What do we do with a person that dominates the conversation?
This can be awkward! On the one hand, you don’t want to discourage anyone from contributing to a small group discussion. On the other hand, you want to give fair opportunities for ALL group members to share in the discussion. Of course in the process we don’t want to embarrass anybody. Sometimes this means walking along a very fine line.
E. Stanley Ott in his book, Small Group Life, A Guide for Members and Leaders has a couple of suggestions for treating these potentially obstructive members:
During the group meeting you can respond with “You’ve raised some interesting points, John. Let’s hear from some others.”
Alternately, between meetings, you can pull the chatterbox aside and say “Sue, I’ve notice you have a lot to share. I value your enthusiasm. I also need your help. One of our goals is for as many of us to speak as want to. That means you and I must discipline ourselves to speak less”.
What about you? Do you know of any effective techniques in dealing with an overly talkative member? If so, please share in the comments!