This Facilitation Training was focusing on the development of Agendas.


Two Goals: Review template, plug ppl into facil roles


Denise, Colleen, Kat, Maggie, Jessie, Chelle, Nathanael


Notetaker – Maggie

Stack/Process Observer (keep an eye on time, process, and making sure ppl all get opportunity to speak) – Kat

Everyone is Vibes checker!

Facilitator – Nathanael

Parking Lot – Chelle

Go Over Hand Signals

Clarifying questions, Point of Information as an interrupt – vitally relevant question or information

Point of Process can also happen whenever it needs to happen – keep people from straying waaaaaay far away; keep group focused

Confusion about stack, CQ, POI and people get tripped up

POI – factual info being discussed

CQ – I don’t understand, can be answered, not vague hypothetical

Stack – opinion; I want to get on stack is five hand raise

Direct response – information that is not a point solely factual – only for small groups, not for large because it can be abused

It is all process, not content with hand signals

Agenda building exercise – 30 min

– Agenda Template

O4A has it’s own template, and based on OWS model [there are additional points brought to the table by Colleen]:

Introduction to Meeting:

We read our Call to Action, something to inspire people at beginning; CtA – focus energy of group onto task, a formal ritual that pulls process into place and peoples attention to the piece of the world we want them to focus on

Introduction of attendees, either with prompt or not; sometimes in small group that meets regularly, to help off-load energy, ask people what’s on their mind so they can express what their mental processes (where we come from)

Introduce Facilitation Team (after producing level playing field with previous introduction) how has Facil team been chosen? Outside – stranger in the group would disrupt energy, and so they would come in before Intros of Attendees;

Would it be a good idea to always intro Facil team before intros? It depends – if you self-select you can do it after, if you pre-select, there should be an intro before attendees

– Intro Agenda – O4A typically hands out agenda, rather than intro; in a more informal meeting it is more important for a vibes check/consensus, but in large scale it can really slow things down; O4A action assemblies are in a weird middle, generally small and informal, but up to 20 people; probably for speed and simplicity good to have it hammered out before hand;

– Perhaps just agree to a set template and if anyone wants to add anything, they can add it into agenda; Want attendees to buy-in to the agenda, keeps people on time, people will know how long things will take – and so we’ll help as a group keep things moving – as a good facilitator you want whole group to facilitate with you; get group buy-in say here’s tentative agenda, is there anything missing? Anything that shouldn’t be there? And then get agreement to amount of time – if you skip that, you will have people who haven’t bought-in and disagreements may arise


Buy-in gives sense of ownership, less dictatorial – people with important topics went to facli team and you were added; also added to stack – this was used for 100s of people, so smaller group

– Action assemblies have 20-30 people; so what are these good for in terms of the particular meeting this coming Thursday?

–       have a template to plug into; keep things as simple as possible for when people walk in; complications come from everyone, not just Facili Team; everything is simple, humans make it complicated

–       Consistently build an agenda from a template that everyone is familiar with from outset – present agenda with the understanding that it is only 75% complete – people know they can be added in appropriate places, then vibes check about schedule, times allotted etc

–       Once everyone knows the process/agenda, the review of it will be very short

Intro to Process

-Intro to Hand Signals if felt it necessary – especially important because each Occupation can use different hand signals; becomes like a ritual, an educational moment and a community bonding moment

-Agenda Review – 5 min

– Present it – get buy-in

– Show others where they can plug in information

– Vibes etc – this is a visual example of the Hand Signals, a good way to introduce and practice the hand signals; also a function of review

–       5 Min process discussion – meant to be educational; differences between hand signals, differences between committee and working groups etc – this is specific to O4A meetings : change perspectives through use of words


We have to break loose thought pattern of anonymous vote and change it; there will always be strangers with agendas, so you need process and consensus

— Take one min, either facil, or note taker to go over last meeting – we did ABC, and we achieved B and C and we’ll hear back from X groups about Y and Z – energy focusing technique, group memory – helpful to go over group memory; group history – review of minutes (group memory!) As simple as 5 min, 5 sentences – very simple

Action Group Report Backs

Have a plan, but can also be added on, plug-in (Stack should find out who wants to get in, esp. if they come in late) [questions: who wants to be on stack?…we are closing stack, who wants on?] good to have reserve place for it, so meeting doesn’t go on indefinitely; have set time and then consense on more time? Once process is working well for yourself, it can become more efficient as a whole

Short – typically 2 minutes each

Proposals – O4A doesn’t always have proposals set, usually ad hoc; we don’t have proposal section – typically after REPORT BACKS, we ususally place Specific Topics

