Re: meetings, meetings (FWD)
From: Fred H Olson WB0YQM (
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 95 15:49 CST
On Mon, 9 Jan 95 Chris Hoskin, Broward Commons, HEYHOSKIN [at] AOL.COM 
was the author of this message but due to a listserv problem 
it was posted by the COHOUSING-L sysop.

vicky de monterey,
wrote about her concerns with long meetings and little progress to show for
it- she is wondering about any technological means of  limiting this

Hi Vicky, we at Broward Commons are only three households at present and I
can assure you that your concerns are legitimate!  We were fortunate to have
had a member in the beginning who was also very concerned about this issue.
 As a result we established a few mechanisms early on that seem to keep the
number of dead horses that we flog to a minimum:-).  The most important of
these for us has been the existense of a specific agenda with time periods
scheduled for each topic.  If at the end of the allotted time we are still
discussing the issue (almost always), the moderator steps in and we make a
decision as to whether more discussion is  warranted of if we can make a
decision immediately.  If the group feels that more discussion is needed the
decision then becomes whether or not to table the discussion for another
meeting (we have a "future agenda items" section at the end of each weeks
agenda).  I'm sure you are familiar with this stuff from your involvement in
the anti-nuke movement (are you familiar with Clamshell Alliance and my
personal hero John Sunnukenu:(? ).  Any way, you were more interested in
specific ways in which groups enhance productivity
technologically/electronically.  All (mostly) of our agendas are e-mailed in
advance of the meetings as are minutes of past meetings, drafts of
promotional materials etc.  This is very effective as it gives people time to
review material before they come to the meetings.  Also if one person is
working on a specific project, people can give their input during the week
and a new draft can be ready for the next meeting.  

While this electronic aspect of our process has been very effective for us
and I would recommend it to any group,  we still meet every Sunday evening
for two and a half hours.  I think these meeting are more effective because
of e-mail,  but I think more important than the work we are doing at these
meetings is the fellowship we are "doing" at these meetings.  Someone said
something about how the  time spent together before moving in is when a group
becomes a community and the  moving in becomes almost-almost- a technicality.
 I couldn't agree more.  I guess what I am trying to say is that while
meetings can be a drag,  they should not be dreaded.  It has been many a
Sunday evening that I was NOT excited about going to our cohousing meeting
only to later leave the meeting totaly revitalized and more than glad to be a
member of Broward Commons.

Thrive on current solar income!

Chris Hoskin
Broward Commons
Ft Lauderdale, FL

PS another important factor in an efficient meeting is a hard nosed moderator
and an understanding from the group not to take "moderation" personally.
 Consensus is a bitch!:-)

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