Day 2 Bounce and some elementary matters.

owen owen at
Wed Dec 16 03:31:57 PST 1998

At 06:59 PM 12/15/1998 -0400, you wrote:
>I am facilitating my first OST meeting this Thursday, based primarily on
>reading Owens book and a very helpful conversation from Brigitt Bolton.
>Although the meeting is coming very soon, there are several points on which
>I am unclear and would welcome some assistance, one of them regarding the
>Day 2 bounce.
>This is a two day meeting, but with a gap of several weeks between meeting
>days. The theme is to surface the issues and concerns that must be addressed
>in order to report on the state of the environment in the areas of land and
>biota in this province--and to suggest indicators that must be monitored in
>order to track those issues.  The participants are government scientists,
>environmentalists and a representatives of native organizations.  About 40
>people have indicated they will participate.  The gap between meetings is
>there to allow participants to consult with colleagues who are not at the
>meeting and to bring in pertinent information that my be helpful, but may
>not be held by the participants, because no one had yet identified those
>areas or needs.  The gap is long because of the intervening holidays --the
>second meeting day is scheduled for January 14.
>I am wondering if such a long gap will dilute the power of the second day
>and we should seek to reschedule, or if this is not likely to pose a
There is no question in my mind that Day II will be less powerful than it
could be were it contiguous to Day I -- at the same time, it could be a
very useful experiment. If it were me, i think I would go for two
contigusou days with whoever came, and trust that the phones / emails would
work over the period for additional info, and further that the folks
present would get a lot further than you or they ever thought possible.
Lastly, the degree of bonding that takes place on a two day event goes
pretty deep. And if the exercise is at least as much about creating an
ongoing, effective working group as it is about information... I would
definitely go for two contiguous days. either way we learn something. h.

>-Lunch break.  The 1.5 hr break the book proposes seems awfully long for a
>one day meeting (which in effect is what this one seems to me because of the
>gap) and where only one workshop period will have taken place by lunch.
>Does it make sense to shorten it in a one day situation?  Are there any
>other suggestions regarding incorporating this time, for instance if a group
>wants to schedule a session?
By all means, make it less - but just remember it is all open space. If
groups want to meet they certainly can. Their time and space.
>>-Does the 3rd Principle mean that if someone has signed up to convene a
>group at 2:00, but who is in a conversation or meeting. they don't want to
>leave, they have no responsibility to show up at 2?
It means the choice is theirs as it always is. If asked, I compare it to a
party you host. It would be rather strange if you did not come... but it
could happen. Indeed it has happened, and guess what -- everything worked
out just perfectly.
>-Does the Law of two Feet mean that people do not need to make a commitment
>to participate for the day? h.
Sure -- but what are your alternatives? Stand there with pistols? Also,
what do you mean by participation? Some people come to the gathering and
never join a session. We call them butterflies. Very useful. And as a
continuing Butterfly, I want to stand up for the rights, duties and
obligations -- to be free. h.
>-Does the facilitator play a role in resolution of scheduling conflict?  How
>long is this part of the meeting likely to take?
No -- Presumably your folks are conscenting adults and they, for sure will
work it out. Most important, they will learn a lot just in the process of
doing same. As for time -- normative experience is that from the time you
start to speak until the time all participants are in their first sessions
is something like 1 1/2 hours. This is true whether there are 25, 250, 500
or 1000 people. h.

>-And most elementary of all,  how do you speak from the centre of a circle
>for an extended period of time when part of the participants always at your
Keep walking about. Go to the edges, cross the circle, engage the people.
And don't talk too long. 15 min max will get a group up and running. Longer
than that and your are heading for a speach. Just remember you want to get
out quickly for your nap. But most important remember that the thing is to
get the folks to work as soon as possible. h.

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