It’s true that not everyone in your Bible study group is going to be outgoing. In fact, you’ll probably have some group members who are content to listen to everyone else’s discussion while remaining absolutely (or mostly) silent. How can you go about helping the shy group member speak up? Here are 4 ways:
- Use “Pair & Share” – Place people in groups of 2 so they can respond to a question or assignment, then have them report back to the group. It’s very helpful for getting shy people to talk. Shy people tend to open up one-on-one, but often remain silent in a larger group setting.
- Ask opinion questions – “Tell me how this makes you feel” and “What do you think about…” questions give a shy person a reason to answer – because the answer cannot be wrong. The answer is based on their thoughts, feelings, and/or experiences. There is no incorrect answer, and that helps shy people take a risk and answer out loud.
- Place people in “buzz groups” – These smaller teams of 4-6 group members allow a shy person to speak up, but not necessarily in front of the entire group that could be dozens or more in number.
- Jot down answers. If you want to get a shy person to talk, ask the group to write responses to questions on a sheet of paper. Once the person has written their thoughts, they are more likely to share them and contribute to the discussion. Think of the writing assignment as the “prep” the shy person needs to feel confident to speak up.
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