Sometimes people will be afraid to go against what the leader says and may just agree with what you say. Later, with many ideas on the table, start narrowing the options together and converge on the best ideas. © 1994-2020 The University of Kansas. They can either answer or pass -- and no negativity is associated with … 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. A discussion is an adventure -- you may not know exactly where it will go, but you can lead the way. That’s not a discussion; it’s a lecture. Layout the first discussion point. Everyday-Democracy. Lead a Group Discussion Tip #12. We’ll begin by looking at what you might consider if you have time to prepare. This free resource will help you to be an effective discussion group leader and also gives some good tips on how to deal with some tricky situations you may face as you lead a group. Exhibit genuine positive emotions, such as happiness, excitement, curiosity, optimism, surprise, and thoughtfulness. (8th edition). 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. Knowing some tricks of the trade will increase student/audience participation and prevent avoidable boredom from rearing its ugly head. Learn how to effectively conduct a critical conversation about a particular topic, or topics, that allows participation by all members of your organization. Techniques for Leading Group Discussions, Chapter 16. As the discussion heats up, emotions can run high among participants. Group discussion can be organized in a number of different ways. The sign of a poor discussion leader is one who attempts to systematically convince everyone else in the room that they are always right. Preparing to Lead a Group Discussion 1. Discussion groups are an important part of an effective youth ministry program, camp or retreat. Air concerns and differences among individuals or groups. Analysis, synthesis, and evaluation questions generally lend themselves to more in-depth discussion of the topic. 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. A group of parents meets to wrestle with their feeling that their school district is shortchanging its students. It may also mean a space away from the ordinary. The Tool Box needs your help An effective group discussion can lay the groundwork for action and real community change. 1. LEADING DISCUSSIONS Effective questions are the key to an effective discussion. 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. Read our permissions policy, privacy policy, or disclosure policy. A college class in human services approaches the topic of dealing with reluctant participants. Use certain conventions or language that will exclude certain groups from understanding the context of the discussion, or make them feel uncomfortable. (Occasionally, you may kick start a discussion with a few slides to set context, but don’t overuse them. There is nothing wrong … 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. Even after you’ve wrapped up the discussion, you’re not necessarily through. Focus group discussions should be used when you need to understand an issue at a deeper level than you can access with a survey. The ideal here is that other members of the group do the challenging, and it may be worth waiting long enough before you jump in to see if that’s going to happen. Before you or your … The chances are that, like most of us, you fall somewhere in between the extremes of the leader who sets the agenda and dominates the group completely, and the leader who essentially leads not at all. Ask that God would lead the discussion where he wants it to go. Take some time and pray that God will work in the hearts and minds of your group. Schedule slips inevitably lead to unsatisfied objectives. Pray that nothing distracts them or keeps them from being a part of the group. The ultimate comfort, and one that breaks down barriers among people, is that of eating and drinking. There is a time to teach and a time to listen. Try to enter the GD after a participant has … Forsyth, D .Group Dynamics. What Does Your Personal Brand Say About You as a Speaker. Group discussions are common in a democratic society, and, as a community builder, it’s more than likely that you have been and will continue to be involved in many of them. Questions are key to good discussion and should be used by a facilitator or leader to initiate, promote and manage the discussion. Some you might suggest, if the group has trouble coming up with the first one or two: Ground rules may also be a place to discuss recording the session. Resolve problems with the environment as they occur. First, we encourage you to pray. Hold public hearings on proposed laws or regulations, development, etc. ), “Your role as a discussion leader is complex and requires great mental dexterity and tact.”. When the time comes for the transition, make sure this shift is communicated clearly to the group. Try to enter a GD during low times. The words you choose and the non-verbal communication you exude are infectious, whether positive or negative. 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. Assume participants all have the same expectations when the group first convenes. Set clear objectives. Subscribe to Six Minutes for free to receive future articles. 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. You have some choices about how you do that, however. Most discussions are aided by the use of newsprint and markers to record ideas, for example. Make it even more dramatic by playing up the concept of speed, fun and excitement. In long discussions (e.g. It's also important to spend some time in prayer before each group meeting. It’s less formal, and may have no time constraints, or structured order, or agenda. Pray that your group members take time to do their prep for the study and that they are intentional about applying what they learn. This will help you to lead the discussion and nail the group discussion. Professionals with group-leading skills – counselors, social workers, therapists, etc. Short-answer questions obviously work best for this technique. Johnson, D., & Frank P. (2002). The Community Tool Box is a service of the. If the situation is particularly difficult, a directive leader might be needed to keep control of the discussion and make. That may lead to a goal ultimately...but it may not. Be sure that your summary reflects the opinions expressed by your group; don’t skew reality to push your personal agenda. Rather, bringing a group discussion to life requires a subtle framework, the right pace, smooth guidance, and an interested host. Let them know when you will pass control to them, for what purpose, and for what duration of time. Are you a directive or non-directive leader? She may have agreed to sponsor particular ideas that are important to her group, but she may still have her own opinions as well, especially in other areas. 1. It may help to complete the … If you’re asked a direct question, you might want to answer it if it’s a question of fact and you know the answer, and if it’s relevant to the 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 a lengthy session (e.g. A politician convenes a “town hall meeting” of constituents to brainstorm ideas for the economic development of the region. Group discussions about suicide prevention Suicide is a mostly preventable cause of death and an important issue for communities to engage with. In the current scenario, group discussion has become an important selection criteria for the students aspiring to get into a good B School and all leading organizations have started depending on this process for the recruitment of new employees. There are a number of reasons for this, some practical and some philosophical. Pray for the people in your group. Donate now. Slides feel permanent, and give the impression that there’s nothing left to discuss. The sound of water from the mill stream rushing by put everyone at ease, and encouraged creative thought. If a goal must be reached in a short time period, a directive leader might help to keep the group focused. It won’t hurt to think beforehand about how you want to handle it. If you’re asked your opinion directly, you should answer honestly. 