Hats Exercise for Discussion of Difficult Topics

February 16, 2016

Hats Exercise for Discussion of Difficult Topics
  1. Select a topic for discussion.
  2. Post the following guidelines:

White – information, the factshats

Yellow – optimism, positivity

Black – devil’s advocate, negativity

Red – strong emotion: fear, anger, love, etc.

Green – creativity, possibilities-thinking, questions

Blue – facilitating the process and holding others to the guidelines

  1. Place hats (or other colored objects) of corresponding colors in center of table.
  2. Select a topic for conversation. Instruct participants that the colored hats represent what “hat they are wearing” when they express their position around the topic. Some may be coming from a place of anger (red hat), someone may have a creative idea (green), etc.
  3. Before speaking, each person selects a hat that represents the statements they will make, holds the hat while speaking, then puts the hat back in the center of the table. After each person has shared, others are free to select a hat and speak again.
  4. The Blue facilitator hat may be worn by the group’s leader or by one of the participants.
  The above exercise is an adaptation of the Six Thinking Hats facilitation tool as described here: http://www.debonogroup.com/six_thinking_hats.php
Leadership Development