May 9 2011
To “debrief” means to “question to obtain knowledge or gather intelligence.” It’s helpful to begin debriefs with open-ended questions such as:
* What are you thinking about after that content?
* What–if anything–struck you about that?
* What’s on your mind?
* How do you react to this information?
The benefit of debriefs is that they provide an opportunity for the presenter to gauge–or check-in–with where an audience is in its thinking or understanding. It is NOT a time to seek AGREEMENT or ensure “buy-in” (this cheapens the experience, and serves to try and push people through pre-determined hoops). An ideal mindset for presenters is, “It’s all Good!” They should ACCEPT whatever content is shared from the audience—even when it is different than hoped for, or even contrary to goal of presentation– and NOT try to “fix” (at least initially) a viewpoint shared from a learner. Better to focus on helping the other feel heard. Worth repeating: better to help the other feel HEARD.
“OK…we’ve got a variety of takes on this topic. Some are excited about the proposed direction; some concerned; others waiting to decide—and still others are a little fearful we’ve been down this road before.”
(Demonstrating this, “It’s all Good” mindset actually serves to enhance the credibility of presenter, and raises safety in the room).
If the speaker has additional ideas or information that may influence the audience’s perspective/concern, a strategy that can be helpful is to provide a teaser that establishes some credibility and generates interest—and offers the audience a chance to have ownership in whether it wants to hear the additional information: