Friday, April 12, 2019

The Secret Seating Chart for Campaigners


Have you ever struggled with leading Campaigners?

Yeah, Me too.

Let’s be honest, leading Campaigners is hard. Our friends can easily get off track, lose focus, and disengage. It seems like we’re either faced with too much noise or too much silence. While there are a lot of strategies that can help with those issues, there’s one really simple practice that can make a huge difference: seating.

Let’s use a clock as our visual aid and imagine a circle of 12 kids.

Since you are the one leading the discussion, you are sitting in the "12 position." This position receives the most attention. So what seat gets the second most attention? It’s 6 o’clock.

No matter how good 12 is at scanning the room, their eyes will naturally come to rest directly in front of them, at the 6 o’clock. This position then feels the most pressure, and also the most permission to speak up. It’s like when a teacher asks a question of the class while looking directly at you. You’re the most likely to answer, simply because their eyes are resting on you. 

So, while 12 is running the show, the person in 6 has a strong seat.

Seats 5 & 7 get some of that attention as well. Typically 2 & 4, maybe 3 & 9 are somewhat hidden from view. You can’t quite see them because 1 and 11 are in your way. These seats get the least eye-contact, because they’re naturally out of your sight line.

So how does this help? We have a guy in our Campaigners group who hasn’t spoken up or shared anything over the last three weeks. I’m going to try and make sure he is sitting at 6 o’clock. I can make that happen by intentionally sitting across from him.

Conversely, there’s one guy that tends to take over. I’m going to make sure he’s sitting at 9 o’clock.  Once you understand this dynamic, you can generally arrange the room to empower the quieter students to be more engaged and to help reign in the kids who tend to dominate.

What tips do you have when it comes to leading Campaigners? Email us here with ideas.

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Written by Sean Michael Murphy.

"Murph" is an Area Director in Wayne County, Ohio. He went to the University of Cincinnati, where he met the Lord, thanks to some volunteer Young Life leaders living in the dorm! He partners in life and ministry with his beautiful wife Annie and three incredible kids: Griffin, Cooper & Parker.

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