One simple tip for improving your meetings
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Tue, 27 May 1997 09:07:13 -0500
I did an exit poll of sorts about three months ago of 6 people who had formed 
a group to explore cohousing, then abandoned the idea. I thought it was 
interesting that although they all had different reasons for bailing, every 
one shared one common reason: The group was so disorganized that they could 
not imagine spending hours and hours and hours trying to get anything done 
with THOSE people. All seemed to recognize that getting a group to function 
well needed something, but none of them had any idea exactly what or how to go 
about it. 

I wonder how many existing groups suceeded because there were one or more 
members who had enough group process faciliation skill to keep the group 

When a group is new and investment is low, its easy to bail if there is an 
unpleasant member; often its easier to quit than to deal with settling the 
interpersonal problems involved. When investment is high, its difficult to 
leave, and often you are in the whirlwind of development decision making and 
don't feel you have the time to deal with these problems. One more 
meeting?????you've got to be kidding right?

One very simple thing that does little to add to your meeting burden but can 
make things better is to end each meeting with an evaluation brainstorm. Just 
free form brainstorm, what went well, what is improvable. Sometimes just 
listing the improvables will change behaviors. Especially if you post the list 
at the start of the next meeting as a simple reminder.  For example, if an 
improvable is: People ramble too much when they speak,
having the improvables list on the wall helps remind those that ramble to try 
and use less time when they talk. People who ramble are not bad people, and 
often they try to be more concise, but its easy to forget. Having the meeting 
improvables posted will help remind them, and everyone else.

Rob Sandelin
Cedar Village (forming)
July effective meetings workshop date still open
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