"Napa Valley" Brocken InaGlory. Licensed. Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0
Some things to consider if you're using this in a group discussion:
To help make your group such a safe place, here are some things to consider:
- Keep your group safe for authentic discussions. People only share their real selves when they feel safe in their relationships with others to do so.
- Decide if the group wants what is discussed to be treated as confidential. If so, does this mean that nothing said in the group will be attributed by name to the person who said it? Or that nothing of what is discussed will be shared? Make sure everyone is clear about this and, from time to time, remind yourself and others about what you've decided. Only change this if the entire group approves of it.
- Consider that the best discussions occur when people are really listening to one another. Try to hear not only "what" is being said, but also "the way" it's being said. Sometimes the emotion that accompanies what's being said is quite important. If your group develops a sufficient level of trust, it's sometimes useful to ask the speaker about that emotion, and if they wish to expand upon it. Some will wish to do so; others will not. Respect their response, either way.
- When speaking, it's always best to share your truth rather than to "pontificate" as though your truth were the only one there is. (There's enough of that already between Snark and Advocatus!) Beginning with "I-statements" such as "I think . . ." or "It seems to me that . . ." is useful. And when you disagree, simply say something like, "I can't go there, because . . ." or "I prefer to think about that this way . . . ." That's far better than saying "You're crazy!" or using some other "You-statement" that diminishes, discounts, and dismisses the person who has said something with which you disagree. Giving the gifts of careful listening and respectful speaking is a way to keep the group conversationally safe and an enjoyable place to be.
Consider having someone make notes on the discussion of
- It's also a splendid idea to make sure you're not monopolizing the group's time. Many will want to add their comments. Those who usually don't should have their reticence respected. Still, it's true that sometimes "introverts" appreciate being asked if they have some thoughts to add.
each chapter. (Be sure to follow the group's decision as to
whether you should attach what's said to the person who said it.)
This will make it easier to cycle back to earlier comments and ideas
as the book progresses. It should make your discussions more rewarding by allowing thoughts to build on each other.