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Discussion instruction

Most Facilitators specify the 'Main instruction' for the discussion - which can be a question - when they build the Agenda in the Meeting dashboard. Click edit  to change that instruction, to add a 'detailed instruction' or to add attachments.

1. Main instruction

The Main instruction is critical for the outcome of your discussion. It must suit the topics you have set up or expect to add in the course of the meeting - for example, by copying highly rated items from a Results table. This means that instructions can range from very generic to highly specific.

If your topics are questions, a generic instruction will do. For example, if your topics are something like, "Why is man on this planet?", "Is Panspermia a valid theory?", "Why are solar storms not measured in Beaufort?",   "What could Sponge Bob learn from Mr. Krabs?" your instruction could be plain vanilla  "Please discuss."

If, however, you want to discuss a set of items towards a specific purpose, your instruction should hold a specific question. For example, if, back in the early 1960s, your team were faced with the following policy choices i.e.  "Put a man on the moon",  "Stage the moon landing in a studio", "Talk down the importance of space", "Let's claim Gagarin's stunt was filmed in a studio" your instruction could hold several questions  "Why should we (not) take the actions below? What would it cost? Reflect on effectiveness, feasibility and side effects!"  

Whatever combination of instruction/topics you choose, you may want to ask yourself:

  • Will it produce the required outcome? What exactly?
  • Does it make the most of the participants in that session?
  • Where do participants come from? Do they need a change of perspective (clear their minds) from a previous activity? If so, how can I facilitate them focusing on the new task? Do we need a coffee break or an energizer or an introductory presentation?
  • How deep do I want this to go? Do I need an exhaustive argument or is it good enough to identify the different perspectives and positions in the "room"?
  • How much time do we need for this?

2. Detailed instruction

Use the detailed instruction to give additional information such as

  • Elaboration of the main question
    Example: "Please focus on practical issues. Could this be implemented?"
  • Assumptions under which the main instruction shall be understood or answered.
    Example: "Let's assume we have some money to throw at it. For now, money is no issue."
  • Process i.e. how the participants shall address the task
    Example: "Don't work all the topics. Please focus on where you are most concerned or have most to say. Skim the rest."

Putting such instructions in writing has the benefit of them being included the automatic Meeting report. As always, brevity is the soul of wit.

3. Attachments

Attachments enable you to include whatever you want in an instruction. Graphic files and videos will play in the attachment viewer - provided they are browser compatible (test this!). Other files are offered for download.