Facilitate for Full Participation

Nominal Group Technique

Sometimes in a brainstorming or idea generation session, you may sense that some people are holding back on offering ideas or thoughts.  This could be because they are intimidated by someone in the room, are hesitant about the quality of their idea, or prefer to build on others’ ideas rather than offer their own.  Or maybe they value group conformity over individual innovation.  Whatever the reason, one technique that enables participants to think first and share ideas second is the Nominal Group Technique.

How this works:

1.  Each group participant writes out one or several ideas in response to the task at hand.  This is done by each individual on his/her paper.

2.  Have group members report what they have written, one idea at a time.  These ideas are captured on a flipchart in front of the group.

3.  After all members are finished reporting, other group members can add additional ideas to the list.

4.  Continue this process until all ideas written on the notepads have been reported and written up on the list in front of the group.

By using this technique, you can be sure to get input from everyone in the room and ensure that their ideas and comments are heard and understood by the whole group.  It’s also a great way to re-focus a group on the meeting objective if their discussion has gone off-topic.

 

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