How do you feel about the activity and the results?
The purpose of this question is to give an opportunity for the participants to express their feelings and emotions and prepare for the intellectual analysis in the latter phases of the debriefing. Sometimes the participants are so preoccupied with their internal conversations about their feelings that they do not mindfully participate in the external conversation. Also, their responses to other questions (such as What happened during the activity? or What did you learn from the activity?) might involve emotional reactions or complaints.
Many facilitators avoid any discussion about feelings and emotions during the debriefing. Usually, they project their reluctance to the participants and explain that this particular group does not like to discuss emotional issues due to their position in the organizational hierarchy or their field of work (e.g. managers, or law enforcement officials). If the facilitators really believe in combining emotional intelligence with the other forms of intelligence, they probably would not omit this phase of debriefing.
On the other hand, overemphasizing the discussion of feelings can also be detrimental. The facilitator should explain that the aim of the exercise is to give people an opportunity to briefly express their frustrations or share their opinions, and move on to the other phases of debriefing. The participants' statements should be treated as bits of information and not as personal attacks. It is important that the facilitator does not react defensively. It is advisable to discourage participants from attempting in-depth analysis of different feelings.
In case asking the question How do you feel still seems uncomfortable, the facilitator can substitute it with What are your reactions to the activity?
Adapted from Tips for Facilitators, Workshops by Thiagi, Inc.
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