Topics for Mini-lessons on Consensus Process

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Some groups, including the board, occasionally make time for a mini-lesson in consensus topics at meetings. The intention is to help the entire group become more skilled in the process. These are some potential topics for future lessons.

  • Beyond the stack: other ways facilitators guide conversation
  • Understanding others' concerns (Basically, listening techniques. The quick moral of this one is: the point is less to defend your point and "win" than to understand the other's position and concern and make sure it's addressed.)
  • Preparing to present
  • What's a clarifying question?
  • Pulling together an agenda (whose responsibility, how to add things, how to structure one)
  • Subcommittees (when to create them, giving authority, reporting back, dissolving them - or not)
  • What to do if you don't feel understood
  • Capturing conversation in the minutes
  • Brainstorming (when it's appropriate, basic groundrules)
  • Stand asides vs. blocks
  • When to call the question
  • Basic flow of consensus decision (see QIS cards)
  • How to extend a meeting (or not!)