Who Is It For? Practicing The Skill Of Awareness.
When you go through training, the focus is on what to do (and not do) as a facilitator. You learn the details of The Dougy Center model and how our understanding of grief informs the specific facilitation skills. Over time, as you settle into your volunteer role, the grey areas of facilitating can come more into view. When you work with people, it is difficult to categorize what we say and do into discrete categories of good vs. bad or right vs. wrong. It’s more nuanced than that, a reality that can bring a sense of freedom and also confusion. Reflection, questions, personal sharing, and facilitating play are common aspects that fall into this less-defined realm. This Tip is meant to help illuminate these areas of facilitation that ask us to examine what we choose to do and say through the lens of context and self-awareness.
One of the first things to consider in this grey area is: Who is your audience?
Evaluative Comments And Closings
We’ve all been there – nervously waiting for the bag of rocks to reach us, worried about what to say to the child, teen, or adult who is closing from group. We might be thinking, “How do I sum up everything I feel and think about this person in 3 minutes or less?” Or “How can I communicate my impression without making him uncomfortable or stumbling over my words?” As we formulate what we want to say, it’s important to consider the impact of our comments, particularly those that are meant as compliments. Many of us tend to say things like, “You’ve grown so much,” “You’re so mature,” or “You seem like a very nice person.”
Going Beyond “How are you?” Tips for Connecting Conversations
Even under the best of circumstances the question, “How are you?” can be difficult to answer. Sometimes “How are you?” is a polite greeting like “Hello.” Other times it’s a genuine invitation to a deeper conversation. Either one can put us in an awkward spot. Do we answer truthfully and risk taking up the asker’s time? Or, do we reply with a perfunctory, “Fine, and you?” that may or may not be genuine. Add in grief, illness, or other emotional turmoil, and answering a casual, off-handed, “How are you?” can become overwhelming.
Pre-Meeting & Post-Meeting: What is is all for anyhow?
No matter how long you’ve been a volunteer, it can be helpful to reconnect with the purpose of pre-meeting. Knowing why we gather for this hour enables us to best utilize our time together.
Pre-meeting serves a number of purposes including:
• Share news about upcoming events
• Problem solve and prepare for group logistics
• Time to get focused and grounded
• Create connection, safety, and cohesion among facilitators
• Opportunity to explore personal grief