Bodystorming Techniques: how to handle “experts”

In a bodystorm how do you handle “experts” and “dominant talkers?”
Bodystorming works best when you bring together different people. But what happens when someone is a “expert” and tries to guide the group down only their path.

Dealing with Self appointed experts

  • Other people will defer to them SO really set the stage with everyone first putting down what is known about the issue.  It helps to give each body storm group  materials (like an issue board) so that everyone is using the same set of “facts”.
  • Underscore the fact that everyone has tacit knowledge that needs to be brought to bear on the issue and they need to talk & ACT in order for their tacit knowledge to be expressed.
  • In addition when the people are first introducing each other, try to avoid encouraging responses that would highlight participants level of education, socio-economic status, or amount of experience with the issue.

Dealing with Dominant Talkers

  • Spot them in the pre-session small talk and make sure during the body storm you keep a close eye on them and perhaps spend more time with that group in the initial start.
  • If that doesn’t work then give them a speaking stick or other object that if you want to speak you have to hold to make it painfully obvious how much one person might be dominating dialogue.

Best is to Set the Stage from the start

  • “In body storming exercises like this we know that some people talk a lot or seem to drive the group. It is essential for body storming success to have all of you participate because only through everyone working together does all the tacit individual wisdom get bubbled up and affects other individuals and coalesce in the whole of the body storm.. So if I come over an interrupt to make sure everyone is participating, please don’t be offended. It is just my way of making sure we get good results from your investment in your body storm.”


Focus Group Moderation Guides for the same issues

One Response to “Bodystorming Techniques: how to handle “experts””

  1. Robert Castel says:

    Re: Dealing with Dominant Talkers

    You made some very key points related to dominant talkers. I think it is very important to allow the people who have a tendency to be introverted more time to think through their thoughts and environment; the later having a considerable influence on the Introverts. I have found ‘out of the box’ introvert thinkers are far more prominent than the extroverts are willing to admit (naturally enough when you think about it).

    A few other techniques a facilitator should consider in combination with the previous suggestions:
    1. Have multiple bodystorming sessions
    2. Alternate between an Introvert and Extravert
    3. Hold everyone to their allotted time

    Think in terms of momentum more than solutions for these types of sessions. The great benefit is when both groups present their ideas. Things can really takeoff from that point onwards.

Leave a Reply