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Published December 19, 2018

When choosing the topic for the in-depth discussion is challenging

Do this

When several topics have been brought up in the discussion, direct the participants to think about which one to choose for an in-depth discussion. A good topic: 1) affects as many of the participants as possible 2) is unclear or causes tension 3) within the time available, new understanding may be expected about it.

Say this

”Topics A, B and C have now come up and we do not know which one to choose, yet. Let’s discuss each topic for a moment and think about which one would be the most suitable one for us.”

Do this

If there is only one topic or one of the participants is trying very hard to direct the choice, try to slow down the conversation and help the group discuss the different alternatives in peace.

Say this

”Let’s not make a decision yet but look at the different alternatives in peace. Tell me what you think about the topic that was proposed and also say if any other topics cross your mind.”

Do this

If several topics attract support in the group, continue a closer examination of the topics a while longer.

Say this

”Talk about these topics that you find interesting a little bit longer so that we can understand better what each of you finds important about them.”

Do this

If someone is very strongly opposed to the chosen topic, ask the person to give the topic a chance to develop. After a while, check how that person then finds the discussion.

Say this

”It seems that most people want to choose a topic that you did not find very interesting. Is it ok if we try to discuss this topic in more depth and I will ask you in a short while how you find the discussion and whether it has turned out to be more interesting?”

Do this

If the participants cannot reach an agreement on choosing the topic, you can either vote or you as the facilitator can choose the topic to the best of your understanding.

Say this

”We cannot reach an agreement about which topic to choose.
I suggest that we vote for it. If we still cannot find a clear solution, then I will make the decision and I will also bear the responsibility for it as the facilitator of this dialogue.”

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