Re: facilitation how-tos
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2021 07:04:26 -0700 (PDT)
On Sep 2, 2021, at 8:55 AM, Ted J Rau <ted [at]> wrote:
> You can steal from consent!

This is a truly excellent and useful resource — full meeting videos and clips 
of specific steps. And clear written outlines and instructions. The diagrams 
are In color and black and white! Really, Ted keeps doing this. The detail is 

One of the tendencies of our new video culture is the lack of written guides 
and explanations. As if a video is enough. It’s helpful in learning a certain 
way, but videos are limited. They are both more 3 dimensional and experiential 
but they are also limited to one specific event.

The one thing I find missing in not just in sociocratic facilitation but in 
most facilitation-focused materials. That is the purpose of the closing round. 

The opening round recognizes that everyone is coming from a different place, 
not just a different personal sphere but that they are different from the 
person who last attended the meeting. The reminder and making room for changed 
people as well as new circumstances.

The round brings people into the circle meeting. It is a time for participants 
to connect their lives outside the meeting to the meeting. It focuses them 
toward the meeting as individuals and is a time for other members of the circle 
to recognize their new  presence.

The closing round is most often presented as an evaluation of the facilitation— 
the more technical aspects of the meeting. This isolates the facilitation and 
participation in the process as THE most meaningful event. Is the purpose of 
the meeting the facilitation and techniques. Is that what makes a good meeting? 
Is that why meetings are scheduled? Like brushing your teeth.

What can we do better? What did we do better? What did we forget?

The closing round too often focuses on thinking about the next meeting.

This misses the summation of the meeting content and misses connecting the 
meeting back to the real purpose of the meeting —it’s ability to move the 
community forward toward its larger purpose. To re-establish equivalence. To 
change what happens in us as we go back to work.

It misses the opportunity to understand meetings as part of the flow of things. 
What might this meeting mean in 30 minutes or 3 hours or 3 days? To me as a 
member of the community? How has the community changed because of this meeting? 

What does this mean for me? What did I come to understand? What will I change? 
Do I feel a stronger connection with the community? Or not?

I think one reason this happens is the format of training. It’s like education 
being controlled by the bus schedule, protection from guns, schooling large 
numbers of children at the same time, etc. All those things do influence 
education and if not organized can overpower the positive experience of 
learning, but they aren’t the purpose of education.

The purpose of the meeting is the life of the community. How are we going to 
connect or reconnect to daily life — the operations.

Don’t miss the SoFA resources:

Sharon Villines, Editor & Publisher
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