Best practices when a new member joins your forum

When a new member joins your forum, you are eager to have it go smoothly for both new and veteran members.  Consider following as many of these practices as you can:

  • Before the new member attends his or her first regular meeting, have a couple veteran members meet the new member for coffee. This provides a chance to review the forum’s typical agenda, meeting schedule, and other norms, and answer any questions.  If in-person isn’t possible, schedule a phone call, fold these points into the first meeting, or set a follow-up before the second meeting.
  • Begin the first meeting by asking each member, new and old, to commit or recommit to forum confidentiality.
  • Substitute an integration exercises for one of your usual presentation slots.   This might be “Lifeline,” “If you really knew me…” or other new or previously used exercises.
  • Plan on the new member participating in updates just like everyone else.  Veteran members can model the process.
  • Encourage the new member to present relatively early in their membership, not necessarily at the first meeting, but don’t wait six months.
  • Assign a “buddy” to the new member to meet for coffee or a meal before the second meeting.

Bob Halperin

What I’m most ashamed about myself

A Forum member told me that he tried a different presentation approach at a recent meeting:  He simply discussed “the five things I’m most ashamed of about myself.”   He reported that it was quite difficult, but the other members quickly dove in with their own issues, and it helped bring the forum closer together.

Obviously it takes a while to build enough trust to do this kind of presentation, but the member found it quite helpful.

Are you and your forum ready to tackle this presentation topic?

Bob Halperin