Create a 20 minute experiential workshop that builds self-awareness about assumptions - include set up, timing and debrief questions

Certainly! Here's a proposed structure for a 20-minute experiential workshop designed to build self-awareness about assumptions:

Workshop Title:

"Challenging Assumptions: A Path to Self-Awareness"

Workshop Objective:

To enhance participants' self-awareness by identifying and challenging their own assumptions in a group setting.

Set-Up (3 minutes)

  • Introduction (1 minute): Briefly explain the concept of assumptions and their impact on our thinking and interactions, referencing the Ladder of Inference and the importance of recognizing missing data.
  • Instructions (2 minutes): Inform participants that they will engage in an activity designed to bring their assumptions to the surface and explore how these can be challenged. Emphasize the importance of an open mind and willingness to engage in self-inquiry.

Activity: Assumption Circle (12 minutes)

  • Forming Groups (1 minute): Divide participants into small groups of 4-5 people and have them form a circle.
  • Structured Sharing (9 minutes): Each group member will have approximately 2 minutes to share a recent situation where they made a quick judgment or decision. They should describe the situation, the assumption they made, and the action they took as a result.
    • Use a timer to ensure that each participant speaks for no more than 2 minutes.
    • Participants should listen attentively without interrupting or providing feedback during this phase.
  • Reflection (2 minutes): After each member has spoken, the group spends a minute reflecting silently on the assumptions they've heard, including their own.

Debrief (5 minutes)

  • Group Discussion (3 minutes): Facilitate a brief discussion with the following questions:
    • What assumptions did you notice in your own story and in others' stories?
    • How might these assumptions have influenced the outcomes of the situations?
    • What might you have done differently had you been aware of these assumptions earlier?
  • Personal Reflection (2 minutes): Encourage participants to consider how they can apply this awareness of assumptions in their daily lives. Suggest journaling as a tool to capture ongoing reflections and assumptions they may encounter.

Closing (Optional, if time allows)

  • Exercise 1: Closing Circle (Not included in the 20-minute timeframe)
    • If the workshop is part of a larger session, consider concluding with a 'Closing Circle' where participants can share one insight they're taking away from the workshop. This can help solidify their learning and commitment to applying it.


  • Ensure the workshop is conducted in a quiet place without interruptions.
  • If the workshop is virtual, adapt the instructions accordingly, omitting physical objects and ensuring everyone has a chance to speak.
  • As the facilitator, you may choose to participate in the Assumption Circle to model the process or to observe and guide the discussion during the debrief.

By conducting the workshop in this manner, participants can become more aware of their assumptions, understand the implications of those assumptions, and start developing habits to challenge them in their daily lives. This process can lead to more thoughtful decision-making and improved interpersonal dynamics.