5. Getting Prepared
The first meeting is critical, so be well prepared with a topic of interest. Following is a list of suggested topics. The student will note that we have suggested ten, sufficient for a year’s study, since most such groups disband for at least two months during the summer.
5.1 Suggested Topics
- From Measles to What and How to Prevent the What? (The 7 stages.)
- I Like Fruit!
- The Zero-Calorie Diet.
- I Like Being Skinny!
- How to Lose 15 Years off My Face and Add 20 to My Life.
- Body Burn-out and How to Prevent It.
- Why Exercise?
- Is Meat Good for Us?
- Food Combining Demonstration
- How to Plan Meals
You will probably have to carry the load for a while, perhaps for the first two or three meetings. After that, it is time to start assigning topics. Get lists of the available tapes from Life Science or from the American Natural Hygiene Society. These are valuable and can be used at your meetings to fill in gaps and to provide useful information to your guests. The tapes may be used to supplement presentations by yourself or by one of the guests who consents to make a presentation.
Throughout your many lessons there are numerous topics of interest and also discussions by experienced practitioners on specific subjects. These short articles often provide very valuable information. They can be reproduced and a copy given to each guest or they can be read to the guests present. The idea is to choose subjects of general interest or of intrinsic worth, to line up articles and/or discussions which develop the theme, to have tapes that pertain to the topic; in general, to tie the whole meeting together in such a way that there are no awkward gaps. Your guests should leave well rewarded for their time. They should have enjoyed the fellowship and learned something of value.
When they do, they are only too eager to return again and again.
5.2 Sealing Friendships within the Group
Most people are lonely in some way or other. Many Hygienists feel lonely—set apart. Meetings such as we have described provide an ideal setting for everyone to have an opportunity to find a friend or to make many friends. The host or hostess can play a useful role here.
At every meeting guests should be made to feel that, as host or hostess, you are delighted to see them. For this moment the idea is to make each guest the center of attention.
Dr. Elizabeth gives every person who comes to the ranch on these occasions a hug and a kiss. They love it. After one or two meetings, indeed, they expect it and so does she!
Both of us try to impart a sense of mutual love and respect. Not everyone is outgoing at first, but with practice, everyone can become more warm and outgoing.Within the group is one person, or even a whole group of persons, who think you are somebody and do not hesitate to show it.
Rid yourself of surface comparisons. Encourage, yourself and your guests to be interested in life and each other. Learn to live through talking, listening and sharing. Use your own loving talent. Plant the seed of love, of mutual caring and respect for others by your example—and watch your harvest grow.
5.3 Don’t Try Too Hard
Strive to put your guests at ease, but don’t strive too hard: avoid artificiality. Offer love, friendship and knowledge to your guests. Don’t be afraid to go more than half-way, especially at first and perhaps even the second meeting. Express sincere interest in your guests person and well-being.
Don’t forget the round-the-room introductions at every gathering. Do this when your guests have settled. At times, or even every time, you can ask your guests to tell something about themselves as for example, how they learned about Life Science or how they became interested in learning about natural methods of health care, or about their hobbies, or special talents, or feelings, or whatever? Be sure to admire and inquire.
When we express interest in others, they become interested in us. The old adage, “If you want a friend, then be one” is very sound advice that is applicable to all of us.
5.4 Establish Certain Rules
We have certain rules at the ranch that hold for all guests without exception. You may like to adopt similar rules especially at the beginning when strangers join your group. Two of these rules are the “No Smoking” rule and the “Vegetarian Food Only” rule.
Any guest who wishes to smoke may do so outside and away from the house. We do not put out ash trays. If we see a guest with a cigarette in hand looking for an ashtray, we suggest to him that there are the other guests to consider but they can go outside on the porch or for a walk around the grounds if they wish.
No meat is ever brought or served. Even our meat-eating friends understand this and respect our wishes. At the beginning they usually bring a very complicated salad complete with a very elaborate and especially prepared dressing. They soon change their ways and most become a cooperating part of the group—and willingly so.
We do not permit coffee, alcohol or soft drinks. We always have distilled water available for our guests.
We do not make of parties and meetings a time for hurry-up, busy-ness and cleaning. We try to keep everything casual and light so that we can enjoy them, too.
5.5 When Your Group Becomes Too Large
Sometimes a few friends can grow into many and your group becomes so large that your home or the home of participants can no longer accommodate them. Then it is wise and timely either to divide into two or more splinter groups or to move to a public meeting place.
