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Chapter One: Understanding Facilitation > Conversation Structures

Conversation Structures

One of the most important mental models in facilitation is that conversations fall into two distinct categories: they are either decision making in nature or not. Each type of conversation has distinct features that dictate the techniques used to manage it. Facilitators who understand these two distinct conversation structures can use them to structure and manage discussions.

Non-Decision-Making Conversations

Non-decision-making conversations are those in which group members simply share ideas or information. Examples of non-decision-making conversations include:

  • a brainstorming session in which ideas are generated but not judged
  • an information sharing session in which group members describe their experiences or update each other

  

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