Method of the month: ending a session with hope

03 April 2017

Often we are asked as facilitators to convene and facilitate difficult conversations. It might be a team in conflict, a programme facing funding cuts, a tough decision on future directions, a problem diagnosis session - the list goes on.

Our job is to help groups through theses increasingly difficult and divisive times. We facilitate respectful dialogues that result in positive change.

When discussing these weighty issues, it can be easy for participants, while leaving the meeting with a plan to move forward, to also leave the session with underlying feelings of anxiety, apprehension and remorse about factors beyond their control. For example, funding levels and economic or political circumstances. This method aims to combat this.

Schedule time at the end of your session for this reflective exercise that draws attention to the positive.

Time required: 20-30 minutes


  1. The facilitator walks participants through their accomplishments of the session, acknowledging the hard work and focus and congratulating everyone on their shared outcome (3-5 minutes)
  2. Ask each person to complete the sentence: “What makes me hopeful about the future of [add relevant programme name or session topic] is…”
    ​If the group is larger than twenty people, have them share in table groups.

While this is a fairly simplistic method you will watch your participants leave the session with hope in their expressions and a bounce in their step!

Method contributed by Kimberly Bain.

IAF Editor