David Brooks wrote recently in the New York Times about “the art of making connection even in a time of dislocation.” The possibility of deep talk exists, he argues, even if we are meeting over Zoom. Consider bringing these ideas to your next forum meeting.
Ask elevating questions. What crossroads are you at? What commitments have you made that you no longer believe in? Who do you feel most grateful to have in your life? What problem did you use to have but now have licked? In what ways are you sliding backward? What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Ask open-ended questions. Instead of asking questions that imply judgment or are simply yes/no, consider starting with “What was it like…” or “Tell me about a time…”
Don’t fear the pause. Instead of stopping to listen halfway through another’s sharing so you can begin composing your own response, be comfortable with silence and reflection time.
The midwife model. Think of your forum conversation as helping a fellow member give birth to their own child. That means lots of patient listening, giving the other person a sense of control, sitting with an issue as it slowly changes under the pressure of joint attention.