Cross-talk

Last week we talked about creating the atmosphere. Another way of making all people feel important in the discussion is by eliminating what is called “cross-talk.” One of the most effective ways to stymie group discussion is to allow two people to have a personal conversation in front of the group. That is called “cross-talk.” Whatever is said must be addressed to the entire group, not one specific person. For example, if someone says, “Jim, you are missing something here,” you as the leader should kindly remind the speaker that he is not talking to Jim, but to the entire group. If possible, discussion-oriented classes are best conducted when the room is arranged so that everyone can see the faces of the other members of the group. In “cross-talk” situations the speaker almost always looks directly at the person being addressed. When the speaker is addressing the group, eye contact will move from person to person around the circle. That eye contact helps group members to feel important to the group, leading to increased sharing.

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