By Jeroen Robbe
This leaderful organising tool is a roleplay exercise which teaches skills for facilitating and participating in good meetings.
This tool is a set of three short scenarios designed to be used in trainings for organizers to learn how to deal with challenging meeting facilitation situations. It is loosely designed around the practice of forum theatre in which a scenario can be performed with set characters and other training participants can then substitute into the role play to make changes to the meeting dynamic.
A less challenging version of the exercise can simply involve running the scenario and then facilitating a collective debrief of what could have been done differently in the scenario. Though this session is about the skill of facilitation, emphasis is also placed on the role that participants in meetings can play to support healthy meetings.
How does this tool support leaderful movements?
Meetings are the backbone of organization, and organization is a site for individual leadership to be developed and collective leadership to be practiced.
Running good meetings requires the individual leadership to skilfully facilitate a session. It also requires collective leadership in which a group must be mindful participants in meetings, a practice that is often tied up in the concept of movement self-discipline and “being organizational”.
Working through these scenarios will give groups new insights on how to run more effective meetings, which will enhance their capacity for transformative collaboration, one of the key leaderful organizing competency areas we seek to address with the toolkit.
These training scenarios are part of a larger training series on Transformative Community Organizing. This exercise would typically be preceded by a module focused on 1:1 outreach in which the characters in the scenarios would be introduced. However, the scenarios also work on their own. Each of the three scenarios are built around the same simple meeting agenda, the goal of which is to find a consensus organizing issues from a group of residents who live in the same apartment building.
In the scenarios the facilitator is met with three different challenges that one might have to face in the course of an organizing meeting. The challenges start with simpler matters such as someone having a side conversation and escalate up to how to deal with someone making a racist comment in a meeting. The scenarios also include a few suggested “organizer tactics” to employ in each situation. Finally, at the end of the module there are two checklists called “Tasks for a facilitator,” and “Guidelines for helpful participation in meetings.”
(Note: this was originally developed for a training in Germany, so references to political parties are from the German context. This session can be changed to fit a different national context as well.)
- More from the Leaderful Organising Collection
- Facilitation Tools and Techniques
- Checklist for a great facilitator
- Facilitating Meetings: A guide to making your meetings effective, inclusive and enjoyable
- Games and Energisers for your Workshop
- The Creativity and Skill of Co-Facilitation
- Active Listening Roleplay
- Working in Groups: Start Here