The Art of Debriefing, 04.02.14

Facilitators: Noor Mir, Dany Sigwalt

Agenda

-          Intros from Noor and Dany

-          Question Game!

-          Group intros—popcorn style—what are some problems you’ve had with debriefing/tips to share/observations?

-          Elicitive Question Practice

-          “the what”

-          “so what”

-          Role-play “now what” questions

-          Report back

-          Pair share: your own debriefs

-          Closing

Popcorn-style: What are some problems we’ve had with debriefing/tips to share/observations?

-          Debriefs are a good opportunity for relationship building

-          Important to returning to goals

-          Debriefing internally to center one self

-          Paid vs. unpaid organizing affects accountability

-          Facilitators have to stay on track

-          Recording Debriefs:

          • How to keep reflections recorded for future actions/events?
          • Suggestion: keep a google Doc with previous debriefs
          • Train new people with the lessons learned

-          How do you work around new folks’ ideas being blocked?

-          Institutional Memory: How to creatively document debriefs?

-          Debriefing on the fly:

          • During the event itself, a quick check in: what did we do well?
          • What did we learn?
          • Debrief during meals!

-          Don’t be afraid to debrief something a few times over

-          Trying to plan scenarios before situations happen

-          How do you keep debriefs exciting?

Elicitive Questions

-          Get experience with elicitive questions which are questions that don’t have y/n, emotional responses to activity/things, debriefs are practicing questions that elicit meaningful answers

-          Elicitive questions encourage the person being asked to express their assumptions and beliefs

-          They assist people to look beneath the surface, like peeling a layer of an onion  

 

Elicitive Questions are Not  

-          a yes or a no question  

-          "why" questions, which often stir up resistance or allow people to wax philosophical or  invite rationalization

-          long, complex questions that are hard to digest  

-          a way to trick someone into the "right" answer  

Types of Elicitive Questions:

"The What" Questions (Storytelling)

-          What happened

-          How did you feel?

-          How are you feeling about it now?

-          Who else had that experience?

-          Were there any surprises?

“So What” Questions

-          What did you notice?

-          Why was that important?

-          What was the main point of the activity?

-          How did you work with your team?

-          When were you really effective or at your best?

-          Why do you think that?

“Now What" Questions

-          Have you experienced this type of situation before? When? 

-          What did you learn? 

-          What would you do different? 

-          How does this relate to outside the classroom? 

-          How will you use what you learned in this activity? 

Report Back from Roleplay (Going Through a Debrief)

Scenarios at bottom of notes

-          Questions that worked: “Can you be more specific?” “What can we do now to start preparing?” “How’d we work as a team?”

-          Going in a circle democratizes conversation

-          Good for facilitators so step in and say, “pause” or “elaborate”

-          Have a “parking lot” of ideas/issues that aren’t of immediate attention, but to return to once debrief is over

-          In a meeting, remind people of their roles during event/action that you are debriefing—it helps people work together and feel accountable

-          Important to frame “why” in a way that is not accusatory, and is generous and loving. Alternatives are “What motivated/inspired you to take that action?”

***

Debrief Scenario

Your organization spent the past three months planning a mobilization around climate change. You worked with a large coalition of groups, and the action was a day-long affair including twenty speakers, a huge stage and plentiful sound equipment, a flash mob, an area designated for the press, performances by several artists, and a pre-planned direct action component towards the end where 50 folks got arrested. Below are some problems and victories from the event within your role.

These are just prompts, so feel free to change what you wish and make it your own! Have fun with it:

You are the Police Liaison/Jail Support

Problems:

Direct action did not go so well with the police. They were unnecessarily aggressive despite the communication and planning before the event.

Success:

Despite the problems, 50 folks were arrested as planned, trained in non-violent direct action

Debrief Scenario

Your organization spent the past three months planning a mobilization around climate change. You worked with a large coalition of groups, and the action was a day-long affair including twenty speakers, a huge stage and plentiful sound equipment, a flash mob, an area designated for the press, performances by several artists, and a pre-planned direct action component towards the end where 50 folks got arrested. Below are some problems and victories from the event within your role

These are just prompts, so feel free to change what you wish and make it your own! Have fun with it:

You are the Equipment Manager

Problems: Problems setting up, sound kept cutting out

Successes: Nothing was damaged and sound was recovered almost every time it went out.

You are the Press Liaison

Problems: Not as much coverage as expected

Successes: The few pieces that came out were complimentary of the action

You are in charge of Speakers and Performers

Problems: Some arrived late and there were gaps with no real engagement with the audience

Successes: Keynote speaker was dynamic, got crowd engaged

You are in Charge of Outreach and Coalition Building

Problems: Not much diversity in terms of folks involved in coalition—mainly large non-profits, few grassroots organizations that were involved, some dissidents that infiltrated and tried to derail the dialogue

Successes: Everyone that said they’d show up did and were accountable for what they promised they would bring to the action. In addition, the amount of people that showed up was huge—there were 2,000 people that attended

You are the Facilitator

Facilitate the conversation using the “Now What” questions below. Please tap out and switch with someone else in the group and take over their role!

Participants explain how they can apply what they learned from this debrief in different situations, or what they can do differently next time

- Have you experienced this type of situation before? When?

- What did you learn from the successes and problems you faced with this mobilization?

-What would you do different?

- How does this relate to your work outside of this event/action?

- How will you use what you learned in this debrief?