Discussions Matter Train-The-Trainer

The purpose of this course is to support successful facilitation of Discussions Matter©, by providing resources that drive member engagement and reinforce learning.  




Which responses demonstrate commitment to facilitate Discussions Matter? Check ALL THAT APPLY.

Commitment is Key!

Are you committed to facilitating Discussions Matter toward changing the status quo? 

  • I am absolutely 100% committed! I believe discussions matter and look forward to facilitating
  • Yes, I am committed, although I am nervous about facilitating discussions
  • I am not committed, and not confident that discussions will matter

Demonstrating commitment

  • Based on the statements that demonstrate commitment, I am completely committed and ready to engage others!

Fill in the blanks!! What are the results of commitment?

If I am to facilitating participants will be more which will support a learning experience.


Properly prepare for implementation of Discussions Matter© content

Take the time to prepare

There are several steps toward preparing for successful delivery:

  • Read "Discussions Matter to Law Enforcement" - the book
  • Read "Discussions Matter to Law Enforcement" - the facilitator guide
  • Take notes and identify real life examples that you can share during discussions
  • Schedule time to prepare and present
  • If you are not prepared, it will be clear to your participants

Facilitate Discussions with agency members, based on their Topic reading assignment

Topic Reading Assignments

There are five topics within the Workbook. Your Facilitator Guide is designed to support successful facilitation of discussion related to those topics.  Each Topic has a related learning objective.  In order for you to lead others through the discussion, you should be very familiar with the topic by reading, reviewing Facilitator Guidelines, taking notes to help you remember scenarios to share, and preparing to ask probing questions.

Topic 1 - To Protect and Serve

The purpose of this topic is to provide self-awareness. Following Topic 1, participants will: 

  • Understand agency expectations for performance and behaviors. 
  • Develop community awareness of agency expectations. 
  • Assess their own personal biases, that may be influenced by current events, and address improvement opportunities.

Topic 2 - Understanding Police Legitimacy & Followership

The purpose of this topic is to provide community awareness.  Following Topic 2, participants will: 

  • Have a better perspective of how they and community members view legitimacy, and use that knowledge to improve relationships. 
  • Understand how to use relationship building, versus authority, to improve interactions with community stakeholders. 
  • Discover similarities and differences between their expectations and those of community members to bridge relationship gaps.

Topic 3 - Demonstrating Values-Based Performance

The purpose of this topic is to provide agency awareness.   Following Topic 3, participants will:

  • Develop or update the agency value statement to ensure it is inclusive and represents the agency’s current focus.
  • Have renewed accountability to agency values, defining how they will demonstrate those values as they serve.
  • Use knowledge of challenges they, and other members, face to identify opportunities for personal and agency improvement.

Topic 4 - Visible Active Engagement & Vision

The purpose of this topic is to provide relationship awareness.  Following Topic 4, participants will: 

  • Identify elements that are stressing internal and external relationships, to mitigate risks to positive change and trust building. 
  • Establish/leverage an agency vision that motivates agency and community members toward active change that builds relationships between them.
  • Develop stakeholder messages and action plans to target agreed upon gaps in community engagement.

Topic 5 - Making the Decision to Change

The purpose of this topic is to provide change agility.  Following Topic 5, participants will:

  • Establish a commitment to make and/or influence positive change.
  • Realistically identify barriers to making positive change, assess risks and establish agreed upon tasks. 
  • Apply new knowledge, practices and principles to drive change, demonstrating the behaviors that promote sustainable differences within the agency and community.

Wait...what is "Change Agility"?

Change Agility

Change is hard. A report by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) states that “the greatest job qualification for today’s police executives is the ability to recognize and respond to the swiftly changing issues and opportunities facing them. Police chiefs often speak of their role as being ‘agents of change.’ Never before has managing change been a larger element of their jobs.” (Fischer, 2014).  

Change agility simply means that you have the desire, ability, resources and commitment to adjust to change rapidly, in your mission to protect and serve yourself, your agency and your stakeholders.