Community rooms are usually available in most areas, provided either by the city or town (for example, the town hall), by churches, lodges, by savings and loan companies, by the larger health food stores, and so on. The local chamber of commerce can often provide names and locations of such meeting rooms, as can the city or country recreation departments.
5.6 The Practicing Hygienist
It is true that health care is self care but the practicing Hygienist, worthy of, the name, will realize that s/he has a moral obligation to students and clients to reinforce their understanding and conviction from time to time.
For economic reasons most clients cannot be expected to keep paying in dollars and cents for repeated consultations. Unlike the medical doctor, the Hygienist will have an almost 100% recovery experience among clients. In fact, in many cases, recovery will be so spectacular that clients will be able to depart from guidance within a few months certain, in their minds at least, that they have acquired sufficient knowledge to enable them to continue their forward progress without further guidance from the practitioner.
For this reason, the practitioner must have some method or methods of providing a steady feeding-in of potential clients. Group meetings of clients, their families, and invited friends can provide such a pool.
In the beginning such meetings can take place either in the office setting or be hosted in your own home. These first meetings should be purely professional in intent, to provide reinforcement beyond individual counselling. These meetings are not open to the general public. They do provide a time, albeit brief, for some important socializing, for getting clients to understand that other persons exist who also have problems and, most importantly, that you as a practitioner care enough to give this extra time and without charge.
At times a practitioner who has speaking talents may wish to start a club or group similar to that which we have already discussed. These meetings should, of course, be open to the public. Again, at the discretion of the individual practitioner, they may be held either in his/her home, at the home of a willing client, or at a public community room.
The invitations may be on the personal level (telephone or mail), conveyed by flyers to the public (distributed by cooperative students), and also by notices placed in the public press: Sometimes local radio stations will provide time for a short announcement particularly when the topic to be discussed is of general interest.
Lecture groups of this kind also provide a pool of potential clients but, additionally, they provide an opportunity for socializing. Students and clients are often delighted to be asked to share their experiences with the public. Following the lecture, the practitioner should always provide a time for questions and answers. If you don’t know the answer, say so frankly and then try to find the answer and communicate to the questioner. So, be sure to alert one of your students to write down the name and address of such inquirers.
It is always well at public meetings to ask two students or two other interested people who have the gift of being able to greet people warmly, to be at the door to extend a “Welcome!” to everyone who attends. Always have a sign-up sheet on a table at the door which asks for the name of your attendee, address and telephone number and even “How did you learn about this meeting?” This last information may help you to decide on your most effective means of advertising.
We suggest that between the time of the meeting and before your next meeting that you call your new attendees and thank them for coming. Also, when possible, answer any unanswered questions.
5.7 You Don’t Always Have to “Wing It” Alone
The practitioner doesn’t always have to “wing it” alone. Tapes may be used or guest speakers invited. Don’t be bashful about asking worthy speakers to come and address your group. Most of them will be most gracious and willing to come at their own expense. As a general rule we take our guest speakers out for dinner following the meeting.
If a guest speaker is not available and you have been too busy to prepare a topic, do what we have done occasionally: have a “Show and Tell” party. For such occasions we like to meet at a home or at a community room with facilities for serving refreshments.
Many people enjoy telling about their own experiences, about how sick they were, what they did to overcome their particular trouble and “Look at me now!” Potential clients always find such meetings of interest, as do your present clients.
5.8 Groups Have a Tendency to Grow
If those in attendance at your meetings experience warmth and togetherness, your groups will grow. When appropriate, then, a minimal fee may be charged. Just a dollar or two will suffice. Whatever sum is collected will be your reward for services rendered.
Volunteers can be asked to take over time-consuming chores, such as getting out the notices of meeting times, place, topics for discussion, collecting “dues,” and similar tasks. There are always willing workers to be found in any group of any size. They only need to be asked. It helps them to feel important, a meaningful adjunct to you and to the group.
Certain people have special talents. If there is a good speaker in your group, request that s/he introduce you. Encourage volunteering among the participants. You will be agreeably surprised at how much help you will receive.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. On Being Sociable
- 3. Health And Fitness Clubs
- 4. How To Advertise
- 5. Getting Prepared
- 6. Entertaining
- 7. Respecting Private Spacing
- 8. Expanding Local Contacts
- 9. Good Public Relationship
- Article #1: How to Be Socially At Ease
- Article #2: Real Houses Are Like Real People
- Article #3: An Excerpt from In Tune With the Infinite By Ralph Waldo Trine
- Article #4: Preparing A Dinner Party For Non-Hygienic Guests By Elizabeth D. McCarter, D.Sc.