Questions, Probes and Prompting Deeper Discussion

One of the most important aspects of facilitation involves asking the crew questions that prompt a deeper analysis of their performance and reflection on strategies to enhance performance in the future. Some of the key questions and probes are provided in Table 5.8.

Active Listening Techniques

The use of specific communication strategies is another critical element of effective debriefing. First, active listening is a very effective strategy to keep momentum in a trainee-led discussion. This technique involves periodic paraphrasing of what the trainee has stated as a means of demonstrating engagement in the discussion without actively driving the discussion. Table 5.9 provides a brief overview of active listening techniques useful in the debrief situation.26 ,27

Second, and perhaps somewhat counter-intuitively, silence can be a very effective mechanism in debriefing. The NASA studies found that silence of a few seconds was effective. This can be explained by way of the inherent desire to ‘ fill a gap’ in a conversation. If the instructor does not fill the gap, it is more likely that a participant will do so, ensuring that the debrief discussion remains participant-led.

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