Thursday, November 5, 2009

What makes a group friendly or unfriendly?

Let me start out first stating that Mom's Connection is made up of friendly, warm, and caring moms!! It is a privilege for me to know you and share our lives together.

However as we become comfortable with each other and friendships form, we can become oblivious to new faces in the room. What happens the minute a mom walks in the door is crucial. She forms perceptions of the group and its members. For example, if she walks in the door and has to figure out where to go to register on her own, that's strike one. If she has to navigate her way unassisted to the child-care rooms, that's strike two. And then if she goes to the room where the group meets and sits by herself while others are having conversations all around her, that's strike three, and most likely she's out. The likelihood of her returning to this group is very slim, because she has felt neither welcomed nor cared for in the most vulnerable time of her first visit. Intentional effort to make the mom feel welcomed and to introduce her to others in the room is the key.

There are two parts to a friendly group: starting friendly and staying friendly. I will be partnering with the hospitality coordinator to work out ways our group can start friendly and then I will be discussing how our group can stay friendly.

One of the ways our group can start friendly is by having volunteers greeting at the door of the Mace building (which we already have in place). This is where a mom will be met with a warm smile and a verbal welcome by the greeter. This person is one who exudes hospitality and has a true caring heart for others. She also greets all regular attendees by name ans asks newcomers, "Is this your first time attending our moms group?"

Another way our group can start friendly is by having the greeter introduce the newcomer to another mom who is waiting to serve as a personal "hostess". We will call these moms "takers". Because they will be waiting to "take" the new mom around. The taker will accompany the mom to find the appropriate child-care rooms, the meeting room, and introduce her to others. They will explain some the components of the group and how the meeting will go. The two women may want to visit the food table and pick up any handouts for the day. The most important part of the taker's job is to introduce this mom to others in the group.

If becoming a "taker" is something that interests you, contact myself or Tina Burton, our Hospitality Coordinator. We are going to make this group even better!! Thank you!

Lisa Fraley

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