One way to facilitate engaging discussions is by using open-ended questions.
1. The Power of Open-Ended Questions:
Open-ended questions are conversation starters that encourage everyone to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences. These types of questions go beyond simple yes or no answers. This means that the answers are likely to lead to deeper discussions and self-reflection which facilitate a greater connection among the mothers in the circle. By using open-ended questions, you can create an inclusive and empathetic environment.
2. What are Open-Ended Questions and how to craft them:
a. Start with ‘What’ and ‘How’: Begin your questions with words like ‘what’ and ‘how’ as they prompt more expansive responses. For example, instead of asking, ‘Did you have a good week?’ ask, ‘What were some highlights from your week?’ This allows mums to delve into specific aspects of their lives and share personal stories.
b. Encourage Reflection: Pose questions that encourage self-reflection and mindfulness. For instance, ask, ‘How do you take care of yourself whilst in the middle of mothering?’ A question like this shows empathy, fosters a deeper understanding of their individual needs and cultivates a culture of self-compassion.
c. Explore Emotions: Emotions play a fundamental role in a mother’s journey. By asking questions that explore feelings and emotions, such as ‘What feels like a big emotion right now?’ or ‘What has given you the most joy recently?’, mums can express their emotional landscapes more fully, fostering empathy, understanding, and connection.
d. Avoid Closed Questions: Closed questions can inadvertently limit conversation and lead to shorter, less substantial responses. Instead of asking, ‘Did you enjoy your week?’ ask, ‘What was the best thing that happened to you this week? This encourages mothers to take a moment to think a little more about how they feel and encourages a free-flowing conversation.
Open-ended questions will really help you start conversations and keep them flowing in your Mother Circle. By crafting thoughtful and inclusive questions, you will create an empowering and supportive space for mums to share, connect, and grow.
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