Facilitated Conversations

Focused Conversation: Fact Sheet

Suitable for: Group Activity | Facilitator-led Activity

Focused conversation is a guided conversation technique based on a specific method of questioning. It helps people process information and reach their own thoughtful conclusions. Focused conversation involves discussing and answering a series of questions based on four levels of thinking:

  • Objective questions––dealing with data and sensory observation
  • Reflective questions––related to personal reactions and associations
  • Interpretive questions––about meaning, significance and implications
  • Decisional questions––concerned with resolution.

When using focused conversation, it is important to follow the order of the questions from Objective to Reflective to Interpretive to Decisional (ORID), while adjusting the number of questions in each area to meet your needs.

For more specific details, go to

Facilitator Tips

Prepare for the meeting by doing the following:

  • Become familiar with the content you have chosen to focus on.
  • Provide participants with information, including any handouts and video links, and allow for sufficient time to review the resource.
  • Choose a flexible, well-equipped space. Ensure that technology requirements are met. Consider organizing the space so that everyone has a place to sit and write, and so that they can easily interact with you and other participants.

As you lead the focused conversation, do the following:

  • Use the focused questions to guide the conversation.
  • Maintain objectivity.
  • Assume (or share) responsibility for the group conversation.
  • Use time and space intentionally.
  • Adapt to changing situations.
  • Manage the existing relationships.
  • Read the underlying dynamics of the group.
  • Evoke participation and creativity.
  • Honour the group and affirm its wisdom.

NOTE: It is important to be aware of and prepared to support participants who may have an emotional response to the content in the resource, or the subsequent discussion, based on cultural or personal experience.

After your group conversation, encourage the group by doing the following:

  • Use the handout Call to Action: Focused Conversation Word to capture the group’s plans for future actions based on the discussion.
  • Monitor group members in working toward their goals as captured in the call to action worksheet.
  • Follow up with team members to discuss and share the accomplishments in reaching the group’s goals.