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. The nature of these tools make them ideal for encouraging participation: a blank canvas, easy to erase (or turn the page) and iterate. Most of the time, however, it is wiser to stick to the schedule. 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. This allows the group to accomplish its purpose if it has one, or to establish a basis either for ongoing discussion or for further contact and collaboration among its members. (2006). Become familiar with the purpose and content of the discussion. The notes might also include a summary of conclusions that were reached, as well as any assignments or follow-up activities that were agreed on. Not only does this strategy carry the risk of missing a good idea, but it makes participants tentative, fearing embarrassment for offering an idea that may be immediately eliminated. How can you keep the discussion steadily flowing in a productive way at the right pace towards achieving your objectives? Support the temporary leader by being an active participant. You can go around … Learn how to lead a group that: Is gospel-centered. 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. Make sure everyone gets any necessary information, readings, or other material beforehand. 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. The group's composition and the group discussion are carefully planned to create a nonthreatening environment in … Your ground rules – the issue of respecting everyone – should address this issue, and it probably won’t come up…but there are no guarantees. Flip charts, whiteboards, and sticky notes are ideal. Image credit: Group discussion by Shelley Mannion (CC BY-NC 2.0). Study Circles Resource Center. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but that you have to make sure that they can be expressed, and that discussion of them is respectful, even in disagreement. Odd ideas often turn out to be correct, and shouldn’t be stifled. 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. If participants are asked to read something, consider questions, complete a task, or otherwise prepare for the discussion, make sure that the assignment is attended to and used. This allows you to naturally “close” one topic and move on to the next. A survey would be a good way to learn that 54% of the population prefers Program A. 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). 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. Be genuinely interested in hearing the opinions of others, and be open to changing any preconceptions you hold. 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 active you are might depend on your leadership style, but you definitely have some responsibilities here. Lastly, pray that God would be honored by you as a leader. Talk to any MBA aspirant or a job seeker, he can very well tell the importance of a Group Discussion also called GD. If you are looking for what if questions, icebreaker questions for small groups, group questions, funny conversation topics, and more. When someone contributes a fresh idea, explore it wholly, regardless of what your initial reaction might be. Still, there are a set of best practices which will lead you to success more often than not. In short discussions (e.g. When you do give input try to summarize, recap, or clarify what others are saying. The words you choose and the non-verbal communication you exude are infectious, whether positive or negative. Remember to take breaks at regular intervals; exhausted participants will tend to lose focus and become quiet. Don’t force conclusions or answers. Several of the examples given at the beginning of the section – the group of parents concerned about their school system, for instance, or the college class – fall into this category, as do public hearings and similar gatherings. Leading a discussion group is not the same as running a meeting. Some of the most memorable group meetings occur when the leader is willing to scrap the plan for the night and address a specific need, or do something fun and spontaneous. The moments when you summarize verbally are excellent opportunities to clearly document decisions you have reached. What can you do to ensure a successful meeting? Over 150+ Great Icebreakers Questions. The group has a trained leader, or facilitator. If there are new members, make sure they are introduced. Icebreaker Questions for Amazing Group Discussion. tell stories; make analogies; walk up and down the ladder of abstraction. 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. Instead, help all participants understand and appreciate the perspectives being offered by others. Members of an environmental group attend a workshop on the effects of global warming. 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. Its leadership is usually less directive than that of a meeting. Summarizing is important to remind your group of the consensus that has been achieved. It emphasizes process (the consideration of ideas) over product (specific tasks to be accomplished within the confines of the meeting itself. You might choose to lead a group discussion, or you might find yourself drafted for the task. Knowing how to lead effective group discussions is a vitally important skill for both the classroom teacher or corporate executive. You also may be in a position to lead one, and that’s what this section is about. A good way to break the ice is to let everyone introduce themselves. “Tips for Leading Discussions,” by Felisa Tibbits, Human Rights Education Associates. As leader, you have great influence over the mood of the room. All too often, conflict – whether conflicting opinions, conflicting world views, or conflicting personalities – is so frightening to people that they do their best to ignore it or gloss it over. Ask questions sincerely. Ask God for wisdom about how to lead, what the goal of your group is, how to spend your time together and what to study. Project on Civic Reflection provides information about leading study circles on civic reflection. In this article, we describe best practices when leading a group discussion. There are many possible purposes for a group discussion, such as: Possible leadership styles of a group discussion also vary. Even with a fixed day, a reminder a few days ahead can be useful, and knowing where the meeting is to be is very useful! Sometimes that can actually be productive and others, a total waste of time. Is sometimes simply the obvious, or even the only, way to proceed. 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. 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. Facilitators are non-directive, and try to keep themselves out of the discussion, except to ask questions or make statements that advance it. Attempt to stifle negative emotions, such as anger, boredom, disappointment, disgust, indifference, hopelessness, or misery. Information and publications related to study circles, participatory discussion groups meant to address community issues. A focus group is a small-group discussion guided by a leader or moderator. They are helpful for adding meaning and understanding to existing knowledge, or getting at the “why” and “how” of a topic. 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. If left unchecked, the atmosphere may begin to feel combative. 2. Create a strategic plan – for an initiative, an advocacy campaign, an intervention, etc. In the latter case, you may have the chance to choose a space and otherwise structure the situation. If you have the opportunity, learn as much as possible about the topic under discussion. Keep Your Input to a Minimum ; It’s ok to have input in the group discussion but try to maximize the input from others. 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