Tips for Trainers – Pairing and Sharing

Facilitator Tip: Pairing and Sharing

Have you ever asked your group a question and in return received blank stares and awkward silences? If this seems to be happening a lot, consider warming your group up to sharing with the simple technique of Pairing and Sharing. With this technique, the facilitator first asks participants to find a partner. Once everyone has a partner the facilitator instructs the group to discuss a question together. It could be an icebreaker question or a debriefing question. It could be a question on subject review matter or a leadership question. Regardless of the type of question you ask, the act of pairing up with another person and having them share a response is a great way to get them talking.

The technique of Pair and Share works well because the participants get a chance to practice their answer before sharing with the large group. Many participants do not like being put on the spot when asked question in front of their peers. Pair and Share also allows for each participant to answer each question, rather than one person talking while the rest of the group listens. Everyone gets a chance to answer each question that is asked.

I often follow up a Pair and Share exchange with a request from 2-3 people to share a modified response of what they shared with their partner. This creates a large group experience, and allows the group to practice sharing in front of their peers. This also takes care of those ‘rebel pairs’ that might have been talking about something other than what you wanted them to be discussing.

Give the Pair and Share Technique a try!

Our ‘Your Turn At the Wheel’ Series of Cards are great tools to use for the Pair and Share Technique. They are on sale below!
Have fun out there,
Michelle Cummings
Owner/Trainer/Big Wheel
Training Wheels