Re: Personal Announcements at Community Meetings
From: Lynn Nadeau (welcomeolympus.net)
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 1999 10:37:59 -0600
A lot of the "safety" issue is taken care of by having choice in what 
people share. Sharing can also be guided into safe territory: "What is 
some good news you heard lately?" "What is something you are looking 
forward to?" "In three or four words, how are you feeling today?" "Who 
helped you, or who did you help, recently?" "What is something you are 
thankful for?" 

Most of what people feel awkward about sometimes is in the realm of bad 
news, struggles, challenges, relationship struggles, etc. If the topic 
leads to more positive subjects, it may reveal that someone is in a heavy 
situation, but without dwelling on it, and those who want to know more 
can talk to the individual later. 

Over time, the group knows each other better and has a better sense of 
what people are comfortable with. Our group is so established that we can 
handle almost anything. At one meeting a woman shared that as we sat 
there she had just learned that her emotionally unstable grown child was 
missing, with some evidence that she might be dead, and that the police 
were searching for her....    We willingly dropped everything in the 
middle of a business meeting and gave her our full loving attention and 
support. There wasn't the slightest sense that we should do anything 
else. (Child was found, alive.)

An ice-breaker we used at a retreat once was fun, and is especially 
interesting with a group that does not know each other very well. It also 
allows for the person to share deeply, or superficially, or in between. 
"Tell us three things about yourself, only two of which are true. The 
group will then try to guess which one isn't true." The guarded folks 
could say "I like gardening." and someone else could share some wild 
adventure they had had, like hiding all night in the gardens of the Taj 
Mahal. Hippies confessed to having been cheerleaders, and social justice 
activists revealed they had campaigned for Nixon. It was fun, safe, and 
we did get to know more about each other. Obviously this takes a bunch of 
time, so wouldn't be at a business meeting. 

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