This interactive lecture technique provides a nonthreatening approach for collecting feedback from the participants. The facilitator can provide additional information to the participants based on the feedback.
Deliver your lecture. Ask the participants to interview each other to collect responses to four feedback questions. Provide suitable explanations based on the collective feedback.
To collect and process the listeners’ opinions about the content of a lecture.
Best: 12 to 32
20 – 30 minutes for the lecture, 20 – 30 minutes for the follow-up activity.
Flip chart paper
Leave uncluttered space in the room to permit the participants to wander around and work in pairs.
Deliver your lecture. Alert the participants that after delivering a lecture, you will conduct an interactive exercise based on the content of the lecture. Advice the participants to listen carefully and take notes. Launch into your presentation.
Brief the participants. At the end of the lecture, explain that you are going to conduct an activity called Talking Points to explore the participants’ reactions to the content of the lecture. This activity will involve all participants interviewing one another and collecting and sharing different responses.
Distribute playing cards. Arrange a deck of playing cards so that the suits are placed in this rotating order: clubs, hearts, spades, and diamonds. Give a card to each participant, dealing from the top of the deck so approximately equal numbers of cards of each suit are distributed.
Explain the first task. Tell the participants that they should pair up with each other, ask a question, and note down the responses. Explain that you are interested in getting the participants’ responses to these four questions:
- What are some useful and important points in the lecture?
- What are some confusing and unclear points in the lecture?
- What are some interesting and surprising points in the lecture?
- What are some questionable points from the lecture that you disagree with?
Make sure that the participants understand the four questions. If necessary, give sample responses to clarify the questions.
Assign the questions. Tell the participants that the question they would ask is based on the suit of the card they received:
Clubs: What are some useful points in the lecture?
Hearts: What are some confusing and unclear points in the lecture?
Spades: What are some interesting and surprising points in the lecture?
Diamonds: What are some questionable points from the lecture that you disagree with?
Make sure that each participant clearly understands the question he or she should be asking.
Conduct interviews. Ask the participants to conduct individual interviews, talking to as many others as possible, during the next 3 minutes. Remind each participant to collect responses to his or her question and give responses to the other person’s question. Start the timer and get out of the way as the participants scramble to conduct interviews.
After 3 minutes, blow the whistle and announce the end of the interview period.
Form four teams. Ask the participants with the same suit of cards organize themselves into a team. You will end up with four team: clubs, hearts, spades, and diamonds.
Share the responses and analyze them. Invite the members of each team to combine the responses they collected during the earlier interviews. Distribute a sheet of flip chart paper to each team and ask the team to summarize the information on this sheet. Announce a 3-minute time limit and start the timer.
Present team reports. At the end of 3 minutes, blow your whistle and randomly select a team. Ask this team to display its flip chart poster. Ask a representative from this team to present its findings within a minute. Start the timer and announce the end of the reporting period after 1 minute. Repeat the procedure until all teams have given their reports.
Debrief. Discuss the interview information with the participants. Undertake these follow-up presentations:
Usefulness. Briefly recap the top useful points. Ask the participants to share their ideas about making use of these points.
Confusion and lack of clarity. Go through each of the points in this list and offer additional explanations to clarify it. Invite questions from the participants and respond to them.
Interest and surprise. Invite the participants to comment on these points.
Disagreements. Go through each of the questionable points and ask the participants to share their thoughts on what arguments some people may have. Briefly explain the logic behind these points without getting defensive.
Conclude the session. Thank the participants for collecting and sharing their feedback about your lecture.
Adjustments and Variations
Want to use other questions? Merely replace any of the fours questions (or all of them) with questions that you prefer.
Don’t want to use playing cards? Ask the participants to count by fours. Assign a different interview question to each number.
In a recent training session on teamwork techniques, the participants collected these interview responses:
- Every team member should be involved in every important decision.
- Team roles and responsibilities should build upon the strengths of the individual membe r.
Confusing and unclear:
- Team members should have diverse backgrounds and skills in order to come up with creative ideas.
- Team members should provide frequent feedback to each other.
Interesting and surprising:
- We should not forget that the team members have other job responsibilities also.
- Leadership roles should be distributed among different team members.
- Team members should be playful. They should not take their task too seriously.
- It is good to have competition among team members.
The following outline displays the structure of the Collective Feedback interactive lecture:
- Deliver your lecture. (20 to 30 minutes). Facilitator: Advice the participants to listen carefully and deliver your lecture. Participants: Listen to the lecture and take notes.
- Brief the participants. (2 minutes). Facilitator: Explain the nature of the activity. Participants: Listen to the explanation.
- Distribute playing cards. (2 minutes). Facilitator: Distribute equal numbers of playing cards of the four suits, one per player. Participants: Receive your playing card.
- Explain the first task. (2 minutes). Facilitator: Explain four interview questions. Participants: Listen to the explanation.
- Assign the questions. (2 minutes). Facilitator: Assign a different question to each of the four playing card suits. Participants: Reflect on the question assigned to you.
- Conduct interviews. (3 minutes). Facilitator: Give instructions. Participants: Conduct individual interviews with as many participants as possible.
- Form four teams. (2 minutes). Facilitator: Give instructions. Participants: Join other participants with the same playing card suit.
- Share the responses and analyze them. (3 minutes). Facilitator: Give instructions. Participants: Work with other team members to summary interview responses.
- Present team report. (4 minutes). Facilitator: Select different teams. Participants: Present the information collected in the interviews.
- Debrief. (4 minutes). Facilitator: Respond appropriately to the four different types of feedback. Participants: Participate in the discussion.
- Conclude the session. (1 minutes). Facilitator: Thank the participants. Participants: Say good-bye to teammates.
Reuse the Template
You can attach the Collective Feedback activity to any of your lectures. This is a more effective approach for collecting feedback from the participant. It is easier for them to talk to their peers than to the facilitator.
Here are some recent lecture topics to which my associates attached this activity:
- Workplace Violence
- Project Management
- Cost-Benefit Analysis
- Conflict Management
- Customer Service