Tips, Videos, Handouts

Table discussion guides

On location at a meeting — actually while the meeting is going on — Craig explains how to use table discussion guides: written instructions for table facilitators and recorders.

Here’s what Craig says in the video

Hi everybody. Hey it’s Craig Freshley here. Right over here in this room there’s a meeting going on. It’s a meeting that I’m facilitating. But I’m not in the room because these people are in table discussions right now and I have provided for them table discussion guides.

They’re going to talk at their tables for about 30 minutes, but not just about anything. It’s going to be a structured conversation. There are four questions that I am asking them to discuss and so that these four questions are discussed in a methodical structured way, I have provided two guides for each table. I put these two pieces of paper at each table during the break and when they came back from break I explained to them.

This one is for the facilitator. It gives some simple steps for what the facilitators should do. It says, “Make sure everybody knows everybody at your table. Ask for a volunteer to take notes. Discuss the questions below. Make sure everyone has a chance to participate in the conversation,” and, “Pace the conversation. Leave enough time to discuss each of the questions.” Whoever volunteers to be the facilitator, this is what they’re supposed to do and here are the four questions that they are supposed to pace themselves and discuss.

The yellow piece of paper is for the note taker and whoever is willing to report out from the group discussion. It explains some simple steps here at the beginning and it has lots of space. Here’s question one, lots of space. Here’s question two, space, space, space, and it says right on here: “During the group discussion, jot answers to each of the questions below, no need to capture everything that is said, just the key points.”

With these two pieces of paper, this group of 80 or so people is on autopilot. Not only do I get to hang out here and make a video with you, they get to have intimate structured really valuable conversations.

Thanks for listening everybody. Here’s hoping that you help your group make good decisions.

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