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What is the Role of an Advocate?

A:

Like the Peacekeeper, Advocates are selected without discussion at the beginning of the Meeting. If, because of strong emotions, someone is unable to be understood, the Advocate is called upon to help. The Advocate would interrupt the meeting and invite the individual to literally step outside the meeting for some one-on-one discussion.

When people are upset, they can talk to someone with whom they feel comfortable. This often helps them make clear what the concern is and how it relates to the best interest of the group. Assume the individual is acting in good faith. Assume the concern is in the best interest of the group. While they are doing this, everyone else might take a short break, or continue with other agenda items. When they return, the meeting (after completing the current agenda item) hears from the Advocate. The intent here is the presentation of the concern by the Advocate rather than the upset person so the other group members might hear it without the emotional charge. This procedure is a last resort, to be used only when emotions are out of control and the person feels unable to successfully express an idea.

 

 

 Sources: On Conflict & Consensus

Contributors: Amy Rothstein, C.T. Butler

Recommended Books: On Conflict & Consensus