Proposals usually come from RBs – but RBs are usually past oriented, and proposals are future oriented; Special Topics leaves it a little more open ended, caters to flexibility; what we have is a discussion and then action is planned, there isn’t much in terms of formal proposal – fundamental difference between action assembly vs a general assembly where we would have a set proposal section vs special topics; This is important flexible part of agenda – what will help us manage, each topic must have spokes person and time limit before it gets formally placed on agenda – pre-ID’d the spokes for that topic; this is a goal, not an event – as we create topics and allow freedom for ideas to pop up, this is a way to manage time, ID prior – if groups want action, then they need to present something; at some point we’ll need a grip on this section other wise it might just meander and there won’t have closure

What we’ve done is have topics before hand; inter occupational out reach, ID person to give report and make sure they have info and will speak about it; is this another instance to do group memory? It wouldn’t hurt to do more in depth about topics and say XX is going to do a report on what they did etc And again it is a review for those who come in late – ask people if they’re cool with being spokesman on a topic?

Announcements – something people get confused about a lot

Information about something that’s upcoming

Information about autonomous actions

Future activities/actions/stuff

Used at OWS – this is more autonomous (RB and Proposals are more group-oriented) – announcements are individual, no consensus or vibes check on this area – giving information, and these should be really quick, LESS than 2 minutes – if it doesn’t fit in here, then it will become working group or proposed next meeting

Announcement of WG

Next Steps

Somebody needs to review – note taker will take names and start “kicking ass” – XX said would do something, will you do that for next mtg? Action Group will do this – make people accountable for what they say they do – and then this is basis of next agenda; give people help  (FORMAL MANNER OF NOTE TAKING IN ORDER TO SIMPLIFY THIS PROCESS)


Perhaps next meeting discuss more thoroughly for Facil Roles?

Do we want to go more in depth in these for the next meeting? Perhaps just continue with what we’re doing for now and continue this discussion next time

Have different facilitators for next meeting, but people who are comfortable doing it

Facil Roles for meeting on Thursday:

Nathanael: stack

Kat and Chelle: facilitators

Maggie: note-taking

If we come to really good understanding of agenda template, plugging in will be very easy; most of our energies on template will be most productive thing

With a good enough template going on, a facil team could meet even 15 min prior to meeting


Facilitation Training Meeting Notes

Facilitation training meeting

Introductions: Maggie, Colleen, Kent, Chelle, Lindsay, George, Ashley, Lindsea, Eli, Nathanael

Background on Facilitation, ideas behind it

Direct Democracy vs. representative democracy

Rep – people are elected are chosen to speak for you, but it doesn’t mean they will

Direct – power directly in hands of people

Direct Dem process is incredibly important

Common in media to be a protest movement

Actually a pre-figurative movement – in our actions we want to prefigure our future; we operate under a new society we have to build it together

Pre-figurate (pre = before, figure = shape) so we are shaping our future through the present

Something we enact ourselves and how we organize

Consensus is radical

Different from status quo

For Americans it will be new and unfamiliar – people don’t understand what process is, requires a lot of learning

We tend to think of politics as something competitive, less about cooperation and constructive dialogue

Consensus is not voting; voting ensures that those who lose the vote are ignored or depressed

Consensus is collective decision-making, based on consent of individuals; dialogue to reach agreement by all members of assembly

At Sundays’ GA we had break out about what consensus is

So we will go through a small discussion about how direct democracy is different

Lindsea: consensus is non-hierarchical method of reaching a decision; making it as participatory as possible; shows social change in that it models the way our democracy is structured; better way fore everyone to be heard; very ground-up

Change to spontaneous discussion for 10 minutes

Ashley: important thing to be aware of, if people start doing things that are going to affect group negatively the group as a whole should stop it, instead of one person in charge; whole group as a whole take a stand against it

Nathanael: tyranny of majority, if 51% of people think something and vote for it, the other 49% are ruled in a tyrannical manner; through consensus everyone has a say, it’s radical from how we normally operate

Colleen: look for common ground, don’t focus on what differences are or where you disagree, instead of compromising, we agree to disagree; find and define that core set of values and actions or other beliefs that we can move forward together despite all of you differences on other things; what does that other person want or need in this interchange and how does that fit with your own needs; radical negotiation techniques don’t be afraid of getting your wants and needs, you can see common ground if you lay your cards on the table; traditional negotiation requires keeping private your “cards”; you must model the openness that is non-traditional; what facilitators do is do the risk taking, model the openness and find common agreements

Chelle: wants to get away from mindset is to constantly debate things; if your opinions are based on few facts (yelling from baristas, missed some points)

