Comfortable Conversation Starters

Type of Activity: Processing, Conversation Starters

Props Needed: None

It is important to carefully sequence activities and reflections to achieve best outcomes. Often facilitators get caught in the trap of asking didactic in depth questions about participant’s feelings and reactions before the group has learned to be comfortable sharing and reflecting. Here are some twists on that traditional sharing circle that can help participants increase their comfort level and reflective skills in a sequential fashion.

Process: The techniques shown here introduce the group to the idea of combining action and reflection. These methods it helps them get comfortable sharing in simple concrete ways- always with the opportunity to pass- that increases their comfort level with debriefing and will lead to more in depth reflective activities as the group progresses through development. Always allow group members to pass!

One Word Whip

A simple way to get group members comfortable with talking is to simply to go around the circle and ask for a one-word reaction to the activity. Giving participants an opportunity to pass is imperative to building comfort and trust in a group developing their reflective and conversational skills. Remember-Reflection is a skill that is developed with practice, people get more comfortable if processing activities are thoughtfully sequenced, and when participants are feeling empowered by having choice and control about when they share.

Skills Lists

Have the group make a list of the skills they used during the activity. For many groups this is the first time they have been formally asked to recognize strengths and skills. This activity can help frame future activities in a program day. It works well as a part of other processing activities such as group juggle.

Top Three Skills

Have the group just name three things they did as a group that worked well as they went about an activity. This is a simple task that just takes a few moments and starts the reflective and sharing process.

Stop Action

In the midst of an activity “freeze” the group. Ask if anyone can share what is happening with the group right now. When you get one or two answers continue on with the activity.

Simple Evaluation- Have the group name one thing they did very well and one thing they might do differently next time.

For more resources see:  A Teachable Moment

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