Raise the Energy: Discuss and Debrief

Discuss and Debrief (Video Example above)

If you want to quickly raise the energy of your audience, get them to remember and buy into your message, and break the monotony of you simply standing there speaking, use the Discuss and Debrief method. Most speakers ask their entire audience questions like, “What are some important factors to successfully undergoing change in your organization?” Chances are the audience will initially struggle to respond and the speaker will face an awkward silence.
The solution is to give them oil by loosening up their minds in the following way: “For 45 seconds, I want you to turn and talk to two neighbors of yours and discuss what you feel are some of the most important factors to undergo a successful change in your organization. You have 45 seconds. Ready? Go.” This is the Discuss part of the Discuss and Debrief method.
Immediately the energy rises as bodies move and people start communicating. The modality changes from you speaking to them speaking, thinking, and listening to each other. Remember, your audience wants to be heard too and this is a great way to accomplish that. Finally, after the 45 seconds are up, you say something like the following: “Okay, please turn back around up front. Let’s hear what you had to say. What are some of the most important factors for having a successful change?”
At that point, it might even surprise you how rapidly and effortlessly they shoot out responses. This is because they have loosened up their minds. They have gone from listening mode (when they listened to you) to thinking mode and their responses will most likely align with your point. Therein lies the genius of this method. If youget them to say it, rather than simply saying it yourself, they end up buying into your message much more fully and quickly. Plus, they have fun doing so. This is the Debrief part of the Discuss and Debrief method.

Why Does this Work? These are 4 Reasons to use This Method

  1. It loosens up their minds so they can easily give answers during the Debrief section
  2. It breaks up the speech and changes the modality
  3. It facilitates movement into a more kinesthetic experience, which is how some people learn best
  4. It raises their energy

About the Author
Craig Valentine is the 1999 World Champion of Public Speaking. You can take advantage of his wealth of public speaking resources on