Re: Meeting strategies--check-out/Check in
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 94 10:23 CDT
One of the interesting things I have observed in watching groups meet, 
and also being involved in my own groups meeting is that when the 
meeting focus shifts primarily to business at hand, and relationship 
building is reduced or eliminated, often problems emerge in the 
business meeting.

I have been able to observe about 20 different communities doing 
meetings and have seen that the most often cause of conflicts expressed 
in meetings is that the person or persons initiating the conflict has 
some other issue or thing to discuss which is not "business" and 
therefore is not on the agenda and is being ignored.

Although I recognize that the details and decisions in designing and 
creating a housing development are an enormous task, I also would say 
that if you ignore the interpersonal bonding needs of the group, it 
will very likely come back and bite you when you least expect it.

Part of building trust comes from knowing each other, knowing what we 
do for a living, where we grew up, what hobbies we share, what 
interests we all have.  How well do you know the people in your group?  
Really know them?  Granted you can learn about each other over the long 
term of your relationship, but it is hard to trust strangers. Because 
you do business meetings for 8 hours a month together doesn't mean you 
know each other well.  And isn't that what it is all about?

A simple way to facilitate getting to know each other is to host 
informal gatherings, which are completely separate which have a group 
sharing attached.  For example one sharing could be: tell a story of 
your childhood. Another way of helping to get to know each other is to 
have everyone write up a biography of themselves. It helps to have 
someone who is an interviewer so they can ask questions and then write 
up the responses of those who aren't writers.

In my opinion, based on my own experience and observations from other 
communities, check in and check out are EQUALLY as important as the 
business of the meeting, and sometimes, more so.  When the people in 
the group know and trust each other, feel secure and part of the group, 
 the business is usually  free from distractions.

Puget Sound Cohousing Network.

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