Re: Facilitating community meetings online (was Dear Coho Professionals)
From: Scott Drennan (
Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2020 16:50:31 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Martie,

At Treehouse Village we've been using Zoom (and before that Google
Hangouts) extensively as we move through the development process.  We have
community members from England, northern Canada and West Coast USA, as well
as Nova Scotia and environs, and this has made a huge difference to our
level of comfort in this new "physical distancing" world.

We're using Sociocracy as a governance structure, and the facilitators of
our various circles have become quite adept at facilitating online.  Key
things that we do:

- encourage members to have video on wherever possible
- use gallery view so we can see everyone at the same time
- all members stay muted except the person speaking where possible
- for rounds, the facilitator calls out both the person next to speak and
the person after, so people aren't surprised when their turn comes (since
it's harder to see the circle order online - the order of windows is
different for each person)
- use breakout rooms frequently, and send small groups (5-8 people) to
discuss for 10-15 minutes, then come back and report to the Full Circle
- use hand signals for non-contentious consent decisions:
   - thumb up: consent
   - thumb down: object
   - thumb sideways: clarification
- we also use hand signals for quick communication:
  - jazz hands:  appreciation, agreement
  - cupped ears: unmute please

This applies to both working circle meetings (4-10 people) and larger
meetings, including Full Circle consent decisions (~20 households, 35 adult
members at this point).

It reminds me I've been talking about writing a blog post on facilitating
with Zoom - I should get back to that.

Scott Drennan
Treehouse Village Ecohousing
Bridgewater, NS, Canada

On Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 4:42 AM Martie Weatherly <mhweatherly [at]>

> Was there ever a facilitators group formed? I have been away from cohoL
> for quite awhile. I am particularly interested in the challenges of
> facilitating a community meeting over zoom or some other such platform.
> Martie Weatherly
> Liberty Village

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.