Library Topics

While many of these pieces were originally written for people living in intentional communities, almost all of the content is applicable to other types of organizations. The following items can be printed and copied for free, so long as credit and contact information is included.

Agenda Planning

    Agenda Planning is often overlooked, yet making improvements in this area can easily make a major difference in your meetings. Learn how to create effective agendas that follow people's natural rhythms rather than swimming upstream.

    Article: Agenda Planning

    Agenda Planning Factors: Questions for screening potential items (HTML) (PDF)

    Who makes which decisions? A prioritization tool from the wonderful Ronaye Matthew of Canadian Cohousing Development Consulting that helps determine which decisions are made by the whole group vs. individuals or committees. Written for cohousing communities under development, this approach could be adapted to other situations.

    Agenda Planning Exercise. To do this exercise in your group you'll need to download both this document and the accompanying spreadsheet.

    Sample Agendas: What an agenda might look like for a one-hour or two-hour meeting.

Appreciative Inquiry

Blocking & Concerns

Cohousing Decision-Making

    Decision-Making in Cohousing Communities reports the results of an informal survey on decision-making at cohousing communities, including the use of consensus, voting fallbacks, who is eligible to participate, and some of the tools they rely on.

Committees & Delegation

    Send It to Committee: What are they, why use them, how to use them effectively, who should be on them, how to build trust between committees and the rest of the group, and more.

    Handout on Committees: Types, requirements, and effective composition. (HTML) (PDF)

    See also: Decision Boards

Conference Planning


    Dealing with Conflict describes specific strategies for dealing with difficulties that arise between people. Reflection, feedback, third party support, and a straightforward set of steps for approaching conflicted situations.

    (updated) Conflict Points: Revised workshop handout, useful information to keep in mind regarding conflict resolution, key principles and steps. (PDF)

    Innerwork: Working on Your Issues with Someone (Whether or Not They Come Along): 8 exercises for working out your conflicts with someone without relying on their participation.

    Queries during Conflict: Some questions for group members to consider when facing an entrenched conflict with significant charge and upset.

    Process Team Checklist: Offers advice for communsities who are forming a committee to assist with conflict resolution. (PDF)

    When Upset Arises during a Meeting: What goes into making the judgement call about whether or not to go deeper into the emotions, guidance for going forward with it, and how to lay it aside if the answer is no.

Consensus Decision-Making

Decision Boards

Dynamic Facilitation

Email Guidelines

    Email Guidelines: Suggestions on what to use it for, what not to use it for, and some other things to keep in mind about this nearly ubiquitous communication form. (HTML) (PDF)

Equalizing Airtime

    Listeners and Talkers covers concrete ways to deal with one of the most common problems in meetings: balancing participation from more assertive vs. more shy members.

    You might also consider trying out variations listed under the Formats topic below.


    Exercises: Instructions for 35 group games for fun, bonding, or insight.
    (HTML) version includes links to further resources.
    (PDF) also available.

    See lots more at Exercises tab on this site.


    Facilitation Primer (PDF): This 21-page document covers topics including principles and methods of facilitation, formats, roles in meetings, and more. (142k)

    Facilitation Points: Basic principles, managing open discussions, facilitator's rap, working with blocks and concerns, roles of the facilitator, etc. (PDF)

    Handout: Methods for Assessing Level of Agreement (PDF)

    Facilitator Role: Bulleted list on eight aspects of the role, an over-simplified job description.

    Powers of the Role: A naming of powers that often come with the facilitator role, as a step toward transparency and awareness.

    Holding Space:  a brainstorm list on the energetic qualities of gathering presence.



    Formats: Short descriptions of more than two dozen formats suitable for use in meetings. Many alternatives to whole group discussion. (HTML) (PDF)

    Floofy Meetings: Alternative sessions for community-building.

Ground Rules

    Ground Rules: One basic suggested set, and some other possibilities.

    Handout: Why, how, and some ideas for ground rules (PDF)

Hiring Internally

    Hiring Members: Advice on what to avoid and how to make it work out well when hiring members as professionals during developments.

Land Ownership


    Notetaking Guidelines: What to remember to include when writing meeting proceedings for the record. (HTML) (PDF) (PDF has slightly more information.)

Opening Meetings

Planning & Preparation

Process Team Checklist

    Process Team Checklist (PDF) offers advice for communities who are forming a committee to assist with conflict resolution.

Reopening Decisions

    Reopening Decisions gives 8 possibilities for what rules to have about this and a sample community for each one.

Roles in Groups

    Roles in Groups gives an overview of different types of roles group members play, and exercises for increasing role awareness and flexibility.


    Songs: Lyrics for songs that bring groups together.


    Values into Action (aka "the 4-color process"): A set of process steps for how to move your values from nice fuzzy statements into real, specific actions with community support.

    Values: A list of values that underlie consensus decision-making.


    Visioning (PDF) is a 1-page handout covering some basics about what a vision statement is and why have one.

    Sample Visioning Agenda: The writing of a vision statement from scratch in a one-day meeting, using an Appreciative Inquiry approach.

    Sample Vision Statements from several communities and other organizations.


    Handout: Guidelines for voting fallbacks to consensus. (PDF)

    Comparison Chart between consensus decision-making and Robert's Rules of Order majority voting.s

Tree Bressen
Eugene, Oregon