A Forum general starts with a shared light meal to create a friendly atmosphere. Indeed emphasis is put on people getting to know each other. People then move into a circle (or circles, if there are more than 14 people). The facilitator introduces the process. The topic may be directly related to a session in one of the Forum’s dialogue guides or an issue of Open Space. It might alternatively address the particular needs or focus of the group.
Participants are invited to listen to each other. A talking stick or microphone is used to put emphasis on the speaker. Everyone has a few minutes to speak, but one can pass.
A second round of sharing invites participants to add a comment or reflection on what someone in the group has said. Importance is therefore given to each person’s input. The idea being that topics come alive and are enriched by each person’s experience and the energy generated by the sharing.
Through active listening and dialogue, a small group builds trust. The hope is that this trust-building approach will counteract the growing privatization of peoples’ faith and deepest convictions. Rather, it fosters friendship, energy, enthusiasm and a deeper understanding of the world in which we live.