Conversations for Processing an Event

In light of Toronto’s municipal elections, and thinking of the many wonderful people I know who have been intensely involved in campaigns, here are a few conversations you might use with yourself (journalling) or with a small group to consider your reactions to the election outcomes.

These conversations have been adapted from the sample conversations in The Art of Focused Conversation: 100 Ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace.

Focused Conversation #1 (for personal reflection)

Objective Questions:

  • The outcome of the election has really affected me. What is it that happened?
  • What were the basic elements involved?
  • How did it begin? How did it progress?
  • How did it end? What was the core of the event?
  • What was my part? What roles did other people play?

Reflective Questions:

  • How did I feel as it was happening?
  • How do I feel now?
  • What other events of my life does this remind me of?
  • What sticks out now and grabs my attention as I look back?

Interpretive Questions:

  • What is the meaning of this event for my life?
  • How am I different after this event?

Decisional Questions

  • What is the “so what” of this event for my life?
  • What is it demanding of me?
  • What decision do I need to make?


Focused Conversation #2 (for use with a group)

Objective Questions:

  • What have been some of the key events for you during this election season?
  • What have been the major elements? The minor elements? Which have you worked on or contributed to?
  • What other events do you remember – important conversations, or decisions made?

Reflective Questions:

  • Describe the dynamics of this election season. When was it like an earthquake, a bear, a turtle, a desert, or what?
  • What was the big surprise of the election?
  • When were you most frustrated?
  • Which events made a big difference to you, or changed how you thought or felt?

Interpretive Questions:

  • What did we learn from the things that went well?
  • What did we learn from the times where we struggled?
  • As you reflect on all of this, how would you talk about what we have accomplished?

Decisional Questions

  • How will our experience and our learning affect what we do in the days and months to come?
  • What do we wish to do differently?

One More Option for Reflection and Processing

Head here for a sample guide for a DiY Reflection that calls on more creativity and personal exploration. (Just adapt the timelines to the event that you want to reflect on.)