These guidelines are intended to help us prevent lapses in mindfulness—and the challenges of being a large group—from interfering with a balanced process in our discussions. I want all participants, especially newcomers, to feel safe and encouraged to contribute. Our 90-minute meeting provides us an opportunity to practice being mindful of others, to become good listeners, and to practice shifting between open awareness and focused attention. Although we may speak clearly and listen attentively when focused, we also need to practice shifting to open awareness and remain mindful of the group as a whole, the passing of time, and the balance of participation. I will appreciate your efforts to help keep this group working effectively and efficiently for all participants.

  1. Please do not interrupt the speaker.
  2. Speakers, please be mindful that others want time to speak as well.
  3. Practice being a good listener.
  4. Please do not offer advice unless the speaker asks for it.
  5. Speakers, feel free to indicate that you would like suggestions; otherwise, we will assume that you are not requesting advice.
  6. Please avoid long autobiographical stories, and try not to repeat personal stories you have already shared. We can get lost in our stories and lose awareness of the group.
  7. If you can’t get a word in, feel free to signal the group with your hands. If that doesn’t work, you may try any creative means to get the group’s attention.
  8. Please do not carry on a conversation with the person next to you during our 90 minutes. Address the group instead.
  9. Please be respectful of privacy. It is okay to tell others generally what we talk about, but do not share specifics of someone’s personal experience. And please respect that individual members might not want to be identified as participants in a support group.
  10. Please silence your phones and put your electronic devices away during the meeting, except when looking up something pertinent to the discussion. (Doodling will be tolerated for those who focus better when fidgeting!).
  11. Please make every effort to arrive on time. Be respectful of new participants who remain time-challenged and those whose schedules prevent them from arriving at 6:30.

 

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