Can You Hear a Pin Drop?

"How did that idea make you feel?"  Silence.  Silence.  Silence.When I ask a discussion question during my Mom Heart group, often the silence is deafening.  I can hear my own heartbeat because everyone holds their breath and sits perfectly still.  My group is made up of mostly introverts.  As a leader, these moments of silence can feel awkward and uncomfortable.  I am tempted to step in and answer my own questions just to break the stillness.  Here are a few ideas for handling a group made up of introverts.Count to ten.   Introverts need a lot of time to think before they speak.  A quiet person often needs quiet in which to gather her thoughts before she speaks them aloud.  Be sure to give her the time that she needs.  The way I handle this is to actually count to ten very slowly in my mind.  It feels like forever and is extremely awkward, but nine times out of ten, one of those shy ones speaks up before I get to ten.Keep your group small.  Introverts can be very nervous saying anything in front of a group.  Ladies that are shy will often open up one-on-one or in small groups.  If you want to keep your group discussing scripture or a book and there are more than 10-12 consistent attendees, start planning ways to multiply.  If you don't, your group will turn into a lecture (by you) or will be completely dominated by the few extroverts in your group.  (Posts with tips on multiplication coming soon.)canstockphoto22415857Connect one-on-one.  Some women will never say a word in a group discussion.  Our Mom Heart group has been gathering for about four years and some of the most faithful attendees never say anything during the meeting.  Even if someone is extremely quiet, that doesn't mean she isn't learning and gathering encouragement or that she doesn't have valuable wisdom to share, it just means that a group discussion is not the place for her to share it.  Try to connect with this woman one-on-one.  Make a special point to talk to her after group is over or schedule a coffee date for just the two of you.If you make a point to create an atmosphere of safety, most introverts will eventually feel comfortable enough to share during a group meeting.  Make it easier for them by allowing silence, keeping your group small and connecting one-on-one.Coming soon: Tips regarding extroverts.See Taking Motherhood to Hearts for more ideas on nurturing different types of women in your Mom Heart group.