Kick off Group Dynamics | Strengthening Groups

Kick off Group Dynamics | Strengthening Groups

You have a bunch of youth gathering together to form a new group? You’re looking for ideas how to motivate them? Perhaps this idea for one of the first meetings inspires you and your group.

A Thrill of Anticipation
Have them sit together in a circle and invite them to do something special. Create a thrill of anticipation. Dim the light or use the nightfall. Light some candles creating a middle of your circle. Hand out some sparklers, one to each member of your group. Let them wonder what might happen next.

Tempt Them With Enthusiasm
Calm your group down and give them a speech of inspiration. A speech that they will not forget. Motivate them with every word you say. Tempt them with your enthusiasm to discover themselves as a group and as individuals.

Speak about dreaming, seeing and doing! Address your group directly.

A New Stage of Life
Together we set out into a new stage of your life. Have mutual trust in each other. Become team players. Focus on your strengths within your group. Put your group first. Understand that life is about we. Soon you will enjoy new levels of perhaps unseen strengths within your group. Your group will become your circle of friends. Together you can come up with ideas you might never tackle alone. Strengthening each other, your ideas will easily grow. Together you can take massive action and achieve what you set out for.

Be Hopeful
Imagine freedom for all of humanity. Have a mission. Speak up when you notice injustice. Believe in freedom, trust and solidarity. If applicable, resist injustice. Practice civil courage. Be honest, be wise and act the way you talk. Stand together in hope.

Be Peaceful
Be open to the people around you. Grow your network of friends. Be empathetic. Be there. Search and discover truth. Get to the bottom of things and opinions. Develop your own point of view. Develop a stance with your group. Find peaceful ways to get to sound agreements. Be reliable.

Be Truthful
Discover and feel your new community. Need each other. Be considerate. Be vigilant.

Agree upon rules for your group and stick to them. Make them real. And THEN, dream big. Don’t hold yourself back with ifs and how tos. Dream of activities, places to travel to and people to meet. See yourself doing it. Describe what you see. Be different by choice. Go backwards. Take your achievement and think of necessary steps that led you there. Create a game plan. Stick your heads together. Be bold and do it.

The promise is there: Your success will come!

Next, invite two members of your group to lighten their sparklers. Ask them to pass on the fire, by connecting there sparkler with the direct neighbor. Let the sparkle/the fire be passed on throughout the group. When all are lit, repeat the promise: Our success will come!

Refuel and Transform Tiredness into Greatness | Practice Communication Habits

Refuel and Transform Tiredness into Greatness | Practice Communication Habits

Do you feel tired and exhausted? You worked long hours every day of the week. Are you longing for a relaxing weekend or time off on your couch? But there’s this meeting with your friends this evening. You feel your just not up to it. You push yourself to meet them. And then, as out of nothing, your meeting is great! Your motivated and happy! It is plain fun!

Your mind shifted. Your approach shifted. You let go off your negative thoughts and forgot about your tiredness.

The atmosphere was just right. There was a positive group climate which enabled positive group dynamics. You smiled at each other and laughed. Your energy level refueled. You feel great! Your tiredness transformed into greatness!


Are you curious how to refuel and transform tiredness into greatness?

Here are some ideas: Go out and meet your friends!


Take on Leadership – Ask and Listen

You provide structure, establish limits and maintain a group order. You ensure that everyone is being heard. You encourage creativity. You give space to ask all sorts of questions and provide answers. You empower your friends to ask and answer open questions. Ask follow-up questions. Usually you’re not the only one who misunderstood a statement or question. Ask and listen.


Interact and Empower 

Be supportive and valuing. Encourage interaction. A good way to do this is to glance around the group, smile at your friends and encourage them to join the talking by looking at them openly. Signalize them that you are curious to hear their opinion.


Understand the Signals

Look for signals and use non-verbal communication. Are your friends leaning into the group or are they stepping back. Which direction are they looking at? Are they focussing on the group or their mobile phone? Are they staring at the door or focussing on each other?


Be Interesting

Bring up interesting subjects and shut out subjects that lead nowhere. redirect if necessary. Trust your group that positive group climate will enfold. Be part of this positive group climate. Smile! Enjoy the time with your friends. Enjoy the answers that you all receive. Take them as a present and be thankful.


Take it to the Next Level

Refueling with your friends is great and mostly easy. Meeting with strangers might be a challenge at the beginning. But if you stick to the habits above, if you focus on asking and listening, if you take on leadership, interact and empower, understand the inter-communication patterns and signals and if you keep on smiling and stay continuously interesting. Then, you will become an expert on transforming not only your tiredness to greatness, but also of the people you are with. A trait that feels tremendously great.



18 Proven Habits to Create an Honest and Deep Conversation

18 Proven Habits to Create an Honest and Deep Conversation

„You can make more friends in 2 months by becoming more interested in other people than you can in 2 years by trying to get people interested in you“. – Dale Carnegie

Are you searching for answers how to develop great conversational skills?

Are you curious what habits lead you to honest conversations?

Then this might be of interest to you.


Friendship Develops on the Side Line

Last fall I participated in the 11th Euro-Arab Gathering in the Sultanate of Oman. That was a conference on enhancing intercultural meetings of youth and young adults of the European and Arab regions.

It was a challenging conference because delegates from 25 different countries were present. We were merging more than 25 different approaches on how to host an international event and working towards a successful outcome.

