Colleague and expert group facilitator Chad Littlefield shared a video recently in which he presented the idea that we need to give people the choice to connect.
Too true. Yet, I would go further and suggest that while offering choice is important, the most crucial key to this invitation is the framework within which these choices are being made. This speaks directly to the true essence of the philosophical framework of Challenge by Choice.
It’s not enough to simply say that I offer my group the opportunity to share, and then not provide an environment in which these choices can be exercised freely and willingly. When trust is not present, people naturally pull back from participating (sharing) fully.
How To Give People The Choice to Connect
Here’s what I’ve also noticed – my primary responsibility as a group facilitator is to create an environment in which people make appropriate choices (consistent with the goals of my program.)
It’s easy to point the blame at a group and say that it’s their fault they did not connect (on the premise that stronger relationships are a good thing) but this is not fair to our groups, nor is it professionally responsible.
My approach, first, is to work hard at creating an environment in which people can feel free and willing to make these choices, or not. When this truly happens, people feel empowered to make healthy choices, sometimes even courageous choices. As Chad intimates, people may (a) choose to respond or not, (b) choose what to share and (c) choose how much they share.
Click the play button below to view a slice of Chad’s presentation in which he offers his unique perspective on how to frame this choice to connect, or not.
There is a real risk when we, often with the best of intentions, almost compel people to connect with others because we truly believe this to be a useful and productive activity. However, what is missing often is the Why or the What’s in it for me? Why would I want to connect with others, they may be thinking.
This speaks to framing the experience or contextualising it, first. Or, put simply as a flow 0f priorities: Context > Connection > Content. You can read more about this approach here.
What do you do to give people the choice to connect?