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6 Tips to Curb Talkers

4/8/09 8:48 PM

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e-Help for Small Groups (Formerly Neighborhood Bible Studies e-Help)

In This Issue What has Really Changed? 6 Tips to Curb Talkers Helping Quiet Members Speak Up Your Church & Q Place

March 2009

Dear Fran, All small group members are not created equal. Some talk more than others. In fact, some talk too much while others don't talk enough! What to do, what to do? Before you jump ship to find another group, try the tips below. Your group will be grateful for your help! From one who tries not to talk too much, Fran Goodrich e-Help Editor

Quick Links Why NBS Changed Q Place Past Hints & Tips Bible Study Guides More About Us Book Store

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P.S. What Christian outreach approach will appeal to people who aren't interested in church or the Bible? Check out this article about Q Place just posted on Christian NewsWire.

Six Tips to Curb Talkers It is normal for a small group to have some who talk more than others. But when a participant monopolizes the conversation or thinks he or she has to answer every question, it becomes a problem. Others are not given a

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6 Tips to Curb Talkers

Tough Questions Series by Garry Poole, call 1-800369-0307

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chance to share their ideas and can become discouraged or silently annoyed. If a talker is allowed free reign, it can cause people to stay away and it can eventually destroy your group. If your group is struggling with this problem, try one of these tips:

What has Really Changed?

Some people are wondering if we changed the name from Neighborhood Bible Studies to Q Place because we no longer focus on Bible study. In this day and age when many churches are going this route, this is a fair and important question. Let me tell you Jan's story: "I wanted to start a Tough Questions group in my neighborhood so that I could get experience using it. But the people in my neighborhood were ready and hungry to study the Bible, so that's where I began.

1. Do not sit directly across from the monopolizer. Instead try to sit next to him or her. This limits eye contact and diffuses power, since monopolizers are encouraged by eye contact. 2. Don't be afraid to break in. Praise one of the talker's statements and then raise a new question or ask, "What do the rest of you think?" 3. Read through the Participant's Self-Check List with your group, asking each person to evaluate him or herself. 4. At an appropriate time, remind the group of your limited time and desire to finish the lesson. 5. Ask the group at the beginning of your next meeting, "What would help us keep a healthy balance in how much each of us talks during a discussion?" 6. If the problem persists, talk to the monopolizer alone and ask for help in getting wider participation from the group. You might say, "I've noticed that you and I do most of the talking. Would you help me talk less and draw out the quieter members of our group?" Proverbs 18:15 states, "The mind of a smart person is ready to get knowledge. The wise person listens to learn more." You will be offering the monopolizer in your group a gift by helping him or her listen and learn!

Helping Quiet Members Speak Up It is also normal for a small group to have some who are quieter and who may need encouragement to participate in the discussion. Sometimes all that is needed for a quiet person to open up is for the talkers to be quiet (try silently counting to twenty if you are prone to jump in too quickly). Here are a few ideas that will also help: 1. At an appropriate moment, feel free to ask a quieter person, "What do you think?" or "What has your experience been?" 2. Affirm the contribution of a quiet member by a

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"Some people think we are using less of the Bible than in the past. Our focus has not changed. We are just providing a new 'on ramp.'" Q Place still wants people to get people into the Bible! The name has changed and we've added additional curriculum so that we can do that more effectively. People often need to ask tough questions about God before they are ready to study the Bible. So that's where we start with them. As Psalm 138:2b states, "You have made your name and your word greater than anything." We at Q Place firmly believe this! Thank you for standing with us as we follow the Lord! Fran Goodrich e-Help Editor P.S. Click here to read more about our changes.

"thank you" or some other positive comment. 3. Get to know this person better outside of the group so that you can find ways for him or her to talk about an area of expertise with the group. 4. Sit across from quiet people so you can encourage with eye contact without pressuring the person to speak. 5. Read the quiet person's body language - notice when that person is about to speak and give him or her the floor. Remember, it is all right for some participants to be silent. Even though this person is quiet, that does not mean he or she is not thinking about the discussion. The facilitator's role is to encourage, not to manipulate or coerce. If you as the facilitator feel comfortable discussing this with the "quiet" person, ask if any of these suggestions would be helpful to him or her. If participants feel loved and accepted for who they are, they are more likely to contribute.

Your Church & Q Place Equip Your Church to reach seekers & skeptics! The most effective outreach happens outside the doors of our churches. Outreach Magazine states, 64% of people coming to faith today come as a result of conversation (March/April 2008). But how can churches encourage ordinary Christians to initiate and maintain ongoing spiritual conversations with friends, co-workers or family? Chapter six of How to Start a Q Place is specifically targeted towards helping churches start and sustain a Q Place ministry. In this chapter, learn how to Build a team of potential initiators Learn the Q Place method together as a team Empower initiators to launch Q Places Support and encourage one another Sustain the ministry.

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6 Tips to Curb Talkers

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Issue 3 : March 2009