Why must we turn away from the table during the blind window?

I was recently invited to participate in a forum to observe the process and enhance their forum experience by providing better structure and introducing new ideas. However, I also gained a deeper understanding of one particular aspect of the process that I hadn’t realized before.

Towards the end of a typical deep-dive presentation, there is a section known as the blind window.

During the blind window, the presenter typically turns away from the table, and the group then reflects on what they heard the presenter say during the presentation.

The typical structure for this reflection is as follows:

“I heard (NAME) say…, which makes me wonder…”

In the forum I was observing, the presenter didn’t turn away from the table and instead remained facing everyone while they continued to give their reflections in the format I shared above.

Almost instantly, I observed something I had never noticed before in group dynamics: a massive amount of mental energy is expended on sending and receiving nonverbal communication cues while we talk.

In normal conversation, this is unavoidable since people typically face each other. However, during the blind window section of the deep dive, our goal is for the presenter to be as non-defensive and reflective as possible. I noticed that achieving this goal became exponentially more challenging when they were facing the group and interacting with normal nonverbal cues.

My observation of this was something I had never noticed before. However, it serves as a strong reminder to me and everyone in a forum that during the deep dive blind window section, it’s essential to ensure that the person turns away from the table. This will guarantee they provide the most value possible by being non-defensive and reflective.