Watch the video above and talk about it with a group or mentor. Learn more

Tangents and rabbit trails can take your group off track at any time. As a leader, it is your job to manage group tangents. Here are a few tips.

Key Points:

  • Not all tangents are bad. Sometimes a quick rabbit trail can be beneficial for a group. A tangent can cover material related to the subject that isn’t going to be discussed in a group guide but is on the minds of everyone in your group. In this case, take a moment to address the issue, and then get back on track.
  • Bring a tangent to a close. Don’t lose control of your tangents. As the leader, decide how much time you will allow for this tangent. 
  • Tie the tangent back to the main point. One of the best ways to get back on track is to tie the tangent back to the main point. 

Quote This:

Every small group gets off track. Maybe somebody takes a question in a direction it was never meant to go. Maybe each comment in the group spins off a new idea further and further away from the idea behind the initial question. Or maybe somebody introduces a topic completely unrelated to the discussion.

See Also: Series for Small Groups

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. What are some of the dangers of allowing tangents to go on and on in your group?
  3. What should you do if a couple of people want to keep discussing a tangent, but the rest of the group wants to get back on track?
  4. What are some ways you can address honest questions that people have in a small group discussion without derailing the whole conversation?
  5. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.