Lindsay: tries to avoid debating, but seek common ground; if you don’t agree, it doesn’t mean you’re against, but you have to find common ground; we have been conditioned to defend point of view, rather than letting it be open and hashed over; it takes a bit of humility to put something out there, it requires that, and Americans are especially not used to practicing

Nathanael: just because you disagree with something, doesn’t’ mean you have to be against something; there is a difference between negative fingers and blocks; signals mean different things and fit in a lot with what Lindsay is saying, it is about cooperation and not always getting your way

Lindsay: you have a proposal, how many people are not standing away from them; look at it from a goal perspective, not just getting a proposal passed

Lindsea: consensus seemed more based in reality rather than illusion; what happened in our system now is that majority if following minority under the illusion that their needs are being met; decision based thinking will allow everyone’s needs to be met

Colleen: the occupy movement has defined consensus as 90% – important to note that radical change trying to use consensus falls a party and can be hijacked by one person blocking

Chelle: Agrees

Kent: but you also know people if you are camping with, you know why they are blocking, which might be why encampments have better rates of proposal passes; blocks are extremely rare and important, they should be respected; it is moral and you feel very strongly; get a sense of community;

Lindsay: there is a consequence of throwing up a block; if I throw up a block and it still passes, you have a choice to leave community; I disagree with this so much that I am willing to walk away from this; if you throw up a block without that knowledge, then it’s just mean-spirited; you won’t be kicked out but hold yourself up to what the standards of a block is

Kent: what are you blocking? An action, you have right not to participate and you won’t be excluded; what are you blocking? This is a big thing for occupy for all

Chelle: introduce yourselves?

Colleen 2, Chris (brother and sister)

10 minutes to go over hand signals

Spirit fingers: means consent; origins in sign language for applause – agreement; joy and happiness, physical expression of excitement; a cheer; someone says something you like, or if you had that idea you can show it

Meh fingers: not sure if you are opposed or for; middle range; neutral; we want everyone’s opinion, even if it’s a meh; also a judge of a speaker and how they’re doing;

Temperature/vibes check on what is going on, or a future decision

Disagreement fingers: bad idea, I’m against it but will not leave it; I will step aside, but not interfere with others going forward; if there are enough people giving this hand proposer can go back and re-work and re-propose it (or given out for re-work – note about being conscious of language)

Blocks: violates key principles, it is a veto, NOT a no vote; intervention of a high court saying that a proposal is un ethical, we are all judges; VERY strong

Point of Process: does a number of things: off topic, it means let’s go back to topic; process is not used correctly; people take in info different ways, some people need big ways first or detailed ways first; process is how we’ve agreed to utilize time and space; you need to be careful using it, it’s powerful, discussion of details is not PoP – you potentially come off as rude, so be cautious; are they really on topic? A well facilitated meeting of any sort has an agenda and times for them; point of process may then mean that it goes into a different part of a meeting, or we’re going on too long come back to it etc. (need “parking lot” for writing out ideas, physically write it down so people see their idea has been captured, and will keep people satisfied);

Process: everyone is involved; hard to do any one thing if no one is following or on same page

Point of Information: if it is not a fact, then it is not a PoI; anything to clarify, and directly relates; should NOT have “I” in it

5-finger hand raise: put on stack; queue of people who want to speak either on

Clarifying question: QUESTION not a statement; no I believe, or I think – it is asking for clarification; should be answerable, don’t take forever asking it

Rolling hands: this is a friendly signal; music at the end of academy awards; universal symbol for “hurry the fuck up” but really it is a friendly manner; sum it up, wrap it up, or condense your statement; works in conjunction with people’s mic in OWS – ppls mic makes you speak in short concise statements; if people repeat after you, this motion is balanced

People’s mic is very very important, should be done nearly at all times; perception checking: say something repeats back, you know you are being understood and what needs clarification; you can realize you don’t understand something much faster

L-shape: louder

The more we utilize these the less negative or hostile these will be, more respectful way because you aren’t talking over someone


Facilitator: someone who has a view of everything that’s going on, alert; keeps things moving; but also keeps eye on general purpose of meeting; basically an MC, a certain power is weighted, but it must be used lightly; you are leading a discussion, not imposing will; an MC makes sure that things keep going and topics are discussed and agenda is stuck to; but also keeps an eye out for point of process; TOUGH, almost instantly the bad guy, even though you are doing this to help anyone; once people become more involved in process people won’t think it’s negative

Stack: person who has the queue, list of people who are speaking; raise your hand and keeper will acknowledge you



Vibe checker: keeps general eye on crowd; keeps eye on crowd, how’s it going, counts quorum; takes break, let people cool off; just go to facilitator and call for temp check or break

Co-facilitator, “the shield” helps facilitator run meeting