I want to help you lead awesome discussions. I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time and sat down tonight to write a simple how-to guide on how to lead an awesome discussion.
1. Prepare – Read and reread any assigned readings. Understand them completely. If you are in a group discuss the readings in depth with your group. Decide what to focus on. Create questions that will make people think and if possible that have many answers.
2. Take The Stage – The day of the discussion take the stage. Sit up in your seat and look everyone in the eye. Tell them what you will be talking about. Ask them to turn to the readings you will be referencing. Smile. Tell bad jokes. Try to get everyone to feel comfortable, but not too comfortable.
3. Lead The Discussion – Give them the context (what you are talking about) and then ask them questions. When you call on people use their names. Get as many people involved as possible. Ask follow up questions if someone brings up a good point. Be excited. Listen intently with your eyes, with your posture, really with your whole body.
4. Close The Discussion – Thank everyone. Talk about anything that you learned from them. If someone changed the way you see something, make sure to tell them. Again, smile and tell bad jokes. If this isn’t your thing, find something else that is your thing and do that.
5. Reflect – Recognize your bright spots (things you did well). Think about some things you changed. Write down everything you learned.
If you follow these simple steps, it will be more likely that you will lead an awesome discussion!