Your role in the small group is to listen deeply and ask questions that will help clarify and inform your understanding of what is being said.  Resist the temptation to agree, relate to a personal experience, make declarative statements or judgment on what you hear.  These patterns run contrary to the goal of collaboration which is to increase personal and community understanding so actions are thoughtful and inclusive.

Your goal is to cultivate curiosity, exploration, risk taking and expansive thinking.  You are not there just to bear witness to a story but to help the speaker think more deeply and come to more clarity in their thinking.  As we do this for one another connection and commonality become apparent.  Habits of engagement that seek first to understand become the foundation for an emerging and sustainable action plan.

During group discussion ask open and explorative questions.

A powerful question:

  • Invites reflection and pushes to deeper meaning
  • Provokes thought and expands possibilities
  • Brings underlying assumptions to light
  • Stimulates curiosity and creativity

Open-ended question stems

  • Tell me more about ….
  • Can you help me understand what you mean by….
  • How might you describe …..?
  • In what ways did the situation change because of…
  • Where did this idea come from?
  • How might you explain ___’s decision to………..?
  • What would you say was the most important aspect of ….
  • What implication might his have on…..?
  • What is the significance of ……..?
  • How did the actions you describe change the outcome?
  • What changed for you?
  • How do you see this idea connecting to ……………?
  • What opportunities might this open up.. ?
Group Protocol