Being a better facilitator

Posted by DeathCafeSRV on Feb. 22, 2018, 7:26 a.m. 2 comments

We are interested in hearing from other Death Cafe facilitators on how they rein in a guest who monopolizes the conversation at the Cafe.  What are techniques or statements you use to allow other people to speak?


Important question

When three Austrian Death Cafe facilitators (Alexandra Kleinheinz, Jella Jost and myself) met in person for the first time last November, this was one of the important points that it was very helpful to discuss together.
For the Death Cafe I facilitate in Linz, the "regulars" have become very good at helping to rein in guests who start to monopolize the conversation. Our best method seems to be to address them softly by name (sometimes repeatedly) as they take a breath. As soon as we have their attention we tell them first how much we appreciate what they have to say and then ask them, "But wouldn't you like to hear what <another name> has to say too?" If we have to interrupt someone, doing so with an expression of appreciation seems to work best.
Occasionally we have one particularly difficult guest, an older man who frequently attends other events at Kepler Salon too. As his behavior is always the same, we suspect he is in the early stages of dementia, as he always goes off on a tangent and then becomes increasingly angry when he can't get his point across. Sometimes it's possible to calm him down, but sometimes he just angrily storms out of the room. If anything works, it is always addressing him in a calm respectful way, but only on good days.
What always impresses me, though, is how open the whole group is to sometimes very different problems people may have with communicating, which is extremely important with such a diverse group.

Posted by Aileen

Death Cafe Buffalo Host

Before we start I like to state that "although we all come from a 'death phobic' culture, the majority here today are hungry to engage this topic, so all be mindful and make sure everyone gets fed today. We do this by holding space for everyone to share and be heard."

Posted by Morgan Jamie unbar

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