FORM-Truly Connect With Others

Gift of Listening

Dani Johnson is a teacher I will always love for setting me on a saving path. When I attended her First Steps to Success seminar over 2 years ago, I had been trapped in a cycle of grief  from a family tragedy and she gave me a lifeline with her compassionate and spirit-driven coaching. One gem I came away with was an introduction to FORM, particularly as Dani teaches it. FORM is a way to connect quickly and authentically with others, and with FORM you give the grace of true listening.

FORM touches the heart of another so powerfully that we were asked to promise that we would ALWAYS use it for the good. Each of us knows times of feeling unnoticed, unsung for how hard we are working to do the right thing, lonely, or that our love has fallen on dry ground. In those times when another asks us with true listening how we are, in their listening, our floodgates can open and we are renewed. And a bond is forged. Dani taught us how to do this as a purposeful way of being.

What is FORM?

It is an acronym for Family/Friends, Occupation, Recreation, and Money/Mission. These basic issues drive our lives, our emotions, and are at the core of our goals. FORM goes right to the heart of who a person is, what they are about, and what is crucial for them in the moment. Offering the gift of our listening can allow another to make a declaration of Self and recommit to their Why.  And it allows us the privilege of experiencing the blessings we get from serving another. It teaches us generosity of spirit.

Forming can look like this. You meet an acquaintance and you slow down to focus on your friend. You move your attention off of yourself and onto her. And you say, Hello Susan, how are you? How is your family?  Make eye contact, be still, and listen. And she will sense you are in a quiet place, willing to receive. She feels the safety you have just created, and begins to open up. She may unburden herself of a worry, or a loss, or she may share with you a particular joy.

And when the moment is right you ask her in turn about her work, what she has been doing, and her finances (if it is appropriate) and mission.  And she will tell you.  As the conversation flows, resist the urge to chime in with how the same thing just happened to you. Forming is a conversation about your friend.

After she has gotten to share with your focused listening about her family, her work, what she has been doing, and how her money situation or mission in life is progressing, you will see an aliveness you did not see before. You have just validated a fellow human being. And, now you too feel more alive because you receive the grace that comes from serving another.  So practice and learn FORM, and become a blessing to life.

13 thoughts on “FORM-Truly Connect With Others

  1. Hi Carolyn,

    Great tips and love the FORM acronym. Intently listening is a difficult skill to master because we have a tendency to form a response while someone else is talking. To be fully conscious when someone else is talking takes a lot of practice to master.


  2. Carolyn, This sounds like a really interesting concept! The acronym FORM (Family/Friends, Occupation, Recreation, and Money/Mission) really are the issues that drive our lives when you really think about it. I'm sure it takes alot of discipline to learn and master this skill. I know myself, I could use a lesson on honing my listening skills for sure. Thanks for the great post! Joseph McDevitt

  3. Carolyn. Thank you for sharing FORM with us. It is often difficult when you are busy or preoccupied to take the time to really listen to someone else. Quickly transitioning from thoughts of your life – the good and the bad – and moving to a place where you can listen intently to someone else is tough to do. It takes consistent practice and an awareness to do it effectively.

  4. Carolyn,
    The FORM technique is a great way to build and a relationship with new people you meet.
    Thanks for explaining it well and reminding us of how effective it is. If you are unsure how to start a conversation with a new acquaintance, FORM guides you right through the best questions you can ask to show your interest in them. That's the best way to begin a new relationship!

    I will check out Dani Johnson. I recently heard great things about her through our primary business so she definitely deserves a look. I'm glad she was able to help you when you most needed it.

    Thanks for the excellent post, Carolyn!
    Dawn and Dave

  5. Hi Carolyn, met you through TSA. FORM is a great icebreaker for starting a conversation and building a relationship with someone you do not know. FORM is direct, putting the focus on a new acquaintance, with you asking the questions and having to wait for an answer, shows you are listening and interested in what they have to say. FORM is a great way to enchance ones listening skills, before you know it you will have mastered the art of listening.

    Thanks for the helpful post.
    ~ Corneal

  6. Hey Carolyn,

    Great Post! Dani is such a great teacher, she has such passion and definitely knows how to fire people up!! I have heard of FORM before, but forgotten it. Thanks for reminding me. We must always remember we have two ears and only one mouth and should use them in that ratio!!


  7. Carolyn,

    What a beautiful practice! It's amazing – and sad – how so many of us have no idea how to listen to other people. When we put our own needs, desires, and agendas aside and as you add, come to others from a place of stillness, we can really add value to those around us. We all need to spend more time engaging others in a mission of supporting and encouraging them. Thanks for this awesome reminder!

  8. Can't argue with this even though I've never hear of “FORM” Makes sense so maybe I had better look a little deeper. Dani Johnson. I'll look into her. Thanks Carolyn for posting this. Who said you can't teach old Dogs new tricks.

  9. Carolyn~
    This is a beautiful post! I thank you for sharing! I believe people are one of the necessary ingredients for healthy living! When we focus on what we can do to help others, life takes care of itself!

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