The Single Most ...

Debriefing is a process for encouraging the participants to reflect on their experience and to share their insights. To get the maximum value from a jolt, be sure to conduct a debriefing discussion.

An efficient technique to start a debriefing discussion is to ask a question using this sentence pattern:

What is the single most … ?

For example, after conducting the Subgroups jolt, you may ask this question:

What was the single most important insight that you received from participating in this activity?

It does not matter whether or not everyone comes up with the same response. Participants' responses are just starting points for a dialogue. If different participants come up different responses, you have a lot of things to discuss.

If nobody responds after you ask the question, simply tell the participants to discuss the question with a neighbor. Alternatively, invite the participants to predict the responses from other people. Either of these strategies will reduce the anxiety associated with being the only person to give a response.

Here are some other debriefing questions for Subgroups that use the same "single most" format:

  • What is the single most important factor that influenced your choice of the differentiating characteristic in the third round?
  • What was the single most frustrating experience during this activity?
  • What was the single most surprising element of this activity?
  • What is the single most useful suggestion you have for the facilitator?

To maximize the impact of debriefing, we recommend a six-phase sequence with questions about feelings, events, learning points, real-world applications, what-if speculations, and next steps:

  1. What was single most predominant feeling that you had during this activity?
  2. What was the single most important event in this activity?
  3. What was the single most useful lesson you learned from this activity?
  4. What was the single closest similarity between the activity and real life?
  5. What would be the single most critical change in your behavior if we conducted this activity with only person to represent each subgroup?
  6. What is the single most piece of advice you can give to someone who is about to participate in this activity?