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Feedback Exercise: (Receiver In Control) - The WARM Seat, Not The Hot Seat

Brief Description/Purpose

Best used for team meetings, or with groups of people who work together and know each other well enough to provide feedback to each other.

The purpose is to focus people on the importance of having the recipient in control of the feedback.


Group Exercise, Q & A

Age Appropriate

Teen, Adult

Ideal Group Size

8-10 people. If more are present, then you can break into sub-groups.

Time For Exercise

One or two minutes per person in the group receiving feedback


Communication skill, teams

Detailed Instructions If Needed

Have the group arrange themselves in a horseshoe pattern with one chair (the receiver chair facing the horseshoe. The receiver then asks questions of the group, or individuals that will provide him or her with valuable feedback.

If at any time, the receiver feels uncomfortable with the feedback, s/he can signal with a stop sign, or get up and rejoin the group. Continue the process until everyone has had a chance to experience being "in control".

Additional Information if Available

Here's the original information from

The 'warm seat' generates ideas for action points for the seated person.
Unlike the 'hot seat' where individuals are put on the spot and face questions from others, the 'warm seat' is a comfortable seat from which the seated person asks the questions. The most important feature of this reviewing method is that the seated person is in control: if they feel 'too hot', 'too cold' or in any way uncomfortable, they leave the seat to stop whatever is being said.


  • The group will have shared a number of experiences together and they are ready to think about applying what they have learned to situations outside the immediate learning environment. The concept of action points is briefly explained, and each person is asked to think of one or two questions to ask to the group which will help them with ideas for action points. (How could I be more ...? What should I do if ...? How could I get on better with ...?)
  • Seating is arranged in a horse-shoe facing the 'warm seat'. The first questioner sits in the warm seat and asks their question, which is then clearly written up on a board behind the 'warm seat'. This arrangement focuses the group's attention both on the question and on the questioner.
  • If the questioner asks a question about a situation which is not well known to the group, the reviewer should say, "It will not be easy to answer your question unless you tell us a bit more about ..."
  • The questioner may choose to change their question, ask extra questions, or give more information but (assuming there is a time limit for each person's time in the warm seat), the more they talk, the more they reduce the time for answers.


I believe feedback exercises should be supervised by a competent group facilitator to ensure things don't get out of hand , so that any bad feelings are not left unresolved.

Remember that as with most exercises, it's the debriefing that makes the learning happen. Tailor it to your goal in using the exercise.