If you are the Facilitator of your meeting these are some things to keep in mind when facilitating your Meeting!
- Arrange (before the meeting) to have somebody else present each item.
- Encourage the expression of various viewpoints- the more important the Decision, the more important it is to have all pertinent information (facts, feelings and opinions) on the table.
- Expect differences of opinion- when handled well, they can contribute greatly to creative solutions.
- Be suspicious of agreements reached too easily- test to be sure that people really do agree on essential points.
- Don't let discussion continue between two people, but ask for comments by others. After all, it is the group that needs to make Decisions and carry them out.
- As much as possible, hold people to speaking for themselves only and to being specific when they refer to others. NO "some people say...," "we all know," "they would not listen..." Even though this practice is scary in the beginning, it will foster building of trust in the long run.
- Keep looking for minor points of agreement and state them- it helps morale.
- Encourage people to think of fresh solutions as well as to look for possible compromises.
- In tense situations or when solutions are hard to reach, remember humor, affirmation, quick games for energy, change of places, small buzz groups, silence, etc.
- When you test for Consensus, state in question form everything that you feel participants agree on. Be specific: " Do we agree that we'll meet on Tuesday evenings for the next two months and that a Facilitator will be found each Meeting to function the next one?" Do not merely refer to a previous statement: "Do you all agree that we should do it the way it was just suggested?"
- Insist on a response. Here again the [BUD needs] to be conscious of making a contract with each other.
- If you find yourself drawn into the discussion in support of a particular position, it would be preferable to step aside as Facilitator until the next Agenda item. This can be arranged beforehand if you anticipate a conflict of interest.
- Almost any Meeting will benefit from quick breaks in the proceedings- energy injections- provided by short games, songs, a common stretch, etc.
Source: Building Social Change Communities
Contributors: Berit Lakey, The Training/ action Affinity Group of Movement for a New Society
Recommended Reading: Building Social Change Communities
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