GROUP DISCUSSION TECHNIQUES

1.  Make careful physical arrangements.
    A.  Seat the group in a circle (around a table if possible)
    B.  Keep your group small (8-13).
    C.  Have name cards or name tags if necessary.

2.  Donít Lecture!
    A.  Make a short introduction to the lesson.
    B.  Then jump on the "fat rabbit" question (main point) to be discussed.

3.  Ask Questions.
    A.  What kind of question?  (Use the magic words)
        (1)  First, ask WHAT do you think?  (This helps them take a position)
        (2)  Second, ask WHY do you think that?  (This causes the person to evaluate the reasons for their
               position)

    B.  To whom?
        (1)  First, to individuals by name to get the discussion started
        (2)  Later, to the group in general.

    C.  In what manner?  (with "GREAT EXPECTATIONS")
        (1)  Believe that you will get an answer from everyone.
        (2)  Let your voice and manner suggest that you expect an answer.

4.  Listen!
    A.  Just do it!
    B.  If you canít repeat what the group just said,  YOU ARENíT LISTENING.

5.  Praise
    A.  Thank the participants for their help.
    B.  Use the magic words of praise such as:  GOOD!  FINE POINT!  EXCELLENT! INTERESTING
 

6.  Encourage Team Work.  (The "WE" feeling)
    A.  By using the term "We" often.
    B.  By using their names.
    C.  By encouraging interaction - "Jim, can you help us with Samís question?"
 

7.  Serve the Group
    A.  By helping them solve the question being discussed.
    B.  By being interested in the participants.
    C.  By stimulating and guiding their efforts.  (Remember that a quarterback often passes or hands off but
          seldom scrambles)
 

8.  Summarize Often
    A.  It keeps the group "on the track".
    B.  It clarifies what has happened.
    C.  It reminds them that they are making progress in the discussion.

9.  Handle Problems
    A.  In all situations, remember to put COURTESY FIRST.
        (1)  If you must interrupt, let your first words be, "PARDON ME, BUTÖ"
        (2)  When any problem occurs, make sure your comments are preceded by some statement of courtesy.
    B.  Specific problems
        (1)  Arguments thrive on misunderstandings
        (2)  Take the heat out of any disagreement by focusing effort on trying to understand first.  (Tom, would
               you repeat what you understood Jim to be saying?)
        (3)  There are some who dominate the discussion by doing all the talking.
        (4)  Avoid this by saying:
            a.  Thank you Jim.  Now Tom, I wonder if we could hear from you on this point.
            b.  Weíre doing a good job on this point.  Iíd like to hear from some of those who havenít spoken yet.
        (5)  Some are timid.
            a.  Encourage them by asking questions that are easy to answer.
            b.  Indicate the value of their comments by saying "Weíd like to hear what you think about this topic."
            c.  Silently count off 7 seconds while waiting for a response to a question.

10.  Draw a Scriptural Conclusion in the last 5 minutes. (Donít leave things hanging)
    A.  Summarize the points discussed.
    B.  Review the scriptural evidence considered.
    C.  Draw a scriptural conclusion.
 

People remember approximately:

10% of what they hear
50% of what they see
70% of what they say
90% of what they do