Re: Meetings
From: Buzz Burrell (72253.2101CompuServe.COM)
Date: Sun, 26 May 1996 15:27:33 -0500
>We currently hold two 3-hour general meetings each month, followed by a
>dinner social.  The meetings are well-planned and productive.  (Individual
>committees usually meet once between each general meeting.) 

We have the exact same schedule, which seems to work fine, although we are in no

The key in my mind, is that general meetings are not for work, they are geared
for making decisions.  As soon as any discussion gets real complicated, the
facilitator just employs Effective Maneuver #1:  Give the question to a
committee (or individual), have them take input from the group, work up a
proposal, fax it to everyone *before* the next meeting, and then you're ready to
make short work of it.

This stradegy only works if people are good at reading and writing;  other
people (fortunately, no one in our small group), can only take in information
orally.  Take note of how your group learns, and then communicate using that
style.  I've noticed so many times, when a proposal is made verbally, it
resurfaces continually for months, but when its put on paper, there is the
ability to decide on it quickly.  (There are assorted facilitator tricks one can
employ here, but in order to protect my reputation I won't mention them).

Our group likes solutions, and so rather than discuss problems, we frame
questions as proposals.  An actual proposal, even if nobody likes it, gives a
focal point on which to build a solution.  People can go through a written
document, change words and sentences until they get bored, feel they've had
enough input, or simply run out of time, and then the balance of the document is
usually approved, and you're ready to move on.

Excuse me if I sound cavalier, but some things are really important, and some
things frankly are not, and that's where the time starts to add up.  In the
later stages, every decision will have somewhat of a significant outcome - blue
or green house paint? - and whatever you decide is what you get.  But in the
land search phase, you really don't know what the heck is going to happen, and
so I think it's best not to spend a whole lot of time on the details.  The early
stages are a good time to get clear on Values and Vision;  this can save time

Lastly, and back to the original how-many-meetings question, we do special
meetings, which are essential.  This coming Saturday, for example, we are all
going together on an Eco-Home Tour, and will informally share and learn about
what's out there and how we feel about it.

Take Care!

Buzz Burrell
Geneva Community 

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.