The Delphi Technique — What Is It?
The Delphi Technique was originally conceived as a way to obtain the opinion of
experts without necessarily bringing them together face to face. In recent times,
however, it has taken on an all new meaning and purpose. In Educating for the New World Order by B. Eakman, the reader finds reference upon reference for the need to preserve the illusion that there is “…lay, or community, participation (in the decisionmaking process), while lay citizens were, in fact, being squeezed out.”
They may call them ‘visioning meetings.’ The attendees are often given a number or a colored card when they enter the room, to determine at which table they are to sit. The purpose of this is to break up the groups of potentially knowledgeable people who arrive together so that they will be sitting with strangers and therefore be subdued.
Typically, there is a facilitator at each table , someone who will know which way to help “steer” the group. Usually the people at each table are instructed to answer among themselves some of the questions and arrive at a table consensus. Someone is chosen to speak for the table, most of the time it is the person who has been secretly pre-briefed about the desired Delphi outcome. The table spokesperson is the only one allowed to address the podium and the others have little opportunity to address the podium or the crowd directly.
Anyone knowledgeable enough, or brave enough, to speak out in opposition will not be welcomed. Often they are told from the podium, “We don’t have time to discuss that now,” or “We discussed that on another date,” or “We can discuss that after the meeting.” They will attempt to quiet, isolate, and discredit dissenters. After attending the Delphi meeting, participants may feel uneasy that they are in disagreement with the apparent majority. The Delphi technique is often successful in bluffing people into submission. Don’t let them succeed. Call their bluff. Read more
The Techniques of Unethical Consensus-Building Unmasked.
This is the seminar manual used at Eakman’s workshops.
This powerful workbook teaches:
- how to recognize psychological manipulation,
- how to work around it to reframe the debate to take it away from your adversary, and
- how to argue the issue in question on your terms, not on your opponent’s
A collection of documents about the Delphi Technique and how to thwart it
How to handle predetermined consensus meetings
What American Citizens Need to Know About Consensus and Facilitation
Alinsky for Teacher Organizers