Martin Farrell

One breath feedback

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This is a feedback round in just one breath that excels in maintaining attention: each participants is able to speak during just one breath ... for most people that's around 20 to 25 seconds ... unless of course you've been a deep sea diver in which case you'll be able to do it for longer.

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Additional info

Goal

Focus everybody's attention for a closing / feedback round

Attachments

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Materials

    Instructions

    Someone is asked to present back after a group session and it gets unfocused. It goes on long it’s off the point. It’s sometimes known as ‘death by feedback’.

    People start losing concentration, particularly after four or five or six. It takes just too much time and you lose people's energy and people start looking at their phones, looking out the window and being distracted.

    There are a number of things that you can do about that and here is just one of them. Its called One breath feedback.

    Steps:

    1. Arrange the group in a circle. If you have more than 15 people, consider splitting the group into subgroups of 6-10 participants.
    2. Tell the group that now it is time for feedback on the discussed topic/exercise. Explain that most people are able to give feedback with just one breath that is approximately 30 seconds and that this is what they are going to do.
    3. People start giving their feedback, one by one. Mind that people keep the one-breath rule.

    You can find a specific example in Background section about how the method was used with 60 people divided into 6 groups

    Facilitator tips:

    This can be a useful method when you have a pressing time limit to conclude a complex discussion or session. Additionally, some people often have a pretty jaundiced view of what feedback can be like, and this is a relatively different approach which will capture people's attention. 

    Background

    The method is explained further in this short video by Martin Farrell: https://vimeo.com/210612253

    Source: http://www.get2thepoint.org/teaching.php by Martin Farrell (Get2thepoint Ltd)

    Got a meeting challenge? Ask Martin for a free one-hour coaching session to find a positive and productive way of responding to it. And, after the session, if we both think it’s a good idea, we could co-create a video for either ‘Ask Martin’ or ‘Interviews and Events’.

    Transcript of video:

    Someone is asked to present back after a group session and it gets unfocused. It goes on too long it’s off the point. It’s sometimes known as ‘death by feedback’.

    People start losing concentration, particularly after four or five or six. It takes just too much time and you lose people's energy and people start looking at their phones, looking out the window and being distracted.

    There are a number of things that you can do about that and here is just one of them. Its called One breath feedback.

    One Breath Feedback is as long as it takes for you to be able to speak during just one breath ... for most people that is around 20 to 25 seconds ... unless of course, you've been a deep sea diver in which case you'll be able to do it for longer.

    You can use One Breath Feedback in a group. I used it in a global meeting in Geneva with people in suits who were looking very professional. These were people who would've walked out if they were not satisfied so we knew we had to do something special.

    The session was an hour and a half. There were two world-class presentations: one on artificial intelligence and the other on nanotechnology. And then we were going to have six groups. There were about 60 people in the room altogether. Then we were going to have feedback and then some closing input and then back to the host to finish.

    So time was not on our side. So we put people into their groups and then I said Ladies and Gentlemen we going to do feedback in just one breath. I wasn't sure if they would accept my direction because maybe it sounded a bit playful and I wasn't sure if they wanted to be playful in that way.

    You know what happened? It sort of brought in a personal humanity into the day. It also saved a lot of time and focused peoples energy.

    People did it. They took a break and gave their feedback as long as they could in one breath. Sure one of two people cheated a bit and everybody laughed. There was indeed a person who said they been a deep sea diver.

    But the point was that it focused everybody's attention and everybody concentrated on what was being said.

    Indeed the closing few words from one of the academics was given in one breath. And we finished on time.

    This is a good idea because you want to save time, you want to maintain attention. Also generally people have a pretty jaundiced view of what feedback can be like and this is something different and something special which will engage people's attention.

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