When an Alpha guest asks a question during small group time, we want to ensure that other guests have an opportunity to share their perspectives and viewpoints which is part of a healthy discussion. If Alpha leaders give their opinion first, there will be no conversation, as this will be viewed as “the final answer.” Here are some ideas to help facilitate great small group discussions.

Listen First

How? Attend to the person:

• Establish contact by looking at the person when they talk (if in person).

• Maintain a natural relaxed posture that indicates your interest.

• Use natural gestures that communicate your intended message.

• Ask the Holy Spirit to help you truly hear what someone is saying.

Then Respond

1. Clarification Questions

• Are you wondering if... (clarify, rephrase)

• Can you explain a bit more, or give an example?
- used when there is confusion or uncertainty about what was said
- used to make sure you understand what was said
- used to “reflect back” to the speaker what you heard

2. Open-Ended Questions

• Yes, good question! Do you have any initial thoughts about that?

• Can you share with us how that question came up for you?
- used to invite further comments from the speaker or group

- offers encouragement and invitation to say more

- directed to the speaker or to the entire group

3. Redirecting Questions

• Great question! What do the rest of you think?

• Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

- used to “redirect” the discussion to include more of the group

- used to move the focus of discussion away from just one person

- used to “refocus” the discussion back to the main point

4. Reflective / Feeling Questions or Statements

• Has anyone else felt that way too?

• And how does that make you feel?

- used with emotional responses, questions, or statements

- used to convey concern, acceptance, empathy, interest

- used to affirm the person who shared (different from agreeing)

And Always Affirm!

• Thank you for sharing that.

• I appreciate your honesty. Tell us more.

• Yes, I can relate to that too!

• It’s ok to take a minute and think about it. That’s what we’re here for. No rush.

• It’s ok to have different opinions and disagree. We love hearing other viewpoints.

• I’m so glad you’re here!

• Very interesting perspective!

Related info:

What do Hosts & Helpers do?

Where can I get the discussion questions?

Top Tips for Open Discussion (log in)

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