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As Members Arrive

  • Cultivate an environment of positive encouragement, engagement, and conversation
  • As people arrive virtually, welcome them into the gathering
  • Greet arrivals with a personal welcome – say their name
  • Engage in conversation around common interest

Focus the Gathering

  • Begin within 5 minutes of the start time
  • Bring a focus by getting everyone’s attention
  • If there are new members – begin with introductions and a check-in
    • Introduce yourself and model what you want others to share by what you say
      • Name, something memorable or interesting about you personally
      • Share your loss with a brief description of who you lost
        • Their relationship to you
        • How long ago you lost them
        • What your grief journey has been like since
        • Check-in by sharing what life is like for you right now with regard to your grief
    • Remind the group of the relevant community guidelines
    • Invite others to introduce themselves, share their loss story, and check-in with how they are doing now
      • Be sure to explain that anyone may “pass” on any question, or limit sharing if uncomfortable
      • Listen carefully to what people share and consider the needs of the members as you transition to sharing after introductions and check-in
      • Consider making notes to help your memory and keep the focus on member needs

Transition from Introductions to a Topic

    • A topic may be introduced with a couple of sentences, but quickly move to a question and offer the opportunity for members to share
      • If you are doing all the talking, something is wrong
      • Your role is to facilitate discussion
      • Less is more when it comes to Facilitators talking
      • Keep the focus on asking relevant, insightful, open-ended questions
  • The topic may come from a general element of healthy grieving, or it may come from several members of the community mentioning the same need or struggle
    • Let member needs drive the topic
    • Topic examples:
      • Grief bursts – emotional “waves” that overwhelm us without warning
      • Isolation and withdrawal – inability or lack of desire to get out and be around people
      • Self-care: taking care of yourself physically, mentally, relationally, spiritually and emotionally
      • Holidays, Anniversaries & Special Days
  • Nurture the Environment of the Community
    • Your community needs to be a safe place to be real
    • Positive, private, encouraging, pressure-free, inclusive, and non-judgmental
    • Gently invite quiet or non-participating members to join in

Move toward closing with about 10 minutes left

  • Wrap up any loose ends from the conversation
  • Acknowledge the positive sharing of the group
  • Ask if there are topics of interest for next time that have come out of today’s gathering
  • Mention resources available on the website
  • Invite everyone to connect between gatherings on the group’s private Facebook page
  • Remind the group about upcoming workshops or podcasts, and the next gathering day/time

End on Time!