For you to be an effective member of a group, you must interact cooperatively. Meaningful interaction keeps a group moving forward toward an intended goal. To accomplish this, you must work your ideas into the discussion, ask relevant questions, and evaluate the group's performance (including your personal performance).
1. Integrating Ideas: Before you can ask relevant questions, you must first make the ideas already presented part of your own thinking. Obviously, listening carefully and taking notes can do this. So can summarizing or paraphrasing.
2. AskIng Relevant Questions: Asking good questions is perhaps the most important of all group skills. It not only keeps group hiembers actively involved in meaningful thinking and discussing, but it also keeps a group focused on its task.
Connect your questions to ideas which were previously made. You might, for example, say: Josie, it seems to me that your point about ... is very important, but Iím not sure I understand .... When a group gets bogged down or loses direction, a good question can help members refocus on the task at hand. You might, for example, say, Tom, what do you think about Martha's last observation? or This discussion is going nowhere. Let's go back to the original idea and . . . .
3. Evaluating Performance: At the end of a group session, it is helpful to evaluate individual and group performance. To do this, you must identify the most useful contributions, the direction and value of the overall discussion or group work, and the amount of progress made. By stopping to reflect on how the discussion went and how it might have gone better, you are learning from firsthand experience what it takes to make a group work.