My Group Member Won’t Talk!

Encouraging a quiet group member to participate

©2012 Doug Michael. Used by permission.

How do I encourage our quiet, shy member to Participate in our group discussions?

Getting people to talk or share in your small group, especially those
who are shy, generally takes some gentle urging.   First of all, don’t be in a rush to get them to talk, often they will make a comment after being in the group for a while.  Then you can encourage the quiet, shy person by simply stating,  “Joyce  – what are your thoughts on this?” or “Joe – would you feel comfortable giving us your thoughts on that  question?”

Then remember it’s Okay for the person to decline comment.

(From the Small Group Life booklet by Dr. E. Stanley Ott.)

Other Techniques

  • Ask a question early in the meeting that most people can respond to
    and the go round robin asking for responses. (E.g., ask, “What is one
    thing you accomplished this past year in which you take a great deal
    of satisfaction.?”)
  • Give people five minutes to write down their ideas or thoughts in a
    silent brainstorm before opening the general discussion.
  • Break into small groups or pairs to discuss aspects of an issue before
    opening the general discussion. Be sure the questions or issue to be
    discussed is clear. Ask the groups what they came up with.

(These and other suggestions to draw out quiet group members are available from Academic Leadership Support.)

What about you?  What techniques have you used or seen that work (or fail)? Let us know in the comments below!

This entry was posted in Sharing Our Lives, Small Group Leader Tips and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to My Group Member Won’t Talk!

  1. Pingback: Maximizing Spiritual Growth through Discussions | Evangelical Free Church of Bloomington, Illinois Small Groups Website

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