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