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Group skills

A group of friends stand with arms around each other looking out across a valley.

Running Effective Campaign Debriefs

Every campaign is a learning opportunity. Make the most of this by planning for the post-campaign period and setting up debriefs. Here are some tips for campaigners and facilitators.

Photograph of a group of people having a meeting.

Action group meetings

This tip sheet has been written to help you and your group work well together and achieve your objectives and highlights some group habits and actions that resilient community groups have relied on: effective meetings with an agreed agenda; clearly-defined roles; mindful decision-making; accountability; and inclusiveness.

A room full of women at a forum raising their hands, photographed from the back of the room.

Facilitating for Gender Balance

Men frequently participate more than women in meetings, forums and other events. This article outlines practical steps facilitators and participants can take to ensure women are heard.

Cover of Starhawk's 'The Five-Fold Path of Productive Meetings'

The Five Fold Path of Productive Meetings

Productive meetings allow an organization to move forward, keep members engaged and give them a sense of empowerment and efficacy. There are five aspects of structure and interpersonal dynamics we must pay special attention to if we want our meetings to be truly productive: Right People; Right Container; Right Process; Right Facilitation; Right Agenda.

Enhancing collective decision-making with technology

Ben Knight presented at Progress 2015 about the power of unleashing collective intelligence through better technology. He provides a short introduction to the Loomio platform for discussion and decision-making.

A group of people sit together around a table.

Maintaining Group Morale and Motivation

Group morale is a key contributor to the success of a group, increasing cohesion, reducing burnout and preventing activist turnover. Build team relationships; resolve conflicts and improve communication; and celebrate success.

Cover of the Pt'chang Nonviolent Community Safety and Peacekeeping Trainers' Manual

Nonviolent Community Safety and Peacekeeping Trainers’ Manual

This handbook is a resource for trainers focused on community safety and peacekeeping. It includes training resources for practical ways to intervene in violence, to transform conflict and to build peace. Many parts of this manual may be translatable to other contexts.

Front cover of Pt'Chang's Nonviolence Training Project Trainers' Resource Manual

Nonviolence Trainer’s Resource Manual

This manual aims to contribute to the body of practical on nonviolence training, and support the work of people working to increase the power and effectiveness of grassroots social movements. While it is a method for change accessible to all, to succeed, nonviolence requires organisation, discipline, persistence in the face of repression and strategic application.

Cover of the Pt'chang Nonviolent Community Safety and Peacebuilding Handbook

Nonviolent Community Safety and Peacebuilding Handbook

This handbook is a handy and unique resource for activists and community workers engaged in work for peace at a community level throughout Australia. It includes practical ways to intervene in violence, to transform conflict and to build peace.

Photograph of a neon question mark in a dark room.

Strategic Questioning

Strategic questioning is the skill of asking the questions that will make a difference. It is a powerful tool for personal and social change which helps people discover their own strategies and ideas for change. Strategic questioning can be valuable in campaign strategy, group consultation processes, one-to-one organising conversations, coaching and many other contexts.

Diagram of 5 concentric circles labelled from outside to inside: Community; Crowd; Congregation; Committed; Core.

Levels of Commitment from Community to Core

Rick Warren focuses on five ‘circles of commitment’ – community, crowd, congregation, committed and core, and argue that it’s important to recognise where your supporters fall in these categories, and develop processes to move them from the outside in. An excerpt from Purpose Driven Campaigning.

A group of smiling protestors under a tarp shelter. A banner reads 'Coal Out, Renewables In'.

Beginners guide to a blockade camp

Many successful campaigns have based their direct action from blockade camps and include the wins against the damming of the Franklin river, stopping the Jabiluka uranium mine, and the proposed gas hub at Walmadan/James Price Point. It can be a scary thing, heading to a blockade camp for the first time. Here are some tips to get you started.

Photo of protesters at Leard Blockade. Protestors have arms crossed in 'no deal' sign. There is a banner 'ANZ: Think Again'.

Facilitation at the Frontlines

This article includes reflections and tips for ‘extreme sport’ facilitation at blockades and action camps. Includes notes about logistics, comfort of participants, timing, internal organisation within the facilitation team, holding the space, and being transparent about role and power dynamics.

Photograph of a group of people standing in a circle with a beach ball.

Games and energisers

Games are great to use during a workshop. They may be scheduled into the workshop at various times or you may just toss one in when you feel that the group could benefit from playing a game. The games in this handout are separated into the categories of introductory games, name games, dynamicas (energisers) and fun ways to get people into groups.

Photograph of a sandwich board on pavement, it reads 'Awesome' with an arrow pointing to the right, and 'Less Awesome' with an arrow pointing to the left.

Feedback and learning

Giving and receiving feedback is a core skill for people engaged in social change projects. These slides and related text outline what can maximise or minimise the effectiveness of feedback and useful phrases. 

Diagram made up of a central circle (Group Development) surrounded by 5 connected circles labelled Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Mourning.

Stages of Group Development

A handout and process guide for training workshops focused on working in groups and organisational effectiveness. The process introduces participants to Bruce Tuckman’s model of stages in group development; encourages participants to reflect on their experience of group development; and identifies and address challenges and opportunities that accompany each stage.

A group of people stand together around a ping pong table covered in paper and pens.

Diagnostic Tools for Trainers and Facilitators

Facilitators and activist educators rely on a suite of tools to diagnose the group, to learn about people’s needs and priorities, and to move the group forward. A number of tools are outlined in this resource including: One-on-one conversations; Maximise/Minimise; Ambivalence charts; Questionnaires; Sociograms; Skits, mime and tableaux; Noticings; and Evaluation.

Photo of protesters at Leard Blockade. Protestors have arms crossed in 'no deal' sign. There is a banner 'ANZ: Think Again'.

Checklist for Non-violent Direct Action trainings

A checklist of some of the basic principles, and pieces of information, to include in NVDA training. When facilitation is shared among a number of people at large convergences it can be easy to miss things! This has been crowd-sourced from NVDA trainers and CounterAct training.

Over a dozen hands reach into the middle of a circle, making the 'all in' symbol

Consensus Decision Making

Consensus is a nonviolent decision-making process that aims to create the best possible decision for the group. The input and ideas of all participants are gathered and synthesized to arrive at a final decision that is acceptable to all. Through consensus, we are not only working to achieve better solutions, but also to promote the growth of trust and respect within the group.

A view of from a vantage point in Mount Buffalo, with rolling forested hills framing a valley, in which there is a small clearing.

Work Less: You’ll Get More Done

Overwork has heavy costs. Working longer hours is dangerous and ineffective. But poor management, the subconscious, workplace culture, and work volume, can each be a barrier to better workplace practices. Thankfully though, these barriers can be overcome.