Communication Principle #2
In the second of a four part series called Effective Communication in the Small Group, we are discussing principles that can help the small group facilitator become more effective in assisting people to become free in opening up about their life-challenges.
The second principle is don’t probe. Encourage people to share what they want and remind them not to share past their level of comfort. If someone in the group starts to probe, say to them something like, “Let’s let Bill tell it the way he sees it” or “Why don’t we give Bill a chance to finish what he has to say?”
Discussions are better facilitated when a leader asks a question and looks around the group until someone answers. The leader then asks, “What did others find?” or “What facts did someone else discover?” The leader watches for someone who wants to speak rather than pointing out a specific individual. When a leader patiently persists with good guiding questions, the members will begin addressing their replies to the group. The group grows from leader-centered to group-centered.
One of the goals of the group facilitator should be to provide a safe place where people feel comfortable to share their thoughts. Probing for details on a specific life-challenge or life-controlling problem only brings focus on the problem. Be patient as a group leader and trust God that, in time, the participants will begin to open up more about their issues. Many times, inner healing takes many weeks. As a group facilitator, allow the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts and remain sensitive to the comfort level of each individual.
Excerpts from Small Group Skills Guide Living Free.