Craig Fischer, ed., “Legitimacy and Procedural Justice: A New Element of Police Leadership,” Police Executive Research Forum. March 2014, http://www.policeforum.org/assets/docs/Free_Online_Documents/Leadership/legitimacy%20and%20procedural%20justice%20-%20a%20new%20element%20of%20police%20leadership.pdf.

What type of participant could disrupt a discussion? CHECK ALL THAT APPLY

  • Participants who are not committed to changing, and are negative
  • Participants who are silent the entire discussion
  • Participants who dominate the discussion
  • Participants who are not attentive, bored or multitasking

Engaging Participants in Discussions

Engaging the disengaged

There may be several reasons for disengagement that have little to do with the discussion.  Some common reasons: lack of sleep, distracted by other thoughts, fear of speaking up in front of peers.  Other reasons related to the discussion may be: didn't complete the reading assignment, unable to relate to the discussion, already an expert in the content.  

Managing Negativity

We all know this person.  There is a fault with all things spoken.  He or she can find one flaw in every good example.  They disrupt the discussion and attempt to prove to everyone else how much time is being wasted.  If they're not talking, they're showing discontent through body language and sounds.  As a facilitator, this person can only throw you off of your game, if you allow them to do so.

How can you manage disengaged or disruptive participants?

It is a good practice to remind everyone at the start of the class of ground rules, such as respect for one another, all attendees are expected to actively participate, hold each other accountable for participating, and any other rules they would like to establish as a group. Have a few prepared, and then ask if there are others they would like to add.  

  • The quiet participant
    Call on them by name, direct a question or ask them to share examples, i.e. "Jim, what do you think? How have you handled that situation"?
  • The bored participant
    Invite them to help you facilitate one of the discussion items. "Monica, can you help me with this one? What are some challenges we may not have yet covered"?
  • The negative participant
    Ask others to share positive approaches. "Jill, you seem to have a negative perception of this Topic. Can someone share benefits or positive examples that show how this can be applied in a positive manner"?
  • The dominating participant
    Interrupt, paraphrase their lengthy response, thank them, and transition to another participant by directly asking a question. "Andre, so what I hear you saying is that this could create stronger relationships. Great, thank you. Lisa, how about you"?


Do you already have your Discussions Matter Facilitator Guide?

  • Yes!
  • No, not yet!

Your Facilitator Guide is Designed for YOU

YOUR Guide to Engaging Participants in Discussions Matter

The Discussions Matter Facilitator Guide is a working document.  It is not designed to read and shelf, but to use for successful facilitation, taking active notes, capturing stories, and even referencing when similar incidents occur to educate agency members.  

Facilitator Guide Format & Time Commitment


What Have You Learned?

  • What is most important for you to demonstrate as a facilitator of Discussions Matter?
  • What will you do if you have disruptive participants in your meeting?
    Use methods for engaging them, such as paraphrasing or asking them direct questions
  • What are the core purposes of each Topic Discussion?
    Self awareness, community awareness, agency awareness, change agility
  • What should you do to prepare for an impactful Discussion?
    Read the Topic, read and prepare notes in the Facilitator Guide, prepare examples and perspectives
  • What is expected of members after they walk away from the meeting?
    That they are able to apply what they have learned beyond discussions


Applying What You've Learned

Prepare to Facilitate

70% of your success will be realized through effective preparation!  

Engage Participants

Engaging participants before, during and after Discussions Matter sessions, provides them with a positive learning experience.

Enlist Others

Enlist other leaders to facilitate Discussions! Once you have experienced the process, teach others and pass along your knowledge to other facilitators.

Resources to Support Learning

Resources Available via www.discussionsmatter.com  

The 60-Day Impact Tool

Guidelines for Visible and Active Engagement

Identifying Opportunities for Visible and Active Engagement

The Visible and Active Engagement Checklist: Measuring Results


You are ready to begin your Discussions Matter journey!