RE: Managing initial public meetings
From: BlairDrums (
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 1997 00:15:18 -0500
Rob Sandelin wrote:

>I have never heard of a heckler at a cohousing meeting yet, but it may have 
>happened. Its hard to make a presentation with somebody giving you grief, 
>and you can simply say that to them, maybe they will back off. It's worked 
>me in other circumstances.

I like this suggestion, Rob. Very clean and direct.

We had a one particular guest at our first or second public meeting that 
gave us a hard time. I was 3 or 4 minutes into the presentation, when a 
50-ish gentleman in the audience announced that he was an attorney, and 
HE KNEW there would be legal problems with this whole arrangement, and 
blah, blah, blah, and he had to leave early so he wanted an answer, and 
blah, blah, blah.

It took a couple of firm verbal "throws" to redirect his energy (aikido 
reference, not masked aggression), and assure the group that there were a 
number of existing projects that were lawfully organized. I told him that 
his question would be answered later in the presentation, and "since you 
can't stay, please speak to another group member out in the hall on your 
way out."

I talked to my brother, then a city council member in Eugene, Oregon. I 
told him about our meeting. "A heckler at a cohousing meeting?" he 
exclaimed. "You've got to be kidding!"

I'm glad to hear Rob's never heard of other groups having trouble with 
this. I have not encountered any other guest like this fellow (who, 
naturally, showed no further interest).

Blair Hornbuckle
Rochester, NY

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