We use this for longer workshops and training, varying the quote each time. It can also be used for the opening of regular meetings.
The trust developed in such a short dialogue can also carry over into the working sessions in the course of a programme.
- The quote selected ahead of time.
BeforeIdeal conditions: relaxed atmosphere at the beginning of a meeting or after a break.
Pre-Work Required: The quote on a flipchart or white board, or in a presentation slide
1. Post a quote before the group on a projector or flip chart, write a simple quotation or short poem that has some relationship (however tangential) with the kind of activity taking place in the group. For a new department, something perhaps about the future. For a change workshop, maybe a quote about change. It can be nice to include a graphic or a sketch illustrating the quote.
1. Introduce the quote by reading it loud or ask someone in the group to do so. Give them a second to look at it. For groups weak in the language of instruction, begin by introducing any peculiar vocabulary, and give the group a chance to figure out together what the words mean.
2. Ask some questions like:
- What do you notice in this phrase?
- What does this quote remind you of?
- How can you say this in your own words? (What is it talking about?)
- Do you have any saying like this in your language? (Give the group a chance to discuss this.)
- What does this quote have to say about our work?
- When might you say this?
- To whom?
Some tried and true quotations include:
"It doesn't work to leap a 20 foot chasm in two 10 foot jumps."
"Action removes the doubt that theory cannot solve."
"After bliss, the Laundry?"
Follow-Up Required: none
Usual or Expected Outcomes: Deeper insight into the thinking of colleagues.
Potential pitfalls: Bad quotes
How success is evaluated: The group listens to and reflects on the ideas of others.
Source: Jon Jenkins
Derived from: It is based on the Focused Conversation Method of the Institute of Cultural Affairs.
History of Development: A similar method was used in daily staff meetings of the Institute of Cultural Affairs.