickly as a group.
And the whole thing takes about 2 minutes! Works like a charm.
One Reply to “My Go-To Tool”
This seems like a great way to de-escalate conflict or neutralize emotions. Talking about A, B, C, and D doesn’t carry the same emotional weight. Thanks!