President’s Message – April 5th

At our February Forum Chair of Chairs meeting, a discussion ensued about the “spirit” of Forum protocol vs. the “letter” of Forum protocol.

It was enlightening to hear shared experiences about how to deal with sensitivities that sometimes arise during a Forum meeting. For me it was great timing since I was grappling with a few questions about my Forum and how to navigate the inevitable discussions about the current election and recent violent events in our nation.

What I heard is that the strict letter of protocol is integral in providing a safe environment to be able to share and be vulnerable. Following the protocol rules in terms of providing a limited time to present, asking clarifying questions and not offering advice keeps the group on track and provides a fairness and equality to each member.

However, sometimes the spirit of protocol is necessary when a member is sharing a very difficult and personal situation. In that moment, all eyes are on that individual, with the notion that he or she has the entire support of the group. It is important to let them get it all out without interruption and without an expectation of a verbal response.

Recognizing these situations and how to manage them with a keen sense of judgement and emotional intelligence is the responsibility of the entire Forum, not just the chairperson and moderator. A great resource to help with Forum strength is Community In Forum training. Those sessions help remind each of us of the importance of Forum protocol skills, while also maintaining the balance of loosening them when needed.

Gina Krusinski
Krusinski Construction Company
CFBC President 2015-2016

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