Facilitating Everyone Communicates Few Connect

About three years ago I came across Everyone Communicates, Few Connect by John Maxwell;  I’m a bit of a Maxwell fan having led my team through a couple of his leadership and teamwork books over the years.  This title attracted me because it speaks to something that I’ve always struggled with, the difference between communicating effectively and actually creating connections with those around you.  After reading it myself I thought it would be a great candidate for a book club and after doing some research that found an online guide on how to facilitated it as one –  seemed like kismet to me.

After some debate on how to precede forward I ended up pitching a leadership skills program pilot beginning with this book two years ago.  I’ve now successfully facilitated with groups from 8-40, comprised of managers, peers and my own team covering the book in as little as 14 weeks up to an entire year. Now having worked this book through completely different audiences with differ motivations and different expectations I have come to love this book entirely and have some suggestions on how to best facilitate this should you choose to take it on – and I highly recommend you do.

For a Mixed Group

I would start the series with an introduction to the principles and practices covered in the book and then do an individual brainstorming exercise on what areas each person feels they need some help in.  I believe this assists with setting some passive goals and helps translate the topic from conceptual to personal.   I would also have examples for each of the chapters, ready to go before you even start. There are plenty of materials available online to assist you with this topic, whether it’s some a specific issue people commonly face or a demonstration on how or how not to do something effectively, you will benefit from as many examples as you can provide to help people grasp the concepts better.  I would also make use of the exercises suggested at the end of every chapter and request that each person come back to the group with up something to share after trying one.

For a Team

I would start this series off for a team with a discussion of how communication within the team works vs. how it works externally to help identify some strengths and weaknesses within the team as well as in their daily interactions with coworkers and customers. A bit of a different focus, less on them and more on us. In a group session like this, with people who know each other well it’s a great opportunity to strengthen bonds and work together solving problems.  You can leave a lot of the examples of good and bad practices in favor of focusing more on providing examples in the areas where the team feels they have weaknesses.  And then finally take the exercises at the end of the chapter and turn them into team challenges that they can work together on as a group.

In General

I think the biggest obstacles you face with facilitating sessions like this is that you can quickly end up becoming a group therapy sessions with lots of commiserating.  Having as many topics available to you before you sit down in front of either group to assist with redirecting conversations or helping minimize the scope of any venting will really assist you in and making an effective training exercise and something pleasurable for everybody involved.

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