Focused Conversation Method (ORID)
This is a simple facilitation framework that enables a focused conversation. It's a way to lead people through a phased reflection on almost any kind of issue, by enabling individuals and groups to process their thoughts in an orderly manner. ORID stands for Objective; Reflective; Interpretive; Decisional.
A focused conversation is an excellent way to provide structure to conversations that might otherwise travel all over the map, saving time and energy and minimizing potential power plays or hidden agendas. It is versatile, and works as well with a group of strangers as it does with colleagues who have known each other for many years. Because the focused conversation applies an inclusive structure to the listening process, it also promotes shared understanding.
It was developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) in Canada and involves a facilitator asking people four levels of questioning with each level building on previous levels. It's based on the theory that people need to be cognisant of the actual data and deal with their emotional responses to the topic in order to undertake better analysis and decision-making.
The intent or practical goal of the conversation. It guides the collective thinking process and determines the direction of the conversation.
The inner impact and overall experience of the conversation on the group. Affecting the mood of the group and the tone of the communication.
1. Ask objective questions
Focus on data, facts, and the ‘truths’ that everyone can agree on, such as what was seen, heard, touched, etc. Examples:
- What data do we have?
- What did you see?
- What was said?
To engage the five senses (sight, sound, taste, smell and touch)
Invites inclusive participation and focuses attention
Gets out the facts and objective data.
2. Ask for reflection
Focus on reactions, moods, memories, associations. Examples:
- What does it remind you of?
- How does it make you feel?
- When did you feel surprised? Delighted? Disappointed?
- How would your stakeholders react?
To elicit and acknowledge imaginative, intuitive and emotional responses
Acknowledges emotions, memories and initial associations
Invites participants to use their imaginations.
3. Ask for interpretation
Focus on meaning, purpose, significance, implications. Examples:
- What is this all about?
- What does this mean for us?
- How will this affect our work?
- Why is this important?
- What can we learn from this?
4. Ask for decisions
Focus on resolution, agreement, and possible new directions or actions. Examples:
- What is our response?
- What should we decide?
- What do we need to do differently?
- What are the next steps?
To develop depth level collective opinions or resolve that may lead to future action
Draws out the deeper meaning
Makes conversation meaningful and relevant to the future
Exposes individual and group choice.