70/30 Rule for Small Group Leaders

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” ~Epictetus

What Is the 70/30 Rule?

The 70/30 rule is simply a ratio applied as a rule of thumb in some areas of our lives where it has proven useful.

70/30 Rule Applications

Sales is probably the most popular area the 70/30 rule is known and applied. But there are many applications where it has proven helpful. Here are just a few:

Personal Finance: Live on no more than 70%; Give back, invest and save at least 30%

Losing weight: Based on 70% diet; 30% exercise

Marketing on social media: Provide value to potential customers and support others at least 70% of the time; Promote yourself no more than 30%

Fundraising: At least 70% of funds raised is used for charitable programs; Cost to raise funds and administration is no more than 30%

Sales/Communication: Listen at least 70% of the time; Talk and ask questions no more than 30%

70/30 Rule Applications for Small Group Leaders

I like the application of the 70/30 rule for communication. Small group leaders can use it to quickly assess if they give group members adequate time to talk.

The 70/30 rule for communication is supported by The Ken Blanchard Companies. Also, they have developed two more 70/30 rules based on their extensive research on learning and team dynamics. I believe these rules should be considered for small groups.

Below are the three 70/30 rules from The Ken Blanchard Companies. I have revised them to apply specifically to small groups and the small group leader. If you want to learn more about these three 70/30 rules, go to http://www.kenblanchard.com/Leading-Research/Research/Innovations-in-Learning-Design-Learning-Experience.


Small group leaders do 70% of the listening and 30% of the talking.

Ultimately, the purpose of the small group is about the transformation of members to be more like Jesus and fully live as God intended. It is not about the leader. This transformation is more likely to occur when members actively participate in their learning. That can’t happen when it is a one-way “conversation” from the  leader.

Read From Distracted to Active Listening about the importance of properly listening to your group members.


Small group leaders use 70% of their preparation time on HOW they are going to share information and 30% on WHAT information they are going to share with their group members.

Small group leaders need to spend time and energy creating one or more interactive activities for each meeting which allows the members to practice what is being discussed.

Read Shake Things Up with Experiential Learning Activities about the importance of using learning activities.


30% of the Bible study time is spent learning and 70% is spent practicing what was learned.

Don’t short change the time members can spend doing interactive activities with the other members. It won’t matter what information is shared, if it is not remembered or applied once they leave the meeting. These activities reinforce the lessons learned so they are carried out and applied in real life.

Question: Which of these 70/30 rules will you start implementing in your small group leadership? What benefits do you believe will come from  it? You can leave a comment by clicking here.