In the past two years, our Forum group, although very active and cohesive, decided it was time to integrate with two other Forums, thus expanding the Saskatoon chapter into three total groups. The initial response from the groups was less than receptive, but we marched on. Soon, Chapter President Barry Remai, Chapter President-elect Berk Summach, incoming Moderator Chair Jerry Kristian and myself, the current Moderator Chair, began to expand our chapter.
The first step was to begin an extensive Moderator training program. I contacted Joan Mara, a consultant, and set up training for our current and back-up Moderators in each Forum. This is a key step in the integration process, because the Moderator needs backup, and this allows a smooth transition for the incoming Moderator. For the long term, it also ensures that all members of the group will eventually be trained and lead the Forum group.
The second step was to completely adopt the Gestalt Language Protocol in all of our presentations and Forum activities. It becomes very easy to let this slide, especially when the group becomes friendly and social issues often precede Forum protocol. This was definitely an issue in our Saskatoon chapter. We have all been comfortable in our groups for a while and Gestalt would often get lost in our presentations.
The last step was to recruit new members and divide the Forum groups into a solid mix of new and experienced members. Here are some of the actions we took that were critical to this integration:
- Receiving professional training in Gestalt and Forum practices
- Improving coaching presentations
- Ensuring we had at least two trained Moderators in each Forum group
- Bringing a past Moderator into the role of process observer to insure Gestalt is applied
- Encouraging cooperation and input from all chapter members
Throughout this process, our chapter has developed a new Forum group, and we expect to add a fourth one later in the year. What’s more, the presentations have improved and become more meaningful, thanks to our application of Gestalt. The Moderators have also taken an active role in helping the Forum coach sustain the quality of presentations. All in all, it became the goal of our chapter members to make our Forum a more meaningful and successful experience. I believe we did just that.
For more information, please contact Izzy Evans.