Technique - Five Minute Rule

A way of taking an invisible or marginalized perspective and entertaining it respectfully fora short period of time.


Anyone who feels that a particular point of view is not being taken seriously has a right to point this out and call for this exercise to be used.


The group then agrees to take five minutes to consider the merits of this perspective, refrain from criticizing it, and make every effort to believe it. Only those who can speak in support of it are allowed to speak, using the questions below as prompts. All critics must remain silent.

Questions and Prompts

  • What’s interesting or helpful about this view?
  • What are some intriguing features that others might not have noticed?
  • What would be different if you believed this view, if you accepted it as true?
  • In what sense and under what conditions might this idea be true?

This technique was adapted from Brookfield and Preskill, who based it on Peter Elbow’s “The Believing Game.”