The physical setting for a discussion can either contribute to the vitality of a dialogue or it can take the life out of it. Here are some tips that I've found can make a positive difference:
¥ Meet in a room small enough to put you in touch with each other. Bank lobbies and church fellowship halls may be impressive, but the cavernous space they allow between people kills intimacy. You aren't looking for the detached contemplation distance affords. Furniture also can cause trouble. Tables and overstuffed chairs can effectively block close contact. You'd gladly trade elegance for the quick response that comes from immediacy.
¥ Seat people in a circular fashion so everyone can see all the faces in the group. Theatre-style seating is fine for focusing attention on the leader, but you don't want that. Your aim is to make each member the star. It's their reaction that counts. You're much more likely to get it when people can eyeball each other.
I have to hold a number of my classes in a room with ...1