Agendas and Meeting Procedures
From Brook Schoenfield, February 1995
BEFORE MEETING (if possible):
- Choose facilitator.
- Gather agenda items.
- Delegate responsibility for each item.
- Divide into reports/decisions/announcements.
- Bring materials/supplies needed.
- Connect (game, ritual, song, etc.)
- Review agenda items.
- Set times.
Choose roles (or rotate):
- Facilitator (see description of role).
- Vibeswatcher (see description of role).
Go through agenda:
- Take an easy item first (for example, reports, then decisions)
- Break large issues into small parts for discussion/decision.
- Take breaks/play together.
- Set next meeting.
REACHING CONSENSUS (STEPS TO MAKING A DECISION)
- What are we talking about?
- What needs to be decided?
- What are all viewpoints?
- What action will group take?
- Incorporate all viewpoints.
- Clarifying questions/concerns.
- Good points.
- Proposal may be modified or withdrawn with proposer’s consent.
TESTING FOR CONSENSUS: (Restate proposal first.)
- Call for strong concerns.
- Call for objections within consensus (reservations/standing aside _ “This may be a mistake, but I can live with it.”)
- Call for blocks (on strong moral grounds); if blocked, proposal dropped or further discussion or send to committee.
- Sometimes with a show of agreement.
- Who does what?
ROLE OF FACILITATOR
- Watches content of meeting.
- May formulate agenda (beforehand, is possible).
- Calls on speakers.
- Helps group to:
bring out all viewpoints;
look for underlying agreements;
- Restates proposals.
- Formalizes decisions.
- Equalizes participation:
Draws out quiet people;
Uses facilitation tools.
Acts impartial when facilitating.
TOOLS FOR FACILITATING MEETINGS
- Small group discussions.
- Feeling sharing.
- Participation equalizers.
- Straw polls.
- Visual aids.
- Role plays.
- Visions/goals exercises.
ROLE OF VIBESWATCHER
- Watches the process of meeting.
- Senses underlying feelings (check body language).
- Stops bad process (put-downs, guilt trips, domineering, space-outs, interrupting).
- Two hands for process common.
- Helps resolve conflict.
- Helps resolve negative emotion (fear, anger, anxiety, etc.)
- Suggests tools to improve the process (see list below).
- Sets an accepting tone.
- Deals with outside distraction.
MODIFIED CONSENSUS FOR LARGE GROUPS
- Spokes council.
- Empowered spokes.
- Whole group blocks.
- Maximum stand asides.
- Call back agreements.
TOOLS FOR STRESS/CONFLICT RESOLUTION
- Breathing deeply.
- New games.
- Back rubs.
- Calm voice.
- Eye contact.
- Feeling sharing.
- Active listening.
- Modelling opposite viewpoints.
- Resentment sharing.
1. These tools help bring out a group’s particular individuality. Be flexible/creative, and careful not to let the process dominate the group’s spirit. _ salud _
2. Only through use can these ideas be learned. With use will come innovation. Please send suggestions/ criticisms of this listing to:
Direct Action c/o Reclaiming Quarterly, PO Box 14404, SF CA 94114.