Re:As others see us/ talkers vs nontalkers
From: Lynn Nadeau (welcomeolympus.net)
Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2001 13:25:02 -0700 (MST)
Howard wrote
>My friend Ted Kaehler devised an explicit group variant of this.
>
>* He brings poker chips equal to the number of minutes the meeting will last.
>  These are divided equally among the attendees.
>...
>* If you have no chips, you may not speak.  However, if you wish to speak,
>  you may raise your hand and "beg" for a chip. ...

 there's one guy in our community who speaks
>rarely, but with great thoughtfulness.  I admire that a lot.  So sometimes
>I watch him, and only allow myself to speak about the same amount that he
>did. 

I've been party to some attempts to  have everyone speak "equally" in a 
group, but it doesn't always work. The reason is reflected in the last 
bit: people have different styles, and each style *can serve the group. 
Some people do not think well on-the-spot, or do not wish to speak, being 
by nature more observers and more quiet. To get the input of these people 
it sometimes works better via email, or surveys, or in partners or small 
groups. All of which should be used to get broad participation in 
addressing issues. The big-group part of a meeting may not be where they 
want to speak, or can make the best contributions. 

Others have a natural talent for synthesizing and organizing information, 
noting where agreement exists and doesn't, noting what information is 
missing but relevant, for coming up with creative proposals that break an 
impasse. I see it as similar to how some members are great with garden 
and work-party hands-on problem solving (not me) and others should be the 
ones facilitating meetings, answering emails, and so forth, in many 
categories. If the "talkers" are conscientious, they too can greatly 
serve a group. 

An advantage that accrues over time is that the group learns how each 
member participates. The facilitator knows who might have input but needs 
to be invited to share it. The whole group knows who processes and sorts 
matters aloud, and who only speaks after long mental preparation. We have 
a member who may not speak during hours of meetings, but when she does, 
you can hear a pin drop, because it is always very thoughtful and 
insightful. In this regard, things get better over time, and 
community-building of all sorts pays off here as elsewhere. 

My skills in the world are largely in the use of words. I used to think 
it was categorically wrong for me to speak out - whether in a newspaper, 
a public meeting, cohousing, or a personal-growth workshop. But I got so 
much appreciative input from people who thanked me for putting words to 
what they were thinking, or for coming up with a summary that resonated 
with them, that I've understood that -- if used carefully -- this is a 
gift that can serve others. 
How to address that "IF" is my task!

Lynn Nadeau, RoseWind Cohousing
Port Townsend Washington (Victorian seaport, music, art, nature)
http://www.rosewind.org
http://www.ptguide.com

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