It’s very easy for the dynamics of a group to undermine the potential value of bringing a group of people together. If the same people speak every time, there is always a contingent whose voices are not heard; in creative work, a perspective lost can mean valuable ideas are never heard and “group think” can set in. Getting the greatest diversity of ideas from a group can depend on making the space for as many viewpoints up front before the flow of conversation begins its process of natural selection, and conversation is a funny thing; setting a few rules can disrupt the habitual dynamic of the group to allow for different outcomes.
OBJECT of the GAME: To give all voices a chance to be represented in a group with a potentially wide range of perspectives.
HOW to PLAY:
The rules of the game are quite simple…
- Begin by posing a question to the group
- Each person answers the question in sequence – usually going around the circle, but if someone is not ready, they can defer their turn until later.
- Each person answers as fully as they need to in order to feel they’ve fully expressed their point of view.
- No one should respond to, rebut or rejoin the comments of others; each response should be only to the original question
Point number four can be a difficult one for many groups, but if gently enforced, it can really encourage the less vocal members of any group to voice their opinions. This can lead quite well into a follow-on conversation if someone has been recording some of the ideas or perspectives on a whiteboard. Using these elements as launching points allows for a more focused drill down on the ideas that may have resonated with the group.