Assemble your group in front of you, or in a circle.
Announce that you plan to ask only one (or two) questions, and the group will have a maximum of 60 seconds to respond.
Ask your question, and monitor the time.
Observe the general gist of the comments made by your group.
Video Transcript for One Minute Debrief
presented by Mark Collard
It’s fair to say that we understand the value of inviting a group to reflect from time to time on really substantial or significant experiences, a chance to actually draw some learning from it. But the other reality is sometimes we just don’t have enough time or a lot of time.
But if you have got the ability and even with a little bit of time, here’s a great technique that I found great value with where for example I could see the bus, it’s coming down the road and the camp’s about to finish and I really want to just quickly check in with my group or I know the bell is about to ring a minute away. I just want to quickly check in. Because it would be easy just to go, oh well, don’t have time to do much.
Here’s one of my favourites. Come in a little bit closer.
I’m going to use my stopwatch and I’m actually going to time you over two sets of thirty seconds to respond completely unstructured to a series of questions, in fact it’ll just be perhaps the two questions.
And as soon as you’ve got a response, it won’t even matter if you talk over somebody else. Your objective is to simply have something to respond to, to the question.
So here’s your first question and the first thirty seconds shall be timed, because that’s as much time as I sometimes may have. So here’s your first question. Respond when ready. You have full thirty seconds as a group to fill this time if you choose.
What did you notice, what did you experience, what did you observe during the course of the last activity? Go.
(Everyone played a part.)
Everyone played a part.
(Helping each other.)
(Nate was in there, just kind of there just making sure everything down low was good.)
Getting to the detail.
(I noticed that there was two Beserks.)
(It was before the time expired.)
Encouragement. Different roles.
Okay. Next question, you have thirty seconds to respond to. What was working, and I don’t mean necessarily the strategy but think about the process, the way in which you work together, what was positive? What would you want to see keep being done? Go.
(Anything got past me, Brian had it.)
(People sitting back, feedback and kind of measuring where we came from.)
Yes, so listening to feedback.
(The focus involved.)
(Just everybody stayed light until the end.)
Right. So, until the end, we all got a little bit tired at the end. Good. Ten more seconds.
(A common goal.)
Common goal. Great. That will help.
How To Play Narrative
The One Minute Debrief, as I call it, is perfect for those moments when you have very little time to process your group’s experience, but feel that you need to quickly check-in.
With your group gathered around you or in a circle, simply explain that you plan to ask only one (or two) questions, and the group has a maximum of 60 seconds to respond.
When ready, you ask your question, and start looking at your watch.
If desired, allocate 30 seconds to each of two questions, with similar effect.
Expect to receive a lot of responses in the beginning, but after about twenty seconds, everything will calm down. Provide a ten second warning, at which point, your group will often respond with a few final comments.
Okay, done. Time to move on.
Practical Leadership Tips
Take a look at Useful Debriefing Tips to learn about the benefits of processing your group’s experience, and how to run a successful debrief.
Don’t be too concerned with people talking over each other. Aim to pick up the general gist of what the group is saying, and move on. If you need more depth or detail, then this is not the debriefing technique you’re looking for.
If you feel that some people have not said anything (or had the chance to be heard,) vary the rules for a short while, inviting only these folks to respond for a defined number of seconds.
Rapid Fire: Apply a shorter time frame, such as 10 or 20 seconds.
Combo: Use this timed strategy with the Whip Around technique, to encourage everyone to participate, but very quickly.
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Useful Framing Ideas
It may sound like…
“USING MY WATCH, YOU HAVE EXACTLY SIXTY SECONDS TO SHARE WHATEVER YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT TWO IMPORTANT QUESTIONS [or topics]. ARE YOU READY? OKAY, YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS… [enter question, time elapses…] TEN SECONDS REMAINING… OKAY, SECOND QUESTION IS… [enter question…] QUICK, LESS THAN TEN SECONDS TO GO…”
“I’M GOING TO ASK A QUESTION, AND I’D LIKE EVERYONE TO RESPOND TO IT ONE AT A TIME AROUND THE CIRCLE. HOWEVER, YOU’LL NEED TO BE QUICK, BECAUSE THE GROUP WILL ONLY HAVE A TOTAL OF SIXTY SECONDS FOR EVERYONE TO SAY SOMETHING. GOT IT? OKAY, HERE GOES, THE QUESTION IS [enter question…]”