The technique for group facilitation highlighted below won’t work in a formal multilateral negotiation setting, but it is a great way to facilitate a group process when the discussion becomes contentious or somehow gets derailed. (If it can work for highly specialized cognitive scientists …)
At a decisive moment, I called a meeting of all the participants. About 25 people crowded into a room, and others were on the phone as part of a brainstorming exercise called “six thinking hats.” This technique, pioneered by the author and inventor Edward de Bono, requires a debate’s participants to identify, by using colors, the essential nature of the points made — white for facts, black for discernment, red for emotions, green for creativity, yellow for optimism and blue for coordination.
During our encounter, everyone was heard and various team members took turns jotting down the “colors” of the statements that they and other people were making. In this way, the participants could see more objectively whether their arguments were driven by facts and solid reasoning, and whether they were being open-minded.
Via When Debate Stalls, Try Your PaintbrushPreoccupations