Although enhancing intercultural encounters was the main reason for this gathering, developing friendship among the participants was obviously not part of the conference. There was just no time for that during the day.


18 Habits Create a Trusting Conversation

At night some of us went to the beach in Muscat. We sat together, drank freshly pressed lemon-mint juices, tea or water and shared a nargile. We adapted to the lifestyle of Oman.

We were open-minded people from Oman, Palestine, Italy, Poland, Croatia, Spain, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Already during the first night out, we spoke in depth about peace in Palestine and Israel. It was a heated and highly emotional discussion. I was amazed that we dared to speak freely of the necessity of meetings between Palestinian and Israeli people.

It is an objective of conflict transformation to bring people together who are in conflict with each other. Inviting them to listen to each other, not necessarily understanding the pain points but acknowledging them.

My new Palestinian friend was absolutely not interested in that suggestion! Based on his very own experience of living under the destructive force of the occupation of Palestine. Why should he? – Why would he acknowledge their pain?

From his perspective no other people is being treated as badly as his people. From his perspective there might never be a chance for peace.

I felt with him and disagreed.

Then my new Polish friends took over. They told us about their experiences growing up in Poland after World War II. They told us about their lives during the forced displacement. They were oppressed by Germany and later by Russia. Their own government used their military to force Poles into moving to the middle of Poland, thereby often confiscating household goods and furniture, devaluating ration coupons and using brutal force.

Our heated discussion calmed down immediately.

Both groups, the new friends from France and the Polish, pointed out that it is possible to strive forward in peace with those who have oppressed. They looked at me, the German.

In Europe the peoples have managed to move away from conflict. Our governments in Europe are still working on reconciliation.

And here we are, sitting together: Poles, French and Germans – in Oman – sharing not only nargile but also thoughts, experiences and emotions, engaging in an honest and deep conversation. – Peace is possible.


Let’s Get to the Point!

Here’s a recap of the habits that were in place, when we were at our best:

We were …

  1. curious (interested in each other’s stories, experiences, ideas and opinions)
  2. relaxed (relaxed – alert – relaxed)
  3. positive
  4. friendly
  5. smiling
  6. caring
  7. empathetic (sad and shocked when we heard each other out)
  8. actively mirroring each other (gestures, postures, tone, rate of speaking)
  9. keeping eye-contact
  10. honest
  11. trusting each other
  12. courageous
  13. keeping it personal
  14. sharing experiences
  15. keeping our wording simple and straight forward
  16. asking questions to avoid misunderstandings
  17. asking questions to deepen the conversation
  18. summarizing what was said, signalizing understanding


Are You Interested in Further Reading?

Check these books out:

Dale Carnegie: How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Roger Alies: You Are The Message. Getting What You Want By Being Who You are.

Richard H. Axelrod et al.: You Don’t Have To Do It Alone. How To Involve Others To Get Things Done.



Peace Habits is a new project. Born out of the eager desire to foster peace and strengthen existing projects which are committed to peace.
Peace Habits focusses on habits that are in place when peace among people is at it’s best.
I am Karl Goldstein.
I have worked as a consultant for peace in Palestine and Israel. My heart beats for scouting: For more than thirty years I have been committed to Baden Powell’s vision of “Creating a better world”.
It is our mission to educate young people to play an active role in society. We involve, excite and empower them and ourselves.
I have the desire to strengthen the democratic society that enables its people to develop their best.
To me habits of peace are more than a set of tools to achieve a greater cause. To me those habits are a way of life.
At Peace Habits we have the eager desire to support personal change – your personal development, if you like – and to promote positive group development.
Peace Habits provides inspiration for your personal development. You want to go deeper in your own reflection?
Ask questions like these: What happens? What’s the matter? What questions go further? What questions lead to positive change?
Peace Habits encourages you to take recreational time-outs for yourself. – Be the best you can be!
Being the best you can be is the best foundation for the growth of friendship and lasting peace!
At Peace Habits we engage in group activities:
– bridging gaps
– bringing people together
– getting them to explore one and another
– meanwhile understanding their own roles even better
Challenging, fun group activities are the key to unfolding positive group interaction.
They can be entry points for habits of peace.
We focus on patterns that foster habits. We forward information to you and your group on how to do it yourself/yourselves, or how to adapt habits of peace. – Great habits that make your, their and our life better.
Let’s continue making our world a better place!
Story Telling
I like the story of the sower – also known as the parable of the soils. It’s from the bible.
I’m not an expert on the bible. I like what I read and understand:
Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the birds of the air came and ate it up. 
And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately sprang up, because it had not depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched, and because it had no deep root, it withered away.
And some fell among thorns, the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 
And other fell on good ground, did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, some hundred.
– Mark 4, 3:9
Habits of peace are seeds planted in soils – giving life to a greater cause.
Are you the good ground?
We aren’t responsible for the growth of peace among each other/peoples.
Just as we are not responsible for the growth of beautiful maple trees.
We may plant the seeds. Take care of the good soil. Give some fertilizer – perhaps. But we cannot pull on the seedling to make it beautiful. That’s nature’s deal. That’s God’s part.
We are responsible for sowing.
We can influence the choice of ground.
We can create an attractive atmosphere inside ourselves and among each other.
We are the caretakers!
Let’s take care together!
Let’s do it!