Second, show and tell! In our group, we make sharing innovative ideas a regular part of our meetings and offer up everything from Pop-By items, to new books, to organizing tricks! Everyone has a special gift and sharing is one way to develop a stronger sense of community. The smile on the faces of those who share is evidence they’re glad to be included.
Last, keep it casual! Who needs another “meeting!?” I try and have a written agenda to keep the group focused, but the rules are few. The meeting centers on the assignment, but we always leave time for spontaneous brainstorming. “More is caught than taught,” Brian says, and so it is in Small Groups. The “trick” is to stay on time and respect everyone else’s time.
I am very lucky because our group has a stable core, with a few new players coming in as some others leave. The old veterans share their years of experience with the rookies and in turn the rookies bring in fresh perspectives and ideas. Remember, the flow in and out keeps things from getting stagnant!