Activism: Peace: NVCD: Tools
Usually used for introductions, but besides names, people can tell the
group how they're feeling (anxious, silly, tired), or what they expect from
the meeting (certain decisions, certain length). A group might adjust
their agenda according to the emotional state or practical needs revealed
by the group during check-in.
Each person is given a certain amount of time to speak on a particular
subject, without having to comment on other contributions, or defend their
own. Should be used at the beginning of discussion on an issue, if only a
few people are doing the talking, or if the group seems stuck for good
a short time during which people can call out suggestions, concerns, or
ideas randomly, sometimes without being called on. Helps to get out a lot
of ideas fast, stimulates creative thinking. It's not a time for
discussion or dialogue. Someone can write down brainstorm ideas on a large
sheet of paper so everyone can see and remember them.
Depending on the size of the original group, this could be from three to a
whole affinity group. A small group gets a chance to talk things over for
a specified amount of time before reporting back to the large group. This
gives people a chance to really listen to each other and express
themselves, and is very useful when a group seems unable to come to
consensus. In a spokescouncil meeting, breaking up into affinity groups to
discuss issues or to make specific decisions is often necessary.
In a large group, or a small group which seems hopelessly divided, a
fishbowl helps to make clear what's at stake in particular positions. A
few people, particularly those who feel strongest about an issue, sit down
together in the middle of the group and hash things out freely for a
designated period of time while the group observes them. The people in the
middle don't come to any decisions, but the fishbowl gives everyone a
chance to hear the debate without involving the whole group; often hidden
solutions are revealed.