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 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.
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.
Agendas: What an agenda might look like for a one-hour or
Blocking & Concerns
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
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.
See also: Decision Boards
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
Conflict Points: Minimal
summary including conflict analysis, reflective listening guidelines,
and one possible simple set of steps for conflict resolution.
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.
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
Decision-Making short chapter from The
Decision-Making: What, Why, How: overview originally written for Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy by Janelle Orsi, includes a sample policy that groups can adapt.
Consensus Points: Condensed
version of basic info, such as how an item moves through the meeting,
what helps it work well, and structures (agree/stand aside/block).
Basics article offers an overview of the secular consensus
including some information on facilitation, delegation to committees
and managers, agenda planning, and taking minutes.
The Top 10 Most Common Mistakes in Consensus Process and How to Avoid Them. Just what it says, the short and skinny for those in a hurry.
Queries proffers a set of questions to engage with. If your
group can dance with all of them to its satisfaction, chances are high
that your consensus process will succeed.
Chart of the steps in the consensus process.
Types of Consensus (Tree's "Quick & Dirty" Guide to the
Biodiversity of Consensus Decision-Making Processes) (PDF)
A Few Basic Process Points for Happy Community Life
Niederkaufungen, a longtime intentional community in Germany,
has developed a booklet of cute face cartoons each person in a
meeting can use to insdicate response to a proposal (similar to the
cards that many cohousers use, but
perhaps a little more fun). Scroll down past the steps at this
link to see "Using
Face-Expression Symbols to Sample Mood and Opinion
version of the wording is posted
See also: Blocking
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.
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
Exercises: Instructions for
35 group games for fun, bonding, or insight.
version includes links to further resources.
See lots more at Exercises tab on this
Primer (PDF): This 21-page document covers topics including
principles and methods of facilitation, formats, roles in meetings, and
Facilitation Points: Basic
principles, managing open discussions, facilitator's rap, working with
blocks and concerns, roles of the facilitator, etc.
Handout: Methods for Assessing Level of