Getting men into conversation can be challenging. Afterall, we men have been brainwashed from birth to avoid communicating anything vulnerable and being judged as weak.
Us guys were instructed to be tough and never show weakness under any circumstance – especially in front of other males. So you’re sitting with the guys but your men’s group agenda is going off the rails. What can you do to get the guys talking? How can you get them to open up a little?
If you’re looking for strategies to help you get a group of men into conversation you’ve come to the right place. I’ve been facilitating men’s groups for the last decade. In this quick post I’ll share the simple strategies that we use to get guys gabbing in men’s groups.
Guys Want Vulnerable Conversations
Whether they admit it or not, every human being that walks the planet craves connection. We are hardwired to be close to others and to share the intimate details of our lives. Even the hardest dudes deep down just want to feel closeness.
Some guys buy into the toxic dogma that men should never share their feelings. Some men are terrified to be seen as weak.
Regardless, the vast majority of men will open up and be vulnerable if they are given the chance in the right setting.
It’s All About Leading By Example
Everyone wants to know about the best men’s group topics. Unfortunately topics won’t matter if there is an environment within the group of guys that discourages sharing. Instead you must focus on the environment you are creating and lead by example.
- Lead with vulnerability: If a man sees another man speaking vulnerably without ridicule, he will feel a lot more safe to open up as well.
- Start the conversations with someone who shares more than the average man: Again watching another man express himself without being judged as weak will help other men do the same.
- Totally confidential: Men are hardwired to not share in front of others out of fear of being judged. Accordingly you must ensure that you are in a private space and that nothing is shared outside of the group.
- Talk about it in a cool way: Words like “vulnerability” and “sharing” actually scare men due to our conditioning and fear of judgement. Instead make it more approachable and casual. Instead of “It’s time to share vulnerably” you could try “Okay. Let’s talk about the real stuff!”
- Laughter: Guys don’t want a conversation that is all vulnerable, serious and heavy. It needs to feel fun too. Get them laughing!
- Exercise empathy: Everyone wants to have their experiences and feelings acknowledged. So after a man shares you could say “That sounds difficult” or “I’m sorry you had to go through that”.
- Ask a lot of questions: Sometime you’ll need to drag the feelings and truth out of a guy. Say things like “tell me more about that” or “what was the worst part for you?” to get them to open up further.
These key elements will help get the guys in your men’s group to start chatting!
Conversation With Men Is About Momentum
To get a group of guys chatting is hard, but to get a group of guys to stop chatting is even harder!
You just have to get the ball rolling. Worst case scenario you can always default to the most basic of commonalities including:
- The weather
- World events
- Health stuff
- Local news
This will get things going and you can take it deeper from there. The more guys talk with each other the more they will trust each other.
The Easiest Way To Get Guys Into “Real-Talk”
The reality is that launching into any sensitive, heavier men’s group topic will just feel uncalibrated and forced.
Instead, a much more sneaky way to do it is to get the guys to share about their lives over the last two weeks. The key is individual updates.
The guys will go around the circle and share the highs and lows from a few key categories of their lives including:
- Or a specific ongoing challenge they are facing such as a divorce
The context of casually sharing life updates – both giving his own update and listening to others – will remind a guy of what happened since the last men’s group meeting and he will be more likely to bring it up in conversation.
You Can Also Ask Good Questions
Updates are by far the best way to get guys into conversations in a group of men, but good questions are almost as effective.
Here are some examples of good questions you could ask in group of men:
- “Why did you get into XYZ?”
- “What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?”
- “What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen in the last few years?”
- “Thanks for sharing man. Tell me more about that!”
- “What was the best/hardest part of that?”
- “Can anyone else relate to that?”
And if you’re stuck on questions in a men’s group situation, you can always use a list of topics.
The Best Topics For Starting Conversations Between Men
Over the years of facilitating men’s groups, I’ve seen the same topics come up over and over again. In a men’s group setting, typically guys want to talk about whatever is most relevant to them, so I was surprised to see some common topics arise over time.
Here are the topics men want to discuss the most and are most likely to open up to in discussions:
- Communication In Relationships: Every man struggles with this at times.
- Family Drama: Everyone has family and finds it challenging to manage it.
- Emotional Intelligence: Most men were never taught about their emotions so they need to talk through it with others.
- Work & Purpose: Lots of guys face challenges with work and life-purpose.
- Personal finance: Everyone likes talking about money!
- Vices & addictions: Porn, junk food, drugs, sex, booze, overworking and more.
- Health: Nutrition, exercise, health challenges and more!
That’s it! Those are the topics we see come up again and again. We guarantee that some of the guys in your group want to talk about those topics right now!
Just Get Started!
To wrap things up with a quick summary:
- Guys want to talk and share. We’re hardwired for it.
- You must lead by example and set the stage for vulnerable sharing.
- Find commonalities and go around the circle giving updates to get things started.
- Then if nothing comes from the updates, feel free to suggest the most common men’s group topics from our list.
We hope you found this helpful and we wish you the best of luck with getting your group of men into conversation.
About the author
Sean Galla has been running men’s groups for 10+ yrs for men from all walks of life, including pro athletes, celebrities and successful entrepreneurs. He now facilitates online men’s groups over at MensGroup.com