Democratic Discussion

Democratic Discussion

What is the Democratic Discussion workshop tactic?

This tactic creates a discussion agenda with your participants in order to keep track of what’s been discussed, and what needs to be discussed.

Giving everyone a say in what will be discussed helps to include a wider range of topics, so everyone will be invested in the meeting. The discussions are prioritised so you can make sure you talk about the most important things first.

For a big group, combine this tactic with Fishbowl.

How to use Democratic Discussion in your workshop

1. On a large surface, create a board with three columns:

Democratic Discussion

2. Ask everyone to write what they want to talk about on sticky notes, and stick it in the “To Discuss” column.

3. Ask each person to sum up their topic. This is so people know what they are voting for in the next step.

4. Use Secret Vote to decide which topics to discuss.

5. Arrange the “To Discuss” sticky notes in descending order of votes they received.

6. Set a 10-minute timer, and start the discussion of the highest voted topic.

7. When you reach the limit, as a group - decide whether to move on to the next topic or to continue the discussion for another 10 minutes.

8. Note any actions from the discussion with Who, What, When.

Origin: Jim Benson & Jeremy Lightsmith, 2009

Not sure if this is the right approach for your team at the moment? Try a different discussion tactic to help facilitate your team’s progress together. 

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Democratic Discussion is one of 54 workshop recipe cards inside the Workshop Tactics card deck.

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