Group leadership (Part 3) looks at how leaders can handle an overly talkative person. The following are 5 tips for getting at this issue especially in small group communication settings.
1. Set expectations about participation early in the group experience. The first night or first meeting for the small group or team is ideal. In terms of group leadership skills, group leaders should always establish clear expectations for participation even if you don’t have an overly talkative person. Clear expectations help all participates demonstrate good group communication skills.
2. Use verbal prompts to get overly talkative people to pull back and encourage less talkative people. “Now, I’d like to hear from people who haven’t talked in a while.” Or, “Thanks, John. Now, let’s hear from somebody else” or “Let’s give others a chance.” Often times, the overly talkative person will STILL want to jump in even after a prompt like this. Be firm! Group leadership skills will sometimes mean holding the line and saying, “Derek, I think you’ve already contributed. Now, I really just want to hear from those who haven’t spoke yet.” This will lead to a much more interesting discussion for everybody.
3. Draw out introverted people by (A) Asking all group members to write their thoughts down for 20 seconds first, and/or (B) Ask group members to pair up and discuss their ideas before sharing with the whole group. This will warm up less talkative members and give the signal to the overly talkative member that each person will get some airtime. Again, this is one of those go-to key group leadership skills. This tip will come in handy often. By the way, you’re also simultaneously coaching the quieter members on their group communication skills.
4. Often, however, an overly talkative person will not get the hint unless you speak with him or her directly. Do this one-on-one. Also, enlist the overly talkative person’s help in drawing out less talkative people. “I appreciate what you bring to the group discussion. However, not everybody is getting a chance to talk and once you’ve talked, dial it back and give others a chance to contribute. In fact, if you could nonverbally encourage quieter people to contribute–by eye contact–that would be great.” Group leadership sometimes means having difficult discussions. Leaders must do all they can to create good communication in groups.
5. As a last resort, you may have to call the person out in front of the group. If you have to do it, be as polite as possible. “I’m sorry to interrupt, Michelle, but . . .” “I hear you, Sam, but we really have to move forward now . . .” “I see what you’re getting at, Jim, however, in the interest of time, we really have to keep going now.” I didn’t say this in the video but many times, the overly talkative person may already know they struggle with this. And, if you do it politely, it won’t hurt their feelings.
Sometimes, group leadership skills involve doing the hard thing, having the difficult conversation. Still, it’s the leader’s job and the overly talkative person will often not get the hint. The leader must manage the group communication skills of overly talkative members for the sake of the group’s health.
Links to the 5 These Related Videos on Group Leadership Skills:
Part 1: Dynamic Interaction Pattern: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCUP5jYhTAA&index=1&list=PLiObSxAItudJlqpmxwZ5gFR8WW2rhHeqI&t=1s
Part 2: Leader with Good Questions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFujcMCpNGE
Part 3: Overly Talkative Person: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcfnqiD0y8o
Part 4: Synthesizing for Clarity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TCbjSnMWa0&list=PLiObSxAItudJlqpmxwZ5gFR8WW2rhHeqI&index=4
Part 5: Handling Tangents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b73u0LS4EMA&list=PLiObSxAItudJlqpmxwZ5gFR8WW2rhHeqI&index=5
Alex Lyon’s Book: Case Studies in Courageous Communication: https://www.amazon.com/Case-Studies-Courageous-Organizational-Communication/dp/1433131242/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1483651791&sr=1-1
Get to know Alex (video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owjHoxQuKNU
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