Our Ground Rules and Guidelines for interacting in discussion groups are universal concepts. All participants should adopt these when interacting with other human beings. Elevate your own discussions by following them:
• Practice non-judgment – recognize that every individual has their own reactions, emotions, and responses. Their story is different from yours.
• Practice trust – we are strangers brought together by common desires and needs. A measure of trust is essential to building relationships.
• Practice listening – Use 100% of your attention on the speaker; sympathize with them by trying to understand their perspective. Take an extra step to empathize by feeling what they feel.
• Practice detachment – if you begin to feel angry or overwhelmed, take a step back (literally or figuratively). If you wish to express your feelings, use “I” statements to keep the focus on your individual experience. Breathe deeply.
• Practice patience – every voice is powerful. Some voices have difficulty expressing themselves – it does not mean their stories are less valuable.
• Practice kindness – it’s basic, and yet often forgotten.