Hints for a Successful Sharing Group meeting
1. Have a consistent procedure
2. It should be clear and agreed who is the leader of that day’s meeting
3. Be willing to postpone the topic prepared for that night if there are special needs or if someone who does not know much about Christianity visits the group – put their needs first.
4. Sit in a circle, with everyone at the same level (not some lying on floor, etc.)
5. Have one extra chair, and include prayer that next time someone would be there to fill it.
Attitudes that lead to success:
1. A belief that everyone’s experience and contributions are precious
2. Make your contribution not based on your need, but on what will help others
3. Don’t respond to other’s comments in a way that makes them reluctant to talk again. Create an atmosphere of safety and respect.
4. Give full attention to the person who is speaking
How to lead successful discussions
1. Ask questions that cannot be answered by a simple “yes” or “no.”
2. Don’t single people out: say “what does the group think about…”
3. Don’t use academic style. Say “Do we have any thoughts about …”
4. Give enough time for people to think up an answer – don’t feel you need to fill silence
5. Thank people for sharing, even if you don’t agree with what they said.
6. Show your respect for the person’s answer by paraphrasing (“what I heard you say was …”) or by follow-up “could you clarify what you meant by …”)
7. If someone is talking too long, break in with a question to the group as a whole.
8. Ask about the pros and cons of something, the different ways to look at it
9. Invite people to share their personal experiences about the topic.
10. It is not necessary to come to agreement – just to make sure everyone has been heard.
11. Help everyone be alert to the fine line between sharing and gossip
1. Article on Types of Questions http://www.smallgroups.com/articles/2012/basics-of-facilitating.html
2. Video on Follow-up Questions at http://www.smallgroups.com/articles/2013/ask-follow-up-questions-to-facilitate-great-discussion.html
3. The Lutheran Hour speaker has produced these 12 10-minute videos, with questions to consider: http://www.lhm.org/godconnects/