Topics for Mini-lessons on Consensus Process

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At the beginning of their meetings, FG Portland has a little mini consensus lesson at the beginning of their monthly meeting. At FG Vancouver, we instead do a 5 minute overview of consensus for beginners. Maybe in future we will experiment with mini lessons.

These are some potential topics for future lessons (adapted from Portland):

  • Beyond the queue: 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.
  • 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. (ah, the ol' standby, but always relevant)
  • When to call the question.

New additions:

  • Listening skills
  • How to cultivate and express trust in the midst of controversy
  • How to win friends and influence people