There are a number of reasons for this, some practical and some philosophical. How can you keep the discussion steadily flowing in a productive way at the right pace towards achieving your objectives? The Tool Box needs your help Attempt to stifle negative emotions, such as anger, boredom, disappointment, disgust, indifference, hopelessness, or misery. There are two ways to look at this question: “What’s the point of group discussion?” and “Why would you, as opposed to someone else, lead a group discussion?”  Let’s examine both. The inside group discussed “Live” as I monitored for a grade, the 2 groups on the outside held a conversation online about the same question. Flip charts, whiteboards, and sticky notes are ideal. Pray for the people in your group. If there are new members, make sure they are introduced. “Tips for Leading Discussions,” by Felisa Tibbits, Human Rights Education Associates. Be sure that your summary reflects the opinions expressed by your group; don’t skew reality to push your personal agenda. If it was the beginning, however, or part of an ongoing discussion, you may have a lot to do before the next session, including contacting people to make sure they’ve done what they promised, and preparing the newsprint notes to be posted at the next session so everyone can remember the discussion. The ultimate comfort, and one that breaks down barriers among people, is that of eating and drinking. This is one of many public speaking articles featured on Six Minutes. Sometimes people will be afraid to go against what the leader says and may just agree with what you say. 1. Find the common ground which binds together diverse opinions and share these connections. Six Minutes Copyright © 2007-2019 All Rights Reserved. (2006). Respected community members. Slides feel permanent, and give the impression that there’s nothing left to discuss. Feedback could be positive, negative, or merely clarifying or correcting factual questions or errors, but is in all cases delivered respectfully. Discussion groups are an important part of an effective youth ministry program, camp or retreat. It emphasizes process (the consideration of ideas) over product (specific tasks to be accomplished within the confines of the meeting itself. Layout the first discussion point. Group discussion can be organized in a number of different ways. Let’s look at these, as well as some do’s and don’t’s for discussion group leaders. (8th edition). Responses given in a focus group are verbal, open-ended, relatively broad and qualitative. Over 150+ Great Icebreakers Questions. There may actually be no need for one, in that the goal may simply be to discuss an issue or idea. If you’re asked your opinion directly, you should answer honestly. They see, hear and communicate with each other orally by paying attention to each other. Work from organized notes. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Even where that’s not the case, facing the conflict reasonably, and looking at the roots of the ideas on each side, can help to focus on the issue at hand and provide solutions far better than if one side or the other simply operated alone. document.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "a8445a989c6856a32fc19885764a77e5" );document.getElementById("a11ec873fb").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); How to Lead a Discussion Group http://t.co/OboWzEjuMN via @6minutes, RT @MichaelHyatt: Some great tips: “How to Lead a Discussion Group” http://t.co/UcMlrKEQuc, How to Lead a Discussion Group – The first article in this series explained how to plan a group discussion. Professionals with group-leading skills – counselors, social workers, therapists, etc. A group of two or three generally doesn’t need a leader to have a good discussion, but once the number reaches five or six, a leader or facilitator can often be helpful. All of these might be examples of group discussions, although they have different purposes, take place in different locations, and probably run in different ways. They include setting, or helping the group to set the discussion topic; fostering the open process; involving all participants; asking questions or offering ideas to advance the discussion; summarizing or clarifying important points, arguments, and ideas; and wrapping up the session. Another is to ask to hold your opinion until the end of the discussion, so as not to influence anyone’s thinking while it’s going on. Summarizing is important to remind your group of the consensus that has been achieved. Techniques for Leading Group Discussions, Chapter 16. Your contribution can help change lives. Keep Your Input to a Minimum ; It’s ok to have input in the group discussion but try to maximize the input from others. In less formal circumstances, you’ll have to make the best of existing conditions. Ultimately, an effective group discussion is one in which many different ideas and viewpoints are heard and considered. 1. Lastly, pray that God would be honored by you as a leader. Create a new situation – form a coalition, start an initiative, etc. Leading a discussion group is not the same as running a meeting. Have your discussion questions prepared in advance so that you can ask them faster. Let them know when you will pass control to them, for what purpose, and for what duration of time. How to Lead a Group Discussion The natural tendency for most people leading a discussion is to lead too strongly, almost as if they are teaching the group. “Be genuinely interested in hearing the opinions of others, and be open to changing any preconceptions you hold.”. This category could include anyone from “professional” community organizers to average citizens who care about an issue or have an idea they want to pursue. It is important to ensure discussions are helpful, based on accurate information and likely to lead to people feeling more empowered. A constant question that leaders – and members – of any group have is what to do about racist, sexist, or homophobic remarks, especially in a homogeneous group where most or all of the members except the leader may agree with them. Some of the salient features common to all group discussions are as follows: (i) Interface:A basic feature of group discussions is the interaction among the various members of the group. It’s important to think about what you’re most comfortable with philosophically, and how that fits what you’re comfortable with personally. In the latter case, you may have the chance to choose a space and otherwise structure the situation. Eye contact, agreement and body language are the best tools to win the favour of other participants and lead the discussion in the direction that you want. Lead a Group That Matters. Rather, bringing a group discussion to life requires a subtle framework, the right pace, smooth guidance, and an interested host. However, starting with a few knowledge-type questions is an excellent way … Don’t ask people to do something, and then ignore it. If you’re committed to a non-directive style, but you tend to want to control everything in a situation, you may have to learn some new behaviors in order to act on your beliefs. When I pray for my group, I like to picture the … It may not have a specific goal – many group discussions are just that: a group kicking around ideas on a particular topic. A discussion is an adventure -- you may not know exactly where it will go, but you can lead the way. Act decisively. These categories include (but aren’t limited to): The need or desire for a group discussion might of course arise anytime, but there are some times when it’s particularly necessary. If the question is less clear-cut, you might want to throw it back to the group, and use it as a spur to discussion. A group discussion is a type of meeting, but it differs from the formal meetings in a number of ways: An effective group discussion generally has a number of elements: Many group discussions have no specific purpose except the exchange of ideas and opinions. In the next article of this series, we’ll learn how to manage challenging personalities within your group. When the time comes for the transition, make sure this shift is communicated clearly to the group. Scratch the surface before you go deeper. There is no clear-cut answer, although if they pass unchallenged, it may appear you condone the attitude expressed. As a leader, to lead a group discussion, you have great influence over the mood of the room. Whether you are an outgoing extrovert or the shy one in the group, you can lead your book club in an engaging discussion by following these few simple steps. Every discussion is different, and being a successful leader requires you to adapt to your individual situation. If left unchecked, the atmosphere may begin to feel combative. The leader has to summarize facts and information, integrate them, stimulate thinking and agree to a unanimous solution … The Community Tool Box is a service of the. Capturing What People Say: Tips for Recording a Meeting, Suggestions for Leading Small-Group Discussions, Center for Community Health and Development. Remind the group when it's time for the discussion to start. (ii) Leader and Members:Group discussions are effective only when there is a group of members and a leader. Exhibit genuine positive emotions, such as happiness, excitement, curiosity, optimism, surprise, and thoughtfulness. That may lead to a goal ultimately...but it may not. The first article in this series explained how to plan a group discussion. Plan for prayer. Bring materials to help the discussion along. This is especially true when the group is stuck, either because two opposing ideas or factions are at an impasse, or because no one is able or willing to say anything. A common mistake made by discussion leaders is to converge too early. The point is made that many good group or meeting leaders are, in fact, facilitators, whose main concern is supporting and maintaining the process of the group’s work. This allows you to naturally “close” one topic and move on to the next. Icebreaker Questions for Amazing Group Discussion. The nature of these tools make them ideal for encouraging participation: a blank canvas, easy to erase (or turn the page) and iterate. If the recorder is a group member, the group and/or leader should come up with a strategy that allows her to participate fully in the discussion. Joining Together: Group theory and group skills. Air concerns and differences among individuals or groups. Explore cooperative or collaborative arrangements among groups or organizations, Discuss and/or analyze an issue, with no specific goal in mind but understanding. Sometimes individuals or factions that are trying to dominate can disrupt the process of the group. Later, with many ideas on the table, start narrowing the options together and converge on the best ideas. It may also mean a space away from the ordinary. The methods used in a given command will depend upon the local situation as judged by the individual who takes the lead in the planning. Hold public hearings on proposed laws or regulations, development, etc. It won’t hurt to think beforehand about how you want to handle it. This is particularly true when it comes to group discussion, where the process is, in fact, the purpose of the group’s coming together. Be convincing – You can also convince the other participants to get back in the discussion. A good facilitator helps the group set rules for itself, makes sure that everyone participates and that no one dominates, encourages the development and expression of all ideas, including “odd” ones, and safeguards an open process, where there are no foregone conclusions and everyone’s ideas are respected. Speech Analysis: Franklin Roosevelt Pearl Harbor Address, Speech Analysis: Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain”, Audience Analysis Worksheet [Free PDF Download], Top 35 Presentation Books: Expert Ratings, Slide Charts: 20 Guidelines for Great Presentation Design, Slide Fonts: 11 Guidelines for Great Design, Book Review: Presentation Patterns (Neal Ford, Matthew McCullough, Nathaniel Schutta), Interview with Ryan Avery: 2012 World Champion of Public Speaking, Interview with Kristin Arnold, National Speakers Association President. Preparing to Lead a Group Discussion 1. The ground rules of a group discussion are the guidelines that help to keep the discussion on track, and prevent it from deteriorating into namecalling or simply argument. In these circumstances, the leader’s ability to identify points of agreement, or to ask the question that will get discussion moving again is crucial to the group’s effectiveness. The sign of a poor discussion leader is one who attempts to systematically convince everyone else in the room that they are always right. It’s not an easy task, but it can be extremely rewarding. An effective discussion group depends on a leader or facilitator who can guide it through an open process – the group chooses what it’s discussing, if not already determined, discusses it with no expectation of particular conclusions, encourages civil disagreement and argument, and makes sure that every member is included and no one dominates. How you challenge prejudice is the real question. A local coalition forms a task force to address the rising HIV rate among teens in the community. Usually, that means comfortable furniture that can be moved around (so that, for instance, the group can form a circle, allowing everyone to see and hear everyone else easily). A discussion group, however, is not typically made up of students, but rather, peers who all have something to share and something to learn from one another. Having said that, keep it on course by being well-organized. Resolve problems with the environment as they occur. All members of the group have a chance to speak, expressing their own ideas and feelings freely, and to pursue and finish out their thoughts, All members of the group can hear others’ ideas and feelings stated openly, Group members can safely test out ideas that are not yet fully formed. Pray that your group members build loving, authentic relationships. Donate now. (The exceptions are opinions or ideas that are discriminatory or downright false.) One is to state your opinion, but make very clear that it’s an opinion, not a fact, and that other people believe differently. Members of an environmental group attend a workshop on the effects of global warming. Each time you record a shared decision, it builds momentum for the group. It's your turn to moderate/lead your book club's discussion. Everyday-Democracy. In order to lead a meaningful discussion, you should strike a balance between confidence about what you know and a willingness to learn more. It’s less formal, and may have no time constraints, or structured order, or agenda. You have some choices about how you do that, however. The exception here is when someone has been chosen by her community or group to represent its point of view in a multi-sector discussion. Use certain conventions or language that will exclude certain groups from understanding the context of the discussion, or make them feel uncomfortable. Generate an agenda or goals for the session. (Occasionally, you may kick start a discussion with a few slides to set context, but don’t overuse them. Some of the most common reasons that you might be in that situation: You might find yourself in one of these situations if you fall into one of the categories of people who are often tapped to lead group discussions. Try to enter the GD after a participant has … Pray that nothing distracts them or keeps them from being a part of the group. In thi… http://t.co/S6RmpBXbyd, How to Lead a Discussion Group http://t.co/idjhn1hdGi via @6minutes, How to Lead a Discussion Group http://t.co/QikW2q5SoC #publicspeaking, How to Lead a Discussion Group http://t.co/6vQbnl9xoF, How to Lead a Discussion Group http://t.co/bKJdauptGg http://t.co/NwBMgetv6t, “How to Lead a Discussion Group” http://t.co/B5tSSTez8u, Cómo dirigir una discusión de grupo [en]: http://t.co/wtlLyhwb97 /de @6minutes #presentaciones. If that’s the case, it should be agreed upon at the outset. Become familiar with the purpose and content of the discussion. These folks may be respected for their leadership – president of the Rotary Club, spokesperson for an environmental movement – for their positions in the community – bank president, clergyman – or simply for their personal qualities – integrity, fairness, ability to communicate with all sectors of the community. Subscribe to Six Minutes for free to receive future articles. Even in that situation, the individual may find herself swayed by others’ arguments, or may have ideas of her own. A community health educator facilitates a smoking cessation support group. to remain available. Sometimes the best parts of a discussion are the unexpected turns it takes. Both Sections 1 and 2 of this chapter contain some guidelines for dealing with this type of situation. There’s much more involved than simply getting people in a room, waving a magic wand, and declaring “Discuss now!” Your role as a discussion leader is complex and requires great mental dexterity and tact. When time was up, a different group came inside to the live discussion and the 1st group then went outside and logged into the discussion online. You might choose to lead a group discussion, or you might find yourself drafted for the task. One organization often held discussions on the terrace of an old mill that had been turned into a bookstore and café. Especially if most people in the group don’t know one another, it’s your job as leader to establish a comfortable atmosphere and set the tone for the discussion. Pray that your group members take time to do their prep for the study and that they are intentional about applying what they learn. Leading an effective group discussion takes preparation (if you have the opportunity for it), an understanding of and commitment to an open process, and a willingness to let go of your ego and biases. As the discussion heats up, emotions can run high among participants. and reinvent the way you work. Be genuinely interested in hearing the opinions of others, and be open to changing any preconceptions you hold. In one unit, small and in-formal discussion groups may … 4. 2. It helps greatly if the leader comes to the task with a democratic or, especially, a collaborative style, and with an understanding of how a group functions. How active you are might depend on your leadership style, but you definitely have some responsibilities here. Your ground rules – the issue of respecting everyone – should address this issue, and it probably won’t come up…but there are no guarantees. If you’ve been the recorder, you might want to put the notes from the session in order, type them up, and send them to participants. In short discussions (e.g. Better an all-out discussion where everything is on the table, and you can support your point of view with other Scriptures, than to assume you know all the answers. All Rights Reserved. Make sure everyone gets any necessary information, readings, or other material beforehand. When the group numbers eight or more, a leader or facilitator, whether formal or informal, is almost always helpful in ensuring an effective discussion. Can be extremely rewarding groups meant to address community issues people feeling more empowered a health! Good ideal to strive for might depend on your leadership style, which we mentioned earlier! Pretend that you are might depend on your leadership style, but it may also mean a space otherwise! Ahead of time, whiteboards, and try to do something, then..., which we mentioned briefly earlier in the hearts and minds of group! Together and converge on the spot — this never turns out well, draw upon classic public speaking skills.... Of water from the mill stream rushing by put everyone at ease, and reinvent way! Highs and lows how to lead a group discussion ease, and shouldn ’ t skew reality to push your personal.. 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Permanent, and thoughtfulness or may have the opportunity, learn as much as possible about the under... Of members and a time to do something, and how to lead a group discussion discussion group is the! Be afraid to go ” one topic and how to lead a group discussion on to the group focused can you the...