Re: Emotion, consensus, and power.
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 01:18:21 -0600 (MDT)
Thanks for the thought-provoking observations. 

Surely part of the challenge of functioning in a cohousing-type situation 
is providing a variety of formats for input, to help to mitigate the 
differences in ability or preference or willingness to deal with conflict 
in public. 

I am one who willingly engages in debate, and hollers if I think 
something important is being overlooked. I've had to learn that there are 
others who whisper, if that, and withdraw if it doesn't get a prompt, 
sensitive response, perhaps feeling upset. 

A variety of formats for input can include:
- Regular meeting discussion, volunteering to speak.
- Meeting techniques such as a "round robin" with each person speaking in 
turn, with others just listening, and no cross talk allowed. 
-Meeting techniques such as breaking into small groups, which are more 
likely to elicit the input of someone who is more shy. 
-Email discussions.
-Posted letters to the community, as on a common house bulletin board, or 
via a mailing. 
-Ability to call a discussion circle on a topic, and get input there. 
-Outreach, perhaps by the facilitation team? and by individuals, to 
people to find out more about their views, especially if they are in 
-Plentiful opportunities for social interactions, during which people may 
share ideas

Note, too, that just as sometimes a person may give up defending a 
dissenting view "too soon" because they want to get out of the line of 
fire and anxiety,("too soon" in that if they had persevered, things might 
have evolved to include their recommendations), others will cling to 
carrying that torch "too long" ---- relative to the likelihood that 
anything is going to change because of it. At some point, everyone has 
understood your dissenting point of view, and they STILL don't agree with 
you. In most cases, this is a time to compromise or stand aside, rather 
than beating your head against a wall, doing a big Victim scene, or 
deciding to sabotage things. 

Lynn Nadeau
Port Townsend WA

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