Good group process is critical to the success of cohousing. But it’s also useful in every part of life: family, work, school, social life, etc. So even if you’re not planning on living in cohousing, please join us for this two-day training with professional facilitator, author, consultant, and trainer Eris Weaver.
Eris Weaver has fourteen years of experience in cohousing as a founder and resident of FrogSong (Cotati, CA); a board member of the Cohousing Association of the US; and as a consultant to over fifteen forming and existing communities around the country. Eris is sought-after by corporations and nonprofits alike for her clarity, forthrightness, and humor (see www.erisweaver.info for more information on Eris).
GOALS & OBJECTIVES
- Refine consensus process
- Learn tools for effective meeting planning & facilitation
- Learn/improve skills for working with conflict/controversy
- Take steps toward consciously creating group culture
Fee of $100/person is far below normal cost for this excellent facilitator. Participation for the entire weekend, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday is encouraged. You are welcome to bring your own lunch or get it from one of the many restaurants nearby. Register below, and we will email you directions to our midtown venue.
- Welcome, facilitator introduction, ground rules
- Review goals, agenda
- The basic consensus model
- Different “flavors” of consensus
- Common “sticky spots” and how to handle them
- When to use it…and when NOT to use it
- “Is this plenary-worthy?”
MEETING PLANNING & FACILITATION (or, MEETINGS THAT DON’T SUCK)
· Role of the facilitator
· Agenda planning
· Meeting flow and formats
· What to do when things go south
· Action plans
· Recording & follow up
INTRODUCTION TO GROUP DYNAMICS
- Definitions of conflict
- Analyzing conflict
- Listening skills
- Self-reflection – what roles do *I* play in conflicts?
WORKING WITH CONFLICT & CONTROVERSY: THEORY
- Creating safety
- Stories we tell ourselves, and the Third Story
- Intentions & Outcomes
WORKING WITH CONFLICT & CONTROVERSY: ROLE PLAY
· Using fictitious, but common, cohousing issues (or perhaps a real issue?)
CONSCIOUSLY CREATING CULTURE
· Including fun, play, lightness, different energies into meetings
· Community norms, practices, and rituals
· Community governance
WRAPPING IT UP
- Evaluation of this meeting
- Next steps
WHY DO WE NEED A PROCESS WORKSHOP?
Of the six defining characteristics of cohousing (resident participation in design; neighborhood design for interaction; extensive common facilities; resident management; non-hierarchical structure and decision-making; no shared community economy), only two – well, maybe two and a half – have to do specifically with architecture. Yet as we embark on the road to creating community, it is easy to narrow our focus to the bricks and mortar issues and decisions. In order to build a thriving, vital community, we need to spend at least as much of our energy on building our social structures as we do our physical structures – after all, we were drawn to the whole idea in order to have more and better interpersonal relationships, not because we wanted to build houses!
Most cohousing communities use consensus as their predominant decision-making tool; however, most of us did not grow up with this as part of our vocabulary. North American culture is individualistic, hierarchical, and competitive; it takes training and practice to unlearn the habits of our dominant paradigm and work together effectively in a truly collaborative way.
Resident planning, design, and management equal meetings. LOTS of meetings. These can be a real time-suck if we don’t learn how to plan and facilitate them well!
Communication and conflict resolution skills are crucial to achieve both of the above objectives. Most of us who are drawn to cohousing are idealistic; we seek harmony, peace and justice and we’d really like to avoid conflict. But living up close and personal with twenty-five to seventy-five other people means that we’ve vastly increased our opportunities for conflict, so we may as well do what we can to get good at it!
This all sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Well, cohousing offers multiple opportunities for play as well! Building fun and silliness into our community practice is important as well – after all, we didn’t really join cohousing just to have more work! Community rituals can foster deeper connections and remind us of what drew us together.
Bookings are closed for this event.