Chatty Cathy: Handling Conversation Domination
“It’s not about you.” That might be the first thought that we have when dealing with someone who seems to take over conversation, chase rabbits, and derail the rest of the group in Bible study sessions. Every group seems to have “the one.” She usually has strong opinions on every thought mentioned or shared. She sometimes interrupts. She may even be considered to be rude on occasion.
As a Bible study facilitator, we have to be able to steer the conversation back to the topic at hand. When the talking gets out of hand or the conversation off course, gently guiding the group back on task is an essential skill.
Let’s acknowledge the root issue.
This woman is probably hurting.
She may need validation because of past hurts or be in a season where she doesn’t get much adult interaction. She has a real need to connect, even though it may be harsh or imposing. Let’s make an effort to really see the woman striving to feel a part of the group. While we may have a tendency to automatically peg this as a pride issue, and sometimes it may be, but we need to be able to focus on how we can encourage this woman.
When dealing with a “Chatty Cathy:”
Know that she is craving connection or validation
She may have needs that need to be met outside of Bible study
God calls us to grace and love
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Pray that God would season your speech and your heart with the salt that is the gospel of Christ. Pray that you would be graceful and encouraging for those you have been called to shepherd. Change the way you think about the “difficult” women in ministry.
Here are a few tips:
This woman is usually confident/task oriented. Ask her to help with hospitality or encouragement. She could send notes to participants, run the Facebook page, or bring a snack to share.
Offer to meet with her outside of study. The talkative tendencies in group may be a result of limited time to socialize outside of study.
Set the expectation on the first meeting. I use a small group covenant sheet that has an outline of what to expect. It contains our meeting dates, expectation to attend, intent to give grace, and that this time is sacred time. Share with your group the expectation and how you intend to keep everyone focused for the task of seeking God together.
During group, say something like “I’m so glad you can share. Does anyone else have any thoughts?”
Changing the way that you think about your group’s “Chatty Cathy” can bring unity, encouragement, and a more effective study group time.
Father God, change our hearts for the women you have called us to lead to Jesus. We know that you love each of us and have asked us to humbly bear with one another in love. Allow us to be women that love with encouragement, inclusion, and care. Amen!