The Discussion Book: 50 Great Ways to Get People Talking was a fun, quick read. Essentially, the book contains fifty strategies to lead meetings, facilitate discussions, and communicate in groups.

I took note of ten strategies that I plan on incorporating into my work but the one that stood out was a strategy called Canvassing for Common Ground. This is a strategy perfect for facilitating discussion around controversial issues. In today’s politically charged environment, this strategy aims to identify areas of agreement that can become the beginning points for more constructive exploration.

I recommend this book to anybody that leads meetings, facilitates discussions, or works in groups.

Ideas Worth Remembering:

The Canvassing for Common Ground Purposes are:

  • To help people challenge their assumptions about those hold in a contrary position (for example that opponents are unit formed, dumb, inhumane, unethical, etc.)
  • To practice perspective taking-seeing, however temporarily, the logic of another’s viewpoint
  • To stop contentious discussions moving straight to one-sided advocacy of entrenched positions
  • To identify areas of agreement to keep contentious discussions going

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