During the updates portion of Forum, each Forum member has equal time to share their business, personal and family update with the group. We frequently hear feedback from Forums that they struggle with keeping the updates equal in terms of time – some members use five minutes, some take ten and others keep it to 30 seconds. They all say that when the distribution of time varies (especially when people go over time), the feeling of equality among the group is lost. Even worse, nobody feels good cutting someone off when they are sharing a part of themselves and being vulnerable. So what can we do?
First, if you know that you struggle with keeping to the time limit, remember the Forum update templates are there as a resource. The templates can help you prepare and collect your thoughts prior to the meeting. Think about what is important and how you want to utilize your time and Forum resources. Once you have prepared, your thoughts will be communicated in a more concise and timely manner.
The bottom line is that each person is allowed the same amount of time to speak. The amount of time that you allocate to each member is up to your Forum to decide, as long as it is equal. This is what keeps Forum safe.
To help you, there are a few handy phone apps (yes, it is okay to take out your cell phone for this purpose) that can keep you on track. Talk Timer (use this one for iPhone and this one for Android) is a great tool in which you can set your time limit and the screen will turn green, yellow and red as the timer counts down. This gives everyone in the room, most importantly the one speaking, the opportunity for a visual cue to know when they need to begin wrapping up and when they need to stop talking. Nobody will feel invasive for cutting off the speaker, and the speaker will be held accountable for keeping to time.
Try it out and see if it works. If you have feedback or any other app suggestions, please let us know in the comments.