It starts with a Post-It.
Everyone gets a 5x7” pad of Post-Its. We write down the things we want to talk about—one topic per Post-It. Then, all the topics go up on the wall. Everyone gets 15 seconds to “pitch” their topics to the group. If some are similar, they get combined. Some subjects we’ve covered are: worrying about our spouse dying, intimacy and cancer, feeling guilty as a caregiver, and how to help our kids adjust to their parent having cancer. The Klatch is democratic. We all get 3 votes to allocate however we want. Everyone marks their votes on the topics they would like to discuss. They can put all of the votes on one, or divide them up. Once the voting is done, we add up the tallies. The topic with the most gets discussed first. Once we are done with that topic, we move on to the next most tallied subject.
We have a lot of ground to cover, so we stay on task by setting a timer. We begin by talking for 8 minutes. Then we vote again. Do we want to keep talking? Or, do we want to move onto the next subject? We take a quick thumbs up/thumbs down poll. Thumbs up means we keep talking for 4 more minutes before voting again. We know the conversation is over when the majority votes thumbs down.
After we’ve discussed each topic, we lock in the learning. What resonated with us? These are the key takeaways. Every participant is given a Jack’s Notebook in which to take notes (if they want). So they often add things they hadn’t thought of to their notes at this time.
We move through as many topics as time allows. Although there have been times when one subject takes up most of the time because it is so important to us as caregivers. The conversation flows right where the participants want it to go. We often laugh together. We also can get very deep as we share with one another our experiences and what we’ve found works for us.
Some of the participants have just found out their loved one has cancer. Others have been living with it for years. Each of us has something to offer. Each of us has something to learn. The Klatch is really a place of exchange. We come in with a burden, and leave having exchanged it for encouragement, resources, and new friends.
The Challenge Tracker 2,000.
Before everyone leaves, we challenge ourselves to do something. Anything. It might be taking our partner on a date, or paying for a maid once a month to make life easier. It might be returning to the bowling league you miss so much, or having a difficult conversation you’ve been avoiding. These challenges are easy to forget and push aside in the busyness of life as a caregiver. So we enter them into an online form that helps us hold each other accountable to do what we said we were gonna do. We call it the "Challenge Tracker 2,000"!
I challenge you to check out the Klatch, are you up to